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Vanessa Bell rose. English rose. David Austin rose. Photo credit: Rose review:
'Rose Review' Series Color: Yellow David Austin roses Disease resistance: Good Flowering: Repeat flowering Fragrance: medium - strong Ideal: Pots & Containers Ideal: Shady areas

Vanessa Bell Rose Review | David Austin 2017

Vanessa Bell rose


Fragrance Strength


Repeat Flowering


Bloom Size




Suitable for containers


Tolerance of shade


Disease resistance


Tolerance of poor soil


Few thorns


Best for cuttings



  • Best for pots and containers
  • Best for smaller shrubs
  • Floriferous


  • Only "medium" bloom size: 3.5 - 5'' or 5 - 9 cm
  • Only "good" disease resistance
  • Color changes to a white-cream color.



English Shrub Rose bred by David Austin

David Austin

Pink-tinged buds open to mediumsized cups held in large clusters. Pale yellow, paling to white at the edges; each has a rich yellow eye. The fragrance is similar to green tea with aspects of lemon and honey. It forms a bushy, upright shrub. Named for the artist, designer and founder member of the Bloomsbury Group – sister of the writer, Virginia Woolf. David Austin, 2017.

The Right Roses:

David Austin introduced Vanessa Bell rose for the UK in 2017. He named this rose after the famous artist, Vanessa Bell, who was the founder member of the Bloomsbury Group. Vanessa Bell was born in London on 30 May 1879. She died in Firle, Sussex on 7 April 1961. She played a central role in the Bloomsbury Group, which gathered the leading English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists in the first half of the 20th century, including Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey.

Vanessa Bell rose is a beautiful little rose. She is a great candidate for city-sized gardens.

Vanessa Bell rose is a beautiful little rose. She is a great candidate for city-sized gardens“.

The Right Roses |

Vanessa Bell rose: The pros

  • Best for Smaller Shrubs
  • Best for Pots & Containers

To me, the best characteristic of Vanessa Bell rose must be her relatively smaller size. David Austin 2019/2020 Handbook of Roses listed her as one of “Best for Smaller Shrubs”. She makes a 3.5ft (height) x 3ft (spread) bush. Therefore, she is an ideal candidate for smaller gardens. She forms an upright, bushy and attractive shrub. Therefore, you can also plant her in the front border of your garden. Given her smaller size, she is also one of the best choices for pots and containers, according David Austin 2019/2020 Handbook of Roses.

In addition, Vanessa Bell rose produces a tasty medium-strong fragrance with notes of green tea, lemon and honey. Therefore, coupled with her size, she will be a great choice front border or somewhere you can enjoy her beautiful scent.

As one of her best trait, Vanessa Bell rose can tolerate shade well. Therefore, you can plant her in more shady areas, such as in your North-facing gardens. This trait could make her the absolute favorite of many gardeners. However, Vanessa Bell is not one of the best options for shady areas. If you really want a rose which can tolerate a good amount of shade, you may want to consider Charles Darwin rose, Lady of Shalott rose, or Eustacia Vye rose.

Finally, Vanessa Bell rose is such a floriferous David Austin rose. She can provide you with masses of pale yellow blooms from early May until late October.

Vanessa Bell rose: The cons

Vanessa Bell rose has a few weaknesses that you may want to consider.

She is not one of the healthiest David Austin roses. In terms of disease resistance, David Austin only ranked her as “good”, while they provide many other “excellent disease resistance” varieties, such as Olivia Rose Austin or Princess Anne.

Her bloom size is just “medium”, which is about 2 – 3.5’’ or 5 – 9 cm. If all you want from a rose is her big blooms, then Vanessa Bell probably is not right rose for you.

In addition, her color can fade to a white-cream color. Some garders enjoy that color-changing habit, while many others do not.

Vanessa Bell rose: The similarities

There are a few similar David Austin alternatives, which give you similar bloom color. Charles Darwin rose also can tolerate shade and produce a “strong” fragrance. His size (3.5ft x 4.5ft) is similar to Vanessa Bell rose. Golden Celebration is slightly larger shrub. Her blooms are particularly large. She is also one of the most fragrant David Austin roses.

Vanessa Bell rose: The details

Height & Spread: 3.5ft x 3ft Color: Pale yellow Fragrance: Medium-strong
Fragrance notes: Tea Flowering: Repeat flowering Suitable for containers: Yes
Sun exposure: Partial sunlight Bloom size: Medium (2 – 3.5’’ or 5 – 9 cm) Disease resistance: Good

Photo credit:

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1 year ago

Hi. Is Vanessa Bell’s colour more white or yellow? I cannot really tell from the pictures. Thanks team
1 year ago
Reply to  Rick

Thank you Rick for your question. David Austin described her colour as “pale yellow”. The middle of the blooms are exquisitely lemon-yellow. However, it is likely that, in the heat, she can fade to more white.

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