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The Generous Gardener rose The Right Roses English roses David Austin rose buy online. Rose review. Photo credit:
'Rose Review' Series Attracting bees Award winning Color: Pink David Austin roses Disease resistance: Excellent Flowering: Repeat flowering Fragrance: strong Highest rated roses by gardeners worldwide Ideal: 10 ft walls or fences Ideal: Attracting bees Ideal: Climbing roses for north facing walls Ideal: Front of a house Ideal: Pergolas Ideal: Poor Soil Rose: Climbing

The Generous Gardener Rose Review | David Austin 2002

The Generous Gardener rose


Fragrance Strength


Repeat Flowering


Bloom Size




Suitable for containers


Tolerance of shade


Disease resistance


Tolerance of poor soil


Few thorns


Best for cuttings



  • Award winning
  • One of the most fragrant David Austin roses
  • Incredibly healthy with attractive foliage
  • Very floriferous
  • Producing rose hips
  • Attracting bees
  • Very hardy (Zones 4 - 11)
  • Tolerating shade well
  • Self-supporting shape
  • Tolerating poor soil


  • Blooms do not last long (about 3 days)
  • Fading to nearly white
  • Large bush (up to 15 ft)



English Climbing Rose bred by David Austin

Guests of Honor

The team at The Right Roses would like to devote this review to MB and JC. This review is a request from them.



To MB and JC, we really appreciate your continuous support. With your kind contributions, we will build a great platform for all rose-lovers around the world at The Right Roses.

Good day,

First off, I would like to compliment the team at Right Roses for extremely accurate and insightful reviews on roses. Your site has become a ‘go-to’ platform for information on DA roses.

My only critique is that not all DA roses are reviewed on your site. Of course this would be an almost impossible task, but I do hope that you will be adding more reviews in the near future. Your review on rosa ‘Jude the Obscured’ was spot on! Hopefully DA will introduce a new and improved variety!

It would also be great to see a review on rosa ‘The Generous Gardener’.

Wishing your website all the best”.

from MB


Hello, first of all, your site is amazing. Finally what I was looking for to research the best roses for my garden. I am American but moved to Vienna recently.

The Generous Gardener (unfortunately, you did not review this one either, so I am not sure about repeat flowering, disease resistance, and tolerance for shade compared to the others. But I love the appearance and I have read that it is one of the best climbing roses regarding its repeated blooming/richness of flowering). Perhaps you can give me some advice, especially regarding the Generous Gardener compared to the Wollerton Old Hall? I could also imagine to combine different roses. Thank you so much

from JC


David Austin


Bears beautifully formed flowers, which nod gracefully on the stem. When the petals open they expose numerous stamens, providing an almost water lily-like effect. The flowers are a pale glowing pink and have a delicious fragrance with aspects of Old Rose, musk and myrrh. Named for the National Gardens Scheme. DavidᅠAustin, 2002.

The Right Roses:

David Austin introduced The Generous Gardener for the UK in 2002. He named this rose to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the National Gardens Scheme and to tribute the generosity of the garden owners.

For your information, the National Gardens Scheme in the UK allows visitors to come and enjoy private gardens for free of charge. For instance, to see Autumn color, you can find so many stunning places to visit. It is a great opportunity for families to go out and connect with the nature.

If we must summarize in only one word what we think about The Generous Gardener rose, that word must be ‘spectacular’. She is truly a spectacular rose! We have made the following comment somewhere in our previous reviews. David Austin has been more productive with breeding shrub roses than climbing roses. To be precise, so far (2019), he has only introduced 14 climbing roses (and 4 rambling roses) to the market. If you think about at least 63 shrub-rose varieties on the market now, the number of climbing roses is not that big. However, when David Austin does release a climbing rose, more often than not, it must be such a great one. You can name them, such as Crown Princess Margareta, Wollerton Old Hall, Claire Austin.


If we must summarize in only one word what we think about The Generous Gardener rose, that word must be ‘spectacular’”.

