'AUSfirst' rose References
Article (newspaper) (Sep 2009) Page(s) 3. Includes photo(s).
Patricia Routley: An English florist, Mrs. Constance Spry (1886-1960) so loved old roses that she gathered together in the 1930s and 1940s varieties, which even then were hard to find. She was also a talented flower arranger and wrote many books on this subject. She loved the richness of the old roses and arranged them in ornate vases and urns on satin cloths and polished wooden tables, but she was innovative enough to realize that style was not for all, especially in the war years. During and after the war, Mrs. Spry traveled extensively, giving talks to women on how to bring beauty into their austere, war-torn homes and lives. When the distinguished gardening book author, Graham Stuart Thomas, began to gather his old roses around him, he included his friend, Constance Spry’s roses. Mrs. Spry also influenced another up-and-coming young rose breeder, David Austin, who named his first rose after this lady and it was the first in the unending line of beautiful English roses. Constance Spry was bred from ‘Belle Isis’, c1845 (a spring-only gallica) x ‘Dainty Maid’ 1938 (a repeating floribunda) and released in 1961. ‘Constance Spry’ is a climber with large, many-petaled, rich pink flowers that are myrrh-scented. Myrrh is an aniseed-type fragrance from two sources: the herb Sweet Cicely Myrrhis odorata, and a small East African and Arabian tree Commiphora myrrha - it is a fragrance that one either likes or dislikes. I actually love the fragrance but its original use was as a fragrance to wash and cleanse corpses before burial. (The scent of one flower may make the heart leap, another brings tears, and in quicker time than the mind takes to find the reason for the tears.) Mr. Thomas and Mr. Austin believed the myrrh scent might have come from the ‘Ayrshire Splendens’ rose through ‘Belle Isis’. I have two bushes of ‘Constance Spry’, one