Summer Song Rose Review | David Austin 2005
Summer Song rose£24.50
Suitable for containers4.0/10
Tolerant of shade4.0/10
Tolerance of poor soil5.0/10
Best for cuttings9.0/10
- One of the most fragrant David Austin roses
- 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.
SUMMER SONG ROSE REVIEW | THE RIGHT ROSES
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
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: RightRoses.com
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 | RightRoses.com
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 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)|