The Right Roses |


The Generous Gardener rose: The pros


  • RHS Garden of Merit Award
  • Gold medal for climbing: The Hague Trials in The Netherlands in 2010


  • Best for fragrance
  • Best for 10 ft walls & fences
  • Best for front of house
  • Best for around a doorway
  • Best for large arch
  • Best for pergola
  • Best for north walls
  • Best for poor soil


The Generous Gardener rose has so many strengths (11). According to the team at The Right Roses, she must be among the David Austin roses possessing the largest numbers of strengths.

First, she is an award-winning rose. She has won two prestigious awards: (1) Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden of Merit Award and (2) Gold medal for climbing roses: The Hague Trials in The Netherlands in 2010. Sometimes, it is challenging to select a rose as there is so much uncertainty regarding its performance. However, the other time, it is quite straightforward. Especially, in this case, The Generous Gardener is an award-winning rose. She has been appreciated by the leading experts in the field such as those at Royal Horticultural Society. Therefore, we believe that you cannot do much wrong if you choose her for your garden.

David Austin has introduced so many award-winning roses. As far as we are aware, Strawberry Hill rose must be among those David Austin roses that won the largest number of awards (4). The Generous Gardener (2 awards), Port Sunlight (1 award), Golden Celebration (3 awards), Lady Emma Hamilton (2 awards), Gertrude Jekyll (4 awards), Munstead Wood (4 awards).

Second, she smells heavenly. The Generous Gardener is one of the most fragrant David Austin roses. Please let us tell you. It is good to have a fragrant shrub rose in your garden. However, it must be truly special if you have one of the most fragrant climbing roses. Can you imagine the number of blooms a climbing rose produce? She really can fill up your house with her tasty perfume.

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.

Third, The Generous Gardener is very healthy. David Austin rated her disease resistance as “excellent”. Mind you that some David Austin roses, rated as “excellent disease resistance”, still have problems with black spot. At the end of the day, it is “disease resistance”, not “disease proof”. You do not have to feel bad if your rose with an excellent disease resistance record gets black spot. Perhaps, it is just the nature of roses. We live with their black spot. Nonetheless, in this case, The Generous Gardener’s disease resistance is really excellent. Except from in a few hot and humid areas seriously affected by black spot, The Generous Gardener is generally free of blackspot. She is still healthy even if you do not spray.

Fourth, her dark green foliage looks very healthy and attractive. When we first got to know about roses, their gorgeous blooms captured our entire attention. However, as the years went by, we came to pay attention to many other aspects of a rose. Healthy foliage must be one of the things we pay most attention to. Probably, the “rose experience” would seriously be damaged if the plant completely defoliates (no matter how gorgeous her blooms can be).

Fifth, she is very floriferous. In other words, she repeats very well. However, there is one thing you may want to remember. If you want The Generous Gardener to be more floriferous, you should deadhead her. We are aware that she is big. And, it is harder to deadhead a big climbing rose than a shrub rose. However, please do what you can. Your effort will be certainly rewarded with masses and masses of blooms. The Spring flush is particularly incredible!

Sixth, The Generous Gardener produces hips. Of course, this depends on if you deadhead her or not. However, as we mentioned above, it could be challenging to completely deadhead a big climbing rose. You do what you can to make her more floriferous. The area that is left un-deadheaded is still beautiful as well. You will see rose hips in those areas which would be absolutely candies to your eyes. Those orange-red rose hips are incredibly beautiful. Having them in your garden makes autumn such an enjoyable moment of the year. Moreover, have you tried to make a Christmas Wreath by those beautiful rose hips? That hand-made Christmas Wreath will satisfy the most demanding visitor to you house!

Seventh, The Generous Gardener attracts bees to your garden. Apart from a few gardeners who are not fond of bees (like my son!), all gardeners love seeing all kinds of insects in their gardens, such as butterflies, bees, ladybugs. We are a part of nature. And, we love living a life in harmony with the nature. Some gardeners do not want to spray their gardens with chemicals. The others put out food for birds. There are probably thousands way of doing it. However, choosing those rose varieties which are attractive to bees is one of the good ways.

So far, David Austin has introduced 21 rose varieties which can attract bees to your garden. Here is the list: Lady of Shalott, The Lark Ascending, Tottering-By-Gently, The Lady of The Lake, Kew Gardens, Scarborough Fair, Scepter’d Isle, The Generous Gardener, Butter Cup, Morning Mist, Gentle Hermione, Skylark, The Lady’s Blush, Wild Eric, Comte De Champagne, Fighting Temeraire, Cariad, Windflower, Cordelia, Corvedale, and The Herbalist.

