The Right Roses

When You Just Want The Very Best

Summer Song rose. The Right Roses. Rose review. images. Photo credit: T.Kiya from Japan
'Rose Review' Series Color: Orange Color: Red David Austin roses Disease resistance: Average Flowering: Repeat flowering Fragrance: strong Ideal: Very few thorns Rose: Shrub rose Shrub size: Medium (4 ft)

Summer Song Rose Review | David Austin 2005

Summer Song rose


Fragrance Strength


Repeat Flowering


Bloom Size




Suitable for containers


Tolerant of shade


Disease resistance


Tolerance of poor soil


Few thorns


Best for cuttings



  • One of the most fragrant David Austin roses
  • Vigorous
  • Few thorns
  • Blooms last well on stems and in vase (about 5 days in the UK)


  • He cannot tolerate heat.
  • Not a healthy rose (below average)
  • He forms an unattractive shrub.
  • He needs full sunlight.



English Shrub Rose bred by David Austin

Guest of Honor

The team at The Right Roses devotes this review to JC from Buenos Aires, Argentina. This review is a request from JC, a visitor at The Right Roses.



To JC, we treasure your kind support. We wish you a lovely day. And, enjoy gardening!


do you think you could anticipate some feedback on Summersong (Austango), I live in hot, humid Buenos Aires, with a very extended growing season and only semi-dormancy in quite mild winters.

I will be grateful!

                                      JC from Buenos Aires, Argentina


David Austin

Vibrant blooms of an unusual orange-red color. They open to full, medium-large cups, with many inner petals arranged rather informally within a perfect ring of outer petals. There is a lovely mixed scent with hints of chrysanthemum leaves, ripe bananas and Tea. It forms a bushy, upright shrub. David Austin, 2005.

The Right Roses:

David Austin introduced Summer Song for the UK in 2005. It is not clear why David Austin gave this rose that name. Perhaps, it is the uniquely vibrant color that made ‘Summer Song’ such a suitable name for this rose.

Summer Song is certainly not among David Austin’s most successful introductions. Like Carolyn Knight, there has been an excessive doubt about the performance of Summer Song around the world. Mind you, even gardeners in the UK, where the climate may be most suitable for English roses, are not so sure about its performance. Moreover, David Austin removed Summer Song from the list of his roses to be sold in North America due to his under-par performance.


Like Carolyn Knight, there has been an excessive doubt about the performance of Summer Song around the world”.

The Right Roses |


Summer Song rose: The pros




  • Best for fragrance


Summer Song has five strengths.

First, he produces a strong and tasty fragrance. David Austin described his fragrance as “a lovely mixed scent with hints of chrysanthemum leaves, ripe bananas and Tea”. It, indeed, is a very rich and sophisticated fragrance, which is also the best characteristic of this rose. If that still does not impress you much, for your information, the fragrance of Summer Song is among the strongest ones that a David Austin rose can produce.

David Austin has introduced 12 rose varieties best for fragrance including: Emily Bronte (2018), Harlow Carr, The Generous Gardener, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Gabriel Oak (2019), Gertrude Jekyll, Desdemona, R. Rugosa Alba, Claire Austin, Summer Song, Charles Darwin, The Poet’s Wife. According to our own experience, other David Austin roses are also heavenly scented, although they are not in David Austin’s list, e.g., Golden Celebration, Lady Emma Hamilton, Munstead Wood, Carolyn Knight. To a certain extent, Crown Princess Margareta also deserves a special mention.

Second, Summer Song blooms are incredibly beautiful with a unique and vibrant colour. In terms of colour, we guess not many other roses can beat Summer Song. Very special. And, very beautiful. His colour, combined with the tasty and strong fragrance, can make you somehow want to eat it! That is how tasty and gorgeous this rose can be!

Third, Summer Song is a vigorous rose. To be clearer, he is more like a “tall rose” than being a “wide rose”. Summer Song can get tall very quickly. If you give him about 6-7 months in your garden, he can get to 4 ft tall easily from being just a potted rose. Nonetheless, interestingly, he remains quite narrow (about 1 ft or so wide). Therefore, many gardeners do not really like his shape. It is ungainly. Tall and spindly (kind of awkward). The shrub of Summer Song is made up of only a few long canes (3 or 4). As a result, it is hard to tell if he is a (very) short climbing rose or shrub rose. Definitely, he is not the most attractive rose shrub you have seen.

Fourth, Summer Song is almost thornless. Differing to Munstead Wood or Gertrude Jekyll, Summer Song does not have a lot of thorns. Therefore, it would be just a piece of cake when you prune him. Of course, given his small number of stems, it is even easier to prune him.

