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Jude the Obscure rose. David Austin. The Right Roses. Rose review comments. Photo credit:
'Rose Review' Series Color: Yellow David Austin roses Disease resistance: Average Flowering: Repeat flowering Fragrance: strong Highest rated roses by gardeners worldwide Ideal: Pots & Containers Rose: Shrub rose

Jude the Obscure Rose Review | David Austin 1995

Jude the Obscure rose


Fragrance Strength


Repeat Flowering


Bloom Size




Suitable for containers


Tolerant to shade


Disease resistance


Tolerance of poor soil


Few thorns


Best for cuttings



  • Absolutely gorgeous blooms
  • Tasty and strong fragrance


  • Short-lasting rose
  • Bad rose for cutting
  • Does not tolerate heat well
  • Does not tolerate shade well
  • Does not re-bloom well
  • Slow grower
  • Does not make an attractive shrub (too open)
  • Average disease resistance
  • Need A LOT of water and rose food



English Shrub Rose bred by David Austin

David Austin

A very free-flowering rose, bearing very large, incurved, chalice-shaped flowers. The petals are medium yellow on the inside and pale yellow on the outside. Its outstanding fragrance is extremely strong with a delicious fruity note reminiscent of guava and sweet white wine. It forms an upright shrub, with bushy growth and light green leaves. David Austin, 1995.

The Right Roses:

David Austin introduced Jude the Obscure for the UK in 1995. He named this rose after a famous novel by Thomas Hardy (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928). David Austin is a huge fan of Thomas Hardy. He named many of his recent roses after the characters in the books written by Thomas Hardy, such as Bathsheba (2016), Eustacia Vye (2019), Gabriel Oak (2019).

Jude the Obscurenovel by Thomas Hardy, published in 1894–95 in an abridged form in Harper’s New Monthly as Hearts Insurgent; published in book form in 1895.

Jude the Obscure is Hardy’s last work of fiction and is also one of his most gloomily fatalistic, depicting the lives of individuals who are trapped by forces beyond their control. Jude Fawley, a poor villager, wants to enter the divinity school at Christminster (the University of Oxford). Sidetracked by Arabella Donn, an earthy country girl who pretends to be pregnant by him, Jude marries her but is later deserted. He earns a living as a stonemason at Christminster; there he falls in love with his independent-minded cousin, Sue Bridehead. Out of a sense of obligation, Sue marries the schoolmaster Phillotson, who has helped her. Unable to bear living with Phillotson, she returns to live with Jude and eventually bears his children out of wedlock. Their poverty and the weight of society’s disapproval begin to take a toll on Sue and Jude; the climax occurs when Jude’s son by Arabella hangs Sue and Jude’s children and himself. In penance, Sue returns to Phillotson and the church. Jude returns to Arabella and eventually dies miserably.

The novel’s sexual frankness shocked the public, as did Hardy’s criticisms of marriage, the university system, and the church. Hardy was so distressed by its reception that he wrote no more fiction, concentrating solely on his poetry.


When choosing a rose, many rely on their emotions. For instance, it could be their love or their hope. For example, we hope that it is not us who would have a bad experience with a certain rose, while hundreds of other gardeners have had that problem. We hope we can do better! And, really, who can blame them? At the end of the day, roses are all about emotions. We plant them because they would give us so many delightful moments.

However, we believe that buying a rose just by your emotions sometimes could be fatal.

At The Right Roses, we would like everyone to avoid that bad experience by providing the most accurate, unbiased and thorough rose reviews.

Jude the Obscure rose indeed has some X factors about him. However, the team at The Right Roses would not strongly suggest Jude the Obscure for your garden now. David Austin has introduced so many healthier and equally attractive roses for the last few years.


“…the team at The Right Roses would not strongly suggest Jude the Obscure for your garden now. David Austin has introduced so many healthier and equally attractive roses for the last few years”.

The Right Roses |

Jude the Obscure rose: The pros

Jude the Obscure rose has two big strengths.

First, it is his absolutely beautiful fragrance. His blooms smell so tasty with blends of mango and citrus. You may blame him with anything but his attractive scents. Jude the Obscure is one of the most scented David Austin roses to date.

Second, his blooms are just so gorgeous that you cannot keep your eyes away from him. David Austin described his color as ‘soft yellow’. His blooms on the bush look almost like a painting. It is so picturesque when he is in his blooming flush. He could be a source of pride for you for years to come.