Eighth, The Generous Gardener is a hardy rose. She can tolerate the winter in Zones 4 – 11, which is better than average. David Austin roses in general can tolerate Zones 5 – 11. Therefore, this characteristic of The Generous Gardener makes it easier for those gardeners in colder climates.

Ninth, The Generous Gardener can tolerate shade very well. She is one of the best roses for North walls. However, she is not the best shade-tolerant David Austin rose. David Austin has introduced 11 varieties which do very well in shady spots: Hyde Hall, Olivia Rose Austin, Eustacia Vye, Princess Anne, England’s Rose, Kew Gardens, R. Rugosa Alba, Lichfield Angel, Charles Darwin, Lady of Shalott, and Roald Dahl.

Tenth, The Generous Gardener has a quite attractive shape. She can self-support. Please let us ask you a question. If you grow a climbing rose, what would want most? You can name: bloom form, productivity, disease resistance and fragrance. And, we believe that good shape must be one of those things. You would not want climbing roses with floppy canes poking everywhere. As a result, you would have to spend more time tying up those canes than enjoying their blooms. That would not happen with The Generous Gardener. She can grow beautifully without the need of any support. However, she forms a large bush (up to 15 ft or 4.5 m). So, please give her a lot of space.

Eleventh, The Generous Gardener can tolerate poor soil well. Therefore, you can neglect her a little bit. However, we believe that most of us would just keep giving our precious roses as much rose food, manure, …. as they want. We all know that they really deserve our care. They are truly like our children.

The Generous Gardener rose: The cons

The Generous Gardener rose has three main weaknesses.

First, her blooms do not last long (about 3 days). This makes totally sense if you look at the delicacy of her blooms. Therefore, she would not be an ideal candidate as cut flowers or arrangements.

Second, her blooms fade to nearly white. Therefore, she would not look extremely impressive. Some may say her color can be quite bland. However, from distance, she looks very beautiful. As we said, it is totally up to your personal preference.

Third, she forms a large bush (up to 15 ft tall and 8 – 14 ft wide). Every year, you prune her back, probably by ½ or 1/3. However, she will come back strong.  Please do not expect her to be a cute little climbing rose. Because, she is not that kind of roses. You should give her a lot of space to thrive.

The Generous Gardener rose: The similarities

David Austin has introduced many good climbing roses, such as Wollerton Old Hall, Claire Austin, Bathsheba, The Wedgwood.

Wollerton Old Hall rose forms a slightly smaller bush than The Generous Gardener (up to 12 ft vs up to 15 ft). Nonetheless, Wollerton Old Hall produces many octopus canes. They are very floppy. She cannot self-support the way The Generous Gardener does. The size of their blooms looks quite similar (medium – large 3.5 – 4’’ or 9 – 10 cm). Their colors are different. One is pale-apricot while the other is pale-pink. Therefore, it depends on your own taste. You like pale-pink more or not. The Generous Gardener can resist diseases better than Wollerton Old Hall. In fact, if disease resistance is important to you (combined with the fact that The Generous Gardener is one of the most fragrant David Austin roses), we can understand why many gardeners would go with The Generous Gardener.

Claire Austin is another great climbing rose. She has a similar size with Wollerton Old Hall (up to 12 ft tall). She is also one of the most fragrant David Austin roses. Her disease resistance is excellent, which is similar to The Generous Gardener. And, she can stand up quite well. Please don’t be surprise. We saw Claire Austin grown as a shrub rose in RHS Garden Wisley. However, it would take a lot of effort growing her as a shrub rose. If we must rank those beautiful roses, Claire Austin is as good as The Generous Gardener.

Bathsheba is a recent introduction in 2016. Bathsheba has an excellent disease resistance. Her bloom size is large. So, in terms of bloom size alone, she could be the winner among all David Austin climbing roses. Nonetheless, she only produces a medium-strong fragrance. In addition, she cannot tolerate shade very well. So, you may want to keep those two things in mind.

