The Right Roses

When You Just Want The Very Best

Susan Williams-Ellis rose The Right Roses Rose reviews commentsDavid Austin rose Photo credit
'Rose Review' Series Color: White & Cream David Austin roses Disease resistance: Excellent Flowering: Repeat flowering Fragrance: medium - strong Ideal: Pots & Containers Ideal: Shady areas Rose: Shrub rose

Susan Williams Ellis Rose Review | David Austin 2010

Susan Williams Ellis


Fragrance Strength


Repeat Flowering


Bloom Size




Suitable for containers


Tolerance of shade


Disease resistance


Tolerance of poor soil


Few thorns


Best for cuttings



  • Extremely healthy
  • Best for coastal areas
  • Tolerance of shade
  • Upright and bushy


  • Very small blooms (2'' or 5 cm)
  • Not extremely floriferous
  • Blooms do not last very long
  • Look unattractive when blooms are spent



English Shrub Rose bred by David Austin

David Austin

A delightful, unassuming rose of typical Old Rose beauty. It is a pure white sport of the pink English Rose, ‘The Mayflower’. The remarkable thing about these two roses is that, in so far as we are aware, they are completely free from disease. The medium-strong fragrance is perfectly Old Rose in character. It is extremely winter hardy, with upright, bushy, twiggy growth. Named for the founder of Portmeirion Pottery, who was a great enthusiast of the English Roses. David Austin, 2010.

The Right Roses:

David Austin introduced Susan Williams-Ellis rose for the UK in 2010. He named this rose after Susan Williams-Ellis, the founder of Portmeirion Pottery. It is a British pottery company based in Stoke-on-TrentEngland.

Susan Williams-Ellis is a prime example of the motto at The Right Roses: “there is no right rose for every garden”. All roses have their weaknesses and strengths. For example, some roses, performing well in the UK, may not do that well in the US. Or, some roses, doing very well in Chicago, could be monsters in California. Therefore, our job as a gardener is to select the most suitable roses for our gardens.


“Susan Williams-Ellis is a prime example of the motto at The Right Roses: “there is no right rose for every garden”.”

The Right Roses |


Susan Williams Ellis rose: The pros

  • Best for health
  • Best for smaller shrubs
  • Best for rose borders
  • Best for coastal areas


Rose ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’ has four main strengths.

First, she is extremely healthy. She is resistant to many diseases such as black spots or mildew. We understand that every gardener has his/her own priority. Some emphasize disease resistance as the must-have trait of a rose for their gardens. Others focus less on disease resistance. They prefer to plant roses with a very strong fragrance.

The team at The Right Roses can understand both of those school of thoughts. At the end of the day, it is your personal taste that matters! However, we believe that disease resistance is such an important characteristic. If you choose to go with a not very healthy rose, in a few months, you will just be thinking about how to treat the rose most of the time. As a consequence, you will have less time to enjoy your rose. And, that certainly comes with disappointment, frustration, and regrets.

Susan Williams-Ellis will give you a health-guarantee. She will be a trouble-free rose for you.

Second, she is the right rose for windy coastal areas. We have a lot of experience with those coastal areas. The wind is very strong sometimes, causing serious damages to the foliage and blooms of roses, for instance, Royal Jubilee and The Ancient Mariner. Sometimes you just hate the wind so much because it tortures all the new growths and shoots. If you live in those coastal areas, Susan Williams-Ellis is the right rose for you. She is just the perfect rose being resistant to strong wind.

Third, Susan Williams-Ellis can tolerate shade quite well. As long as you can give her about 3-4 hours of sun, that is more than enough for her.

And fourth, Susan Williams-Ellis has an upright and bushy growth habit. This is a good trait to have. She can give your garden a neat look. If you need an example of roses with a lot of lax octopus canes, please take a look at Lady of Shalott, Jubilee Celebration or Young Lycidas. In particular, when you have a small garden and you want all your roses to behave, then that is the time you could appreciate a rose like Susan Williams-Ellis.

Susan Williams Ellis rose: The cons

Susan Williams-Ellis has three weaknesses.

First, she produces very small blooms. David Austin in his Handbook of Roses 2019/2020 suggested that her bloom size is ‘medium’ (2 – 3.5’’ or 5 – 9 cm). However, we do not frequently see her blooms which are larger than 2’’. In other words, all she is a shrub rose, her bloom size looks similar to those of rambling roses.

Second, she is not extremely productive. She does not rebloom well enough. To the team at The Right Roses, this is probably the thing we don’t like most about her.

Third, Susan Williams-Ellis does not last particularly long on either stems or in vase (only about 2 days). And, as many other white roses, she does not look very attractive when she carries many nearly spent blooms. She would look like a shrub with many dirty tissues on.

Susan Williams Ellis rose: The similarities

There are a few David Austin closely resembling Susan Williams-Ellis. If you want a good white rose, Desdemona is such a wonderful rose. She is very productive, and makes a small bush. She produces a strong fragrance and has an excellent disease resistance.

Although Olivia Rose Austin is not a white rose, she is such a reliable rose as well. Extremely healthy. In addition, she forms a small bush. She reblooms extremely well.

Susan Williams Ellis rose: The details

Height & Spread: 3.5ft x 3ft Color: White Fragrance: Medium-strong
Fragrance notes: Old Rose Flowering: Repeat flowering Suitable for containers: Yes
Sun exposure: Partial sunlight Bloom size: Small (The Right Roses), medium (David Austin) Disease resistance: Excellent

Photo credit:

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