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English Rose Wisley 2008. The Right Roses. Rose review comments. Photo credit: David Austin
'Rose Review' Series Award winning Color: Pink David Austin roses Disease resistance: Excellent Flowering: Repeat flowering Fragrance: light Ideal: Shady areas Rose: Shrub rose

Wisley 2008 Rose Review | David Austin 2008

Wisley 2008 rose


Fragrance Strength


Repeat Flowering


Bloom Size




Suitable for containers


Tolerance of shade


Disease resistance


Tolerance of poor soil


Few thorns


Best for cuttings



  • Very healthy rose ('excellent')
  • Tolerance of shade


  • Not very floriferous
  • Bloom size is only 'medium' (2 – 3’’ or 5 – 9 cm)
  • Fragrance is light.
  • Does not form an attractive shrub.



English Shrub Rose bred by David Austin

David Austin

The perfect rosette flowers are shallowly cupped, about 3” across, and are a very pure light pink. The outer petals pale prettily towards the edges. The growth is elegantly arching, producing its flowers along the stems and building up into a fine, vigorous shrub. Named for the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden. David Austin, 2008.

The Right Roses:

David Austin introduced Wisley 2008 for the UK in 2008. He named this rose after the famous RHS Gardens at Wisley, which is truly a heaven on earth for gardeners. In fact, many gardeners believe that Wisley is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. It is in Surrey, about 24 miles away from London Victoria Station.



Wisley 2008 rose is a very gorgeous rose. Unfortunately, she is always associated with the earlier version of hers, Wisley, which was not a great success. David Austin introduced the earlier version, Wisley, for the UK in 2004, and subsequently released her for the US in 2005.

The team at The Right Roses believe that David Austin could learn a good lesson in this case. If a rose is not a great success, it could be a big challenge to save it by improving a few aspects and marketing it under a new name. In particular, the new name is close to the old one, e.g., Wisley and Wisley 2008.


Wisley 2008 rose is a very gorgeous rose. Unfortunately, she is always associated with the earlier version of hers, Wisley, which was not a great success”.

The Right Roses |


Wisley 2008 rose: The pros


  • 1st prize for landscaping rose at Barcelona Trials in 2009


Wisley 2008 has two strengths.

First, she is a very healthy rose. David Austin ranked her disease resistance as “excellent”. Gardeners all around the world have been so impressed with her disease resistance. Of course, when planting roses, you should expect a certain level of black spot or mildew here and there. In addition, it also depends a lot on the location (“location, location, and location”, does it sound familiar?). A healthy rose in one country could be a disaster in another country with a different climate. However, Wisley 2008 is particularly reliable in terms of disease resistance.

Second, Wisley 2008 can tolerate shade quite well. Roses, like sunflowers, love full sunlight. In the extreme heat, their color may change/fade. However, planting your roses in full sunlight could make them healthier and more floriferous.

However, not all gardeners are so lucky to have a south-facing garden. In the UK, South-facing gardens have the most amount of sun, while a North-facing garden in the UK could have only 1 or 2 hours of sun in the winter. As a result, the ability to tolerate shade makes Wisley 2008 a great rose for gardeners in the UK and Europe. As gardeners, the team at The Right Roses also prefer those varieties which can tolerate shade. They give us more flexibility and great peace of mind. Having said so, we strongly recommend you plant her where she gets at least 4 hours of sun a day.

Wisley 2008 rose: The cons

Wisley 2008 has four weaknesses.

First, she is not one of the most floriferous David Austin roses. Indeed, her productivity varies across climates and regions. In those warmer climates, such as in California, she is not very floriferous. However, in milder climates, such as in Europe, she reblooms quite well.

Second, her bloom size is not very impressive. David Austin suggested that her bloom size is medium (3’’ or 9 cm). However, the team at The Right Roses believe that her bloom size, more often than not, is closer to only 2’’ (5 – 6 cm). Her bloom form is incredibly pretty, being shallowly cupped. Nonetheless, we wish her blooms could be slightly larger.

Third, Wisley 2008’s fragrance is light. However, it is very delicious with fruity notes. Broadly speaking, we can categorize the fragrance of David Austin roses into two groups. Some David Austin roses have fruity notes, while others have notes of Myrrh. It seems to us at The Right Roses that gardeners love roses with fruity notes slightly better. However, only personal preference matters. At The Right Roses, we support the diversity in the gardeners. The more varieties, the more characters our gardens have.

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.

Fourth, Wisley 2008 has quite a few leggy, ungainly canes. Therefore, she does not form the most attractive shrub. In addition, Wisley 2008 is the best David Austin rose for front of the border.

Wisley 2008 rose: The similarities

In terms of bloom form, for some reason, Wisley 2008 reminds us of three David Austin roses.

Eglantyne produces very gorgeous light-pink shade. The best things about Eglantyne include: (1) she makes a slightly smaller shrub (3.5ft x 3ft); so, she is a great rose for smaller gardens, (2) her fragrance is strong.

Queen of Sweden is an incredibly sweet rose with a pretty light-pink shade. She has an upright growth habit. Moreover, she is such a neat rose without any leggy canes (3ft x 3ft). Therefore, Queen of Sweden is the right rose for your front of border. The drawback of Queen of Sweden is her fragrance strength as David Austin rated it as only ‘medium’.

The Alnwick is another perfect David Austin rose for front of the border. She is a very healthy rose producing a stronger fragrance strength than Eglantyne and Queen of Sweden (‘medium – strong’).

In terms of growth habit, The Mill On The Floss (2018) is quite similar to Wisley 2008. They both have the pretty, light-pink shade. Both of them make a larger bush (4.5ft x 4.5ft). However, The Mill On The Floss (2018) produces a stronger fragrance than Wisley 2008. David Austin rated her fragrance as ‘medium – strong’.

Wisley 2008 rose: The details

Height & Spread: 4.5ft x 4.5ft Color: Light pink Fragrance: Light
Fragrance notes: Fruity Flowering: Repeat Flowering Suitable for containers: No
Sun exposure: Partial Sunlight Bloom size: Medium (2 – 3’’ or 5 – 9 cm) Disease resistance: Excellent

Photo credit:

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