The Right Roses

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Heritage rose The Right Roses Rose review photo credit: David Austin
'Rose Review' Series Color: Pink David Austin roses Disease resistance: Poor Flowering: Repeat flowering Fragrance: strong Heat tolerance Rose: Shrub rose Shrub size: Large (5 ft)

Heritage Rose Review | David Austin 1984

Heritage Rose


Fragrance Strength


Repeat Flowering


Bloom Size




Suitable for containers


Tolerance of shade


Disease resistance


Tolerance of poor soil


Few thorns


Best for cuttings



  • Incredibly floriferous
  • Take the heat well
  • Almost thornless
  • Strong and rich fragrance


  • Blooms do not last (1 or 2 days)
  • Not good as cut flowers
  • Bloom size is only medium (3.5'' or 9 cm)
  • 'Poor' disease resistance
  • A large shrub (5ft x 4ft)
  • Color fades to almost white



English shrub rose bred by David Austin

David Austin

This is a flower of delicate shell-like beauty. The blooms are of perfect cupped formation and of medium size; they are a very soft, clear pink at the centre, while the outer petals are almost white. There is a wonderful fragrance, with overtones of fruit, honey and carnation on a myrrh background. To encourage repeat-flowering, dead head the spent blooms. If you choose not to dead head, a very good crop of hips will be produced later in the season.

‘Heritage’ is a shapely, well-rounded shrub with strong, bushy growth and few thorns. The characteristic Musk Rose foliage is smooth and greyish-green in colour.

The Right Roses:

David Austin introduced Heritage to the market in 1984. Since then, Heritage has become one of the most popular David Austin roses around the world. At the moment, David Austin is only suppling Heritage in the U.S.


Heritage has become one of the most popular David Austin roses around the world

The Right Roses |


Heritage rose: The pros

Heritage rose has four main strengths.

First, she is incredibly floriferous! Indeed, she is almost a constant bloomer, which transforms your garden into such an enjoyable place to be. Her beauty attracts every single pedestrian passing by your garden. Therefore, she can be a source of pride for you for years to come. The team at The Right Roses firmly believes that this is the biggest strength of Heritage. Perhaps this is what makes her the favorite rose of many gardeners around the world.

David Austin has introduced 2 climbing roses and 1 rambling rose, being best for flowering, including: Mortimer Sackler, Iceberg, Malvern Hills. In addition, some shrub roses can rebloom extremely well, including Harlow Carr, Olivia Rose Austin, Princess Anne, Thomas a Becket, Gabriel Oak (2019), Kew Gardens, William & Catherine, Lady of Shalott, and Roald Dahl. The team at The Right Roses would like to add three more varieties being best for flowering, including Royal Jubilee (2012), Princess Alexandra of Kent (2007), and Boscobel (2012).

Second, Heritage can take the heat quite well. She still looks absolutely stunning even under the heat in many States in the U.S. For example, the heat in the summer even in Zones 8 – 9 would not trouble her much. Now, you understand why she is such as popular rose worldwide. An English rose that can tolerate the heat will be greatly treasured in the warmer climates such as Asia (e.g., Singapore, Malaysia), the U.S, and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand).

The UK has a unique climate (not good or bad, just unique). It is mild in the summer (around 68 F or 20 C at noon or 60 F or 15 C at night). In the winter, it depends. However, in the coastal areas, the temperature is also very mild. Moreover, it rains a lot. For instance, its has rained every single day in our area for the last three weeks (October). If the weather forecast is reliable, it will rain for at least another two weeks. This explains why English roses need more water to thrive!

David Austin has introduced a few roses that can take the heat well. Graham Thomas is one of those roses that tolerate the heat. If you have a very hot summer, you may want to consider Vanessa Bell, Olivia Rose Austin, and Desdemona. Having said so, English roses may not be the right roses for the extremely hot weather. They can still grow in those areas. However, their bloom sizes, the richness of their colors, and productivity may suffer.

Third, Heritage is almost thorn-less. To us, this is a big plus. Have you ever been bitten by your roses? Have you ever wanted to lift a gorgeous cluster of blooms but scared to do so because of those sharp thorns? Have you even wanted to decorate your dining table with a few cut flowers, but those sharp thorns scared you off? Let’s think about Princess Alexandra of Kent, The Lady Gardener, Gertrude Jekyll, Munstead Wood, and Harlow Carr, to name a few. Big sharp thorns. If you have not, you are among those rare lucky gardeners. Heritage is a wonderful rose in this sense. She is so gorgeous almost without thorns. How beautiful is that?