However, probably that is everything good about him. Unfortunately, he has a much longer list of weaknesses.

Jude the Obscure rose: The cons

Jude the Obscure rose is probably one of the shortest-lasting David Austin roses. His blooms always bloom away when they look absolutely wonderful on the bush. This point makes him such a frustrating rose. You must be there to enjoy his gorgeous blooms. If you travel away for a couple of weeks, such as on a family trip, probably you may have lost the ideal opportunity to enjoy his beauty. In addition, it is also quite frustrating to keep his spot neat and tidy. Image that his petals just blow everywhere, especially you live in a windy region. It is absolutely a nightmare for those who like their garden to be very neat.

Next, Jude the Obscure is such a bad rose for cutting. His blooms just shatter after a couple of day in vase. If you pick a perfect bunch of garden roses, you would life to treasure it forever. You wish it could last very long, so that you could enjoy their beauty. However, Jude the Obscure always to first one to shatter.

In addition, Jude the Obscure cannot tolerate the heat well. David Austin recommend gardeners plan him in a full sunlight spot. However, that is the information for the UK. In other warmer climates, he would be a disaster under the extreme heat. His color would fade extremely bad in those regions. Instead of being ‘soft yellow’, he would turn almost like a white rose. Moreover, in the extreme heat, Jude the Obscure rose can ball a lot.

Ironically, although Jude the Obscure cannot take the heat very well, he cannot tolerate shade well either. Now, you know how fussy he is. You need to plant him in full sunlight. If not, his blooming performance could be affected very badly.

Regardless of where you plant Jude the Obscure, he does not re-bloom well. He would give you a beautiful first flush. However, that is probably about it. He blooms every little after the first flush. Just here and there a few blooms. However, there is nothing like an impressive second flush at all.

Moreover, it takes Jude the Obscure such a long time to get establish. In general, he needs a least 3 or 4 years to get going. He is probably the slowest grower I have known. In a cooler climate like the one in the UK, he will make a 4 ft x 3.5 ft shrub. However, in a warmer climate, he can become a big rose. For instance, some gardeners have a 8 ft tall Jude the Obscure, which is almost like a climbing rose.

Jude the Obscure rose does not make an attractive shrub. He has many octopus canes. I can tolerate that. However, his shrub is not full at all. It is very open, which makes it even worse given his leggy canes. The leaves cannot fully cover those thorny canes.

Jude the Obscure has only an ‘average’ disease resistance. You may frequently see his leaves with all kinds of diseases, such as black spot.

Finally, Jude the Obscure is always in need to water, rose food, and mulching. He needs so much water, especially in a warmer climate. Therefore, he is not an easy rose to deal with. If I am someone who just like enjoying the beauty of a rose but hate taking care of roses or plants in general such as watering, mulching, I would certainly stay away from Jude the Obscure.

Jude The Obscure rose in different climates

Gardener Country Zone Experience
Mr N USA 8 ‘Six feet tall, covered in blooms’
Tracee USA 7b ‘I have jude the obscure in my garden and he much prefers half sun in zone 7b north Alabama. He does very well and blooms amazingly with part sun and loomy soil. I feed him biweekly and treat with neem oil biweekly’.


Jude the Obscure rose: The similarities

In terms of the tasty and strong fragrance, Jude the Obscure is similar to Brother Cadfael. In terms of being a great and fussy rose at the same time, he is very similar to Jubilee Celebration rose. If you talk about great roses but very unhealthy ones, he is similar to Abe Darby. In 2019, David Austin stopped selling this rose for the UK because they have many healthier and better rose varieties.

Jude the Obscure rose: The details

Height & Spread: 4ft x 3.5ft Color: Soft yellow Fragrance: Strong
Fragrance notes: Fruity Flowering: Repeat flowering Suitable for containers: Yes
Sun exposure: Full sunlight Bloom size: Large (3.5 – 5’’ or 9 – 12.5 cm) Disease resistance: Average


Photo credit:

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Gay McDonald
Gay McDonald
9 days ago

I have several David Austin roses here in Louisiana. Jude is my favorite. Facing northwest, it’s blooms are a sunset. Citrus scented, continually blooming. It’s late November, now, and still…2 beautiful roses are blooming at all times. team
9 days ago
Reply to  Gay McDonald

Dear Gay,

Thank you very much for sharing with us.

Best wishes,

The Right Roses

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