Fifth, Summer Song blooms last well on stems and in vase (about 5 days) in the UK. Therefore, he is a great rose for cutting and arrangement in vase.

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 UK. 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.

Summer Song rose: The cons

Summer Song has four main weaknesses.

First, he cannot tolerate the heat. Therefore, those gardeners living in warmer climate should think very carefully if you decide to go with Summer Song. Just a matter of fact, David Austin removed Summer Song in North America due to his below par performance. And, one of the reasons is that the climate in many States in the US is warmer than that in the UK. And, of course, gardeners in South America or South East Asia may want to stay away from Summer Song.

Second, Summer Song is not a healthy rose. David Austin suggested that his disease resistance is ‘good’. However, the team at The Right Roses believe that his disease resistance should be ‘average’ or ‘below average’, to be precise. With Summer Song, you may only see his foliage in Spring or early Summer. By mid-summer, he defoliates almost completely. The whole shrub is left with a few long canes. No blooms. Very few leaves. Even those leaves remained on the stems have a serious black spot problem.

Third, Summer Song forms a very unattractive shrub. Please refer to point number 3 in the Pros section above for details.

Fourth, you must save a prime sunny spot for Summer Song. He cannot tolerate shade. Even in a full-sun spot, he still gets a lot of black spot. Now, you must make a decision if you are willing to give your prime spot to Summer Song.

Summer Song rose: The similarities

Summer Song has a similar growth habit with Carolyn Knight. Indeed, Carolyn Knight is a sport of Summer Song. You may want to read our review for Carolyn Knight. However, Summer Song has a stronger fragrance than Carolyn Knight.

Summer Song rose. The Right Roses. Rose review. images. Photo credit: T.Kiya from Japan
Summer Song rose. Photo credit: T.Kiya from Japan



Carolyn Knight rose. The Right Roses. Rose review. Comments. Photo credit: English roses. David Austin. English roses
Carolyn Knight rose. The Right Roses. Photo credit:


Summer Song produces very beautiful blooms with a unique and vibrant color (orange – red). Therefore, it is quite hard to find a rose with a similar color. To the team at The Right Roses, Summer Song’s color is slightly similar to Benjamin Britten (glowing deep red-pink). Benjamin Britten is also a tall rose (4.5 ft x 3 ft). However, its fragrance strength is only ‘medium’.

Summer Song rose: The details

Height & Spread: 4ft x 4ft Color: Orange-red Fragrance: Strong
Fragrance notes: Tea Flowering: Repeat Flowering Suitable for containers: No
Sun exposure: Full Sunlight Bloom size: Large (4’’ or 10 cm) Disease resistance: Average or below-average (The Right Roses), Good (David Austin)


Photo credit: T.Kiya from Japan, T.Kiya, and kevin wood

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Daim Yunus
Daim Yunus
8 months ago

Hi rightroses, Thank you for your beautiful work. If you don’t mind, I’m curious on how terrible Summer Song would do exactly, in heat. I’m living in Malaysia. How would she do here?
Thank you.

Last edited 8 months ago by Daim Yunus
Susana Ferrer
Susana Ferrer
3 months ago
Reply to  Daim Yunus

Horribly…..our summers are humid and hot in Buenos Aires….and Summer Song hate it…..

4 months ago

I have grown Summer Song for 9 years in South Australia, planted in poor soil next to concrete and only gets occasional hand watering. I rarely feed her. Our summers are very hot (up to 45 C) and she does shut down during the hottest time but the early spring to early summer flushes are magnificent. Autumn blooms are smaller. The fragrance is strong, smells like banana passion fruit, and it wafts. My husband’s very favourite rose, the only one he talks about. The blooms are a good size but only 2-3 days in a vase. Thankfully planted in a… Read more »

Susana Ferrer
Susana Ferrer
3 months ago

I live in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. You are perfectly right about Summer Song…fell in love with it and bought it as soon as I saw it…..first one did not survive summer….second one is struggling with not much hope….I felt it was my fault, and wondered what was I doing wrong…..thank you for opening my eyes….wish I had found you before…..

Paola Bianchetti
Paola Bianchetti
1 month ago

Buonasera a tutti, volevo condividere la mia esperienza con la Summer Song. L’ho acquistata perché in fiore era stupenda, un colore che ha conquistato me e mio figlio che ama le rose arancioni. Messa in giardino a mezz’ombra non fioriva e aveva un cespuglio spoglio e rigido, l’ho spostata l’anno dopo in pieno sole fiorisce di più ma il suo arbusto non è attraente e sempre malato. Passa quasi tutta l’estate senza foglie, eppure la spruzzo con prodotti specifici. È un peccato, perché il fiore è bello ma non da molte soddisfazioni nonostante gli sforzi fatti.
Bye, Paola

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