If you would like a rose with few thorns, you may want to consider Carolyn Knight. She has a few weaknesses. However, she still has many good qualities.

Fourth, Heritage produces such a beautiful and rich fragrance. It is strong with hints of fruit, honey and carnation fragrance on a myrrh background. This is probably the most sophisticated fragrance that an English rose can produce. In terms of fragrance richness, no one can ever question Heritage.

Heritage rose: The cons

Heritage rose has five main weaknesses

First, her blooms blow away so quickly (about 2 days)!!! Every gardener, who really loves roses, knows how to appreciate every single bloom. We wait the entire winter. We observe every shoot and growth coming up. We treat and improve the soil with really everything we have! We treasure every flower bud coming out. Then, we wait for them to get big and fat. You remember the moment those buds open up. Do you remember how happy you are having the first few blooms of the season? Then, for all the wait and care, Heritage blooms blow away after just one or at most two days. That is a big pity!!! Therefore, Heritage is not a good rose as cut flowers. In the vase, she may just last overnight!

David Austin has introduced several great roses with long-lasting blooms such as Jubilee Celebration, Golden Celebration and Princess Alexandra of Kent. In general, their blooms can last 5 – 6 days in the sun. In the rain, their blooms may last shorter.

If you would like to buy roses being best as cut flowers, you may want to consider Boscobel, Charlotte, Darcey Bussel, Golden Celebration, Graham Thomas, Jubilee Celebration, Lady of Shalott, Molineux, Munstead Wood, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Teasing Georgia, The Alnwick Rose, Windermere, and of course Spirit of Freedom.

Second, Heritage blooms are not large. They are about medium (3.5’’ or 9 cm). Therefore, she may not be the right rose for those gardens who only love roses producing large blooms.

David Austin has introduced a few rose varieties producing very large blooms, e.g., Jubilee Celebration, Golden Celebration and Princess Alexandra of Kent. The last two roses (Golden Celebration and Princess Alexandra of Kent) consistently produce very large blooms (probably the largest ones, 5’’ or 12 cm). You may also want to consider Brother Cadfael. The bloom sizes of Gabriel Oak, The Ancient Mariner, and Crown Princess Margareta are also very nice.

Third, Heritage is certainly not a healthy rose! Even David Austin suggested that her disease resistance is ‘poor’. Of course, it depends on your region. However, Heritage has a serious problem with black spot and rust! This is a big drawback of this beautiful rose.

Fourth, Heritage forms a large shrub (5ft x 4ft). In warmer climates, she may even get much larger. It is not uncommon that she can get to 7ft (2.1m) tall with a lot of octopus canes. Therefore, you should give her a lot of room. And, she is not the right rose for front of the border.

Fifth, in the heat, her color can fade dramatically. Sometimes, you even wonder if she is a white rose or a pink one and that you received the right ‘Heritage’. This is quite understandable. No one would expect a soft – pink rose can fade that much to the white shade.

Heritage rose: The similarities

It is hard to find two identical roses. As rose-lovers, we are fully aware that there is always something unique to each rose. There are two roses you may see somehow similar to Heritage.

First, it is Olivia Rose Austin. She is such a great rose. Incredibly floriferous. In addition, she is also very healthy. Olivia Rose Austin is one of the best roses for cutting. However, she only produces a light – medium fragrance.

Second, it is Eustacia Vye (2019). She repeats very well. So vigorous. We planted her in our garden as a bare root in March 2019. By July 2019, she got to 3 ft (90 cm). She is also so healthy. And, her fragrance is extremely strong and beautiful. In our opinion, along with Gabriel Oak (2019), she is the closest to perfection!

Heritage rose: The details

Height & Spread: 5ft x 4ft Color: Soft pink Fragrance: Strong
Fragrance notes: Fruit, honey and carnation fragrance on a myrrh background Flowering: Repeat flowering Suitable for containers: Yes
Sun exposure: Partial sunlight Bloom size: Medium (3.5’’ or 9 cm)  Disease resistance: Poor

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Karen Schmidt
Karen Schmidt
1 month ago

Out of all my 125 roses, Heritage is my husband’s favorite. She’s huge in my garden (over 6 feet tall), is always one of the first to bloom and really good about rebloom. Her fragrance is wonderful. I was surprised to see her listed as having poor disease resistance, as I see very little disease on either one of them in my no-spray garden. She does shatter quickly and isn’t a good rose for the vase, but she is a heavy enough bloomer that more blooms keep coming.

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