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Scarborough Fair rose. The Right Roses. Rose review. Comments. English roses. Photo credit: David Austin
'Rose Review' Series Attracting bees Award winning Color: Pink Disease resistance: Excellent Flowering: Repeat flowering Fragrance: medium Ideal: Front of border Ideal: Pots & Containers Ideal: Shady areas Producing rose hips Rose: Shrub rose

Scarborough Fair Rose Review | David Austin 2003

Scarborough Fair 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 gorgeous
  • Excellent disease resistance
  • Very floriferous
  • Upright, small shrub
  • Producing rose hips
  • Attracting bees


  • Her bloom size is ‘medium’ (2 – 3.5’’ or 5 – 9 cm).
  • Her fragrance strength is ‘medium’.



English Shrub Rose bred by David Austin

David Austin

Despite giving the impression of utmost delicacy, this is a very tough, healthy and reliable variety. Extremely floriferous; its soft pink, semi-double flowers are held in large sprays and have a musky Old Rose scent. It forms a bushy, rather upright shrub. Named after the English folk song, made popular by Simon and Garfunkel. David Austin, 2003.

The Right Roses:

David Austin introduced Scarborough Fair rose for the UK in 2003. He named this rose after the  traditional English ballad. The song has many versions between 1946 and 1968.

“Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;
Remember me to one who lives there,
For she was once a true love of mine.


Paul Simon learned the song in London in 1965. He, then, included this song in his 1965 album. Please take a minute  enjoying Simon and Garfunkel’s performance in Central Park.



Scarborough Fair rose is one of those rare roses possessing the utmost charm of simplicity and delicacy. She is just so sweet and unassuming that you would love to include her in a private spot in the garden where you could take a seat and enjoy every single minute of your quiet time.


Scarborough Fair rose is one of those rare roses possessing the utmost charm of simplicity and delicacy”.

The Right Roses |


Scarborough Fair rose: The pros

  • RHS Garden of Merit Award
  • Best for smaller shrubs
  • Best for mixed borders
  • Best for attracting bees
  • Best for producing hips

Scarborough Fair rose has five main strengths.

First, she is incredibly gorgeous in her own way. As gardeners, most of the time we are after those roses producing larger blooms and stronger fragrance. Then, we are proud with our wonderful achievements. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that.

Gardening is so interesting. In some sense, it is like our lives. Plants competing prime spots. The better, the more likely they will win. And, in our lives, we study hard, work even harder for high-paid jobs. Competing for houses in sought-after locations. And, we wonder if our kids should go to private schools or just a local public school around the corner. Sometimes we feel, well, that is very tiring, is not it?

We all want ‘more’. And, we assume that ‘more’ is better than ‘less’. Well, that is our natural tendency. That is absolutely right. Then, people talk about overconsumption or consumerism. We just need ‘more’ of simply everything to make ourselves happy. Then, many of us forget that we can also be equally ‘happy with less’.

Scarborough Fair rose offers us the kind of happiness with the delicacy and simplicity which is also very fulfilling. The number of petals on her blooms are not large (17 – 25 petals). This fact coupled with her pretty soft-pink color gives an impression of our precious daughter. Innocent. And, pretty. She needs your love!

Second, Scarborough Fair rose is indeed very healthy. David Austin rated her disease resistance as ‘excellent’, which is incredible. Mind you that David Austin introduced her about 16 years ago, when his roses did not do particularly well on disease resistance. In the last few years, David Austin has improved a lot on disease resistance. Most of his recent introductions have ‘excellent’ disease resistance, e.g., Princess Anne (2008), Emily Bronte (2018), Gabriel Oak (2019), Eustacia Vye (2019).

Third, Scarborough Fair rose is very floriferous. She can produce masses of blooms right until the first frost. Sometimes she makes you wonder why a cute little rose like her can be that productive. In addition, she attracts bees to your garden. Your garden would be so lovely with the flowers and bees. She will give you a quality quiet time in your garden where you live for yourself and leave everything else outside the doorstep.

Fourth, she will make an attractive, reasonable sized, upright shrub. She is the right rose for you if you need a reliable one for your front of the border. She is well behaved. She does not ask for a lot of room in your garden.

Fifth, she produces rose hips if you do not deadhead her booms. Imagine, you can make a Christmas wreath with your own rose hips. That would be a lasting memory for your family.

Scarborough Fair rose: The cons

Scarborough Fair rose has two weaknesses.

First, her bloom size is ‘medium’ (2 – 3.5’’ or 5 – 9 cm). However, as we mentioned above, Scarborough Fair rose is attractive in her own way. She do not need to be the one with the largest number of petals. She just needs to be herself.

Second, her fragrance strength is ‘medium’.

Scarborough Fair rose: The similarities

Scarborough Fair rose looks quite similar to two other David Austin roses: Comte De Champagne and Corvedale.

Comte De Champagne produces incredibly gorgeous pale apricot blooms with a light – medium fragrance. It can tolerate shade. However, it will make a rather big shrub (5.5ft x 4.5ft).

Corvedale produces very attractive pink blooms. Somehow, it reminds us of Royal Jubilee as well. It attracts bees as well as Scarborough Fair. Its fragrance is strong. Nonetheless, its shrub size is large (4.5ft x 4.5ft).

Scarborough Fair rose: The details

Height & Spread: 3.5ft x 3ft Color: Soft pink Fragrance: Medium
Fragrance notes: Old Rose Flowering: Repeat Flowering Suitable for containers: Yes
Sun exposure: Partial Sunlight Bloom size: Medium (2 – 3.5’’ or 5 – 9 cm) Disease resistance: Excellent

Photo credit: The Right Roses | and

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