The Wedgwood is also an excellent climbing rose. Her disease resistance is excellent. She is just slightly smaller than other climbing roses (up to 10 ft height). This could be one of her positives if you have a smaller garden. Her fragrance is medium – strong.

To sum it up, as we mentioned before, they are all magnificent climbing roses. At the end of the day, it is your own preference that matters. It is very hard to rank them. However, overall, The Generous Gardener and Claire Austin could be in tier 1. And, Bathsheba and The Wedgwood belong to tier 2.

The Generous Gardener rose: The details

Height: Up to 15ft (4.5m) Color: Pale Pink Fragrance: Strong
Fragrance notes: Old Rose, musk and myrrh Flowering: Repeat Flowering Ideal: 10ft wall or fence, front of house, doorway, large arch, pergola
Sun exposure: Partial sunlight Bloom size: Medium – large (3.5 – 4’’ or 9 – 10 cm) Disease resistance: Excellent

Photo credit:

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1 year ago

I see this got a score of 2/10 for growing in a container. What makes it a poor choice for a container?

10 months ago

Hi, so clearly I didn’t read ALL the fine print and have plopped my GG into a large container / pot – think 50L? Please give me the bad news first… This is its first full year and seems to be doing well so far, but what will the consequences be in the future? She won’t die off will she?? Cheers

10 months ago

Ah many thanks. I live in a first floor flat in South London, so may be difficult to transplant out while I’m here – unless I move! Thanks again

Sorcha Whelan
Sorcha Whelan
9 months ago

I am so so impressed with this website! you guys are so informative, I love all the highly detailed and informative reviews! My front of house is north-facing, so I was trying to decide between growing the GG or Mortimer Sackler over the front door. from teh David Austin website both look good for shady walls. I would love if you guys could do a review of Morimter Sackler sometime (apologies if you already have, I couldn’t seem to find one).
Really enjoying this excellent website!

Sorcha, Dublin

Sorcha Whelan
Sorcha Whelan
8 months ago

Thank you so much!

John Smith
John Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Sorcha Whelan

For me MS had loads of small flowers with very vigorous growth. That sounds good, but the flowers only last a day or so and unless you want to dead head constantly it looks a mess most of the time. The growth is so strong it always looked untidy for me. GG flowers are more white than pink and also have a short life. I replaced them on a south wall with Gertrude and that has done well. Just my experince – others will have different opinions!

Sorcha Whelan
Sorcha Whelan
8 months ago
Reply to  John Smith

Thank you so much John, that’s actually very helpful. Particularly for over a hall door I wouldn’t want it to look messy/be deadheading constantly!

3 months ago

Der Right Roses Team, thank you for your deep, detailed, enormously helpful reviews of the English roses. I am considering to plant The Generous Gardener or Emily Bronte in a shady position, about 3-4 hours sun per day.I have only one place, about 1,5 square meters. I have to choose only one of them, there is not enough space for both roses. I do not want to plan The Generous Gardener as a climbing rose, but as a self supporting shrub. What is your opinion, which rose is more floriferous und which is better scented? Germay, Zone 7b. Best regards… Read more »

2 months ago

I’m planning on planting this for my pergola. Should i have a trellis for her to spread or should i just let her climb the pergola pillar?

2 months ago

Do you have any idea on GG in India.. Living in Bangalore, Planning to plant in container.

15 days ago

Hello! Love your very informative website! I’m new to growing roses as I’m actually not a big fan of shrub roses…(maybe that will change). However, I love climbing roses and bought two Generous Gardener climbers to grow up an outdoor dining pavilion (in pots as it’s on paving). I thought it was one listed for containers but must have made a mistake. I have lots of other areas I could put this so not an issue to find it a new home but what would you recommend to replace it with? I’m in Michigan (zone 6)

6 days ago

If I have two option for growing a Generous Gardener: (1) in area with around 4 hour of sun per day or (2) in full sun area, where should I plan her? I live in North west UK. Thank you.

4 days ago

Thank you very much for your advice. That’s very helpful for me. We are in zone 9.

I have another spot which is nearly shady whole day because it is under a big horse chestnut tree. Would you please recommend a climbing rose which can be do well on that spot please? I prefer pink or white colour. Do you think Generous Gardener or Claire Austin can do well on shady area like that? Thank you very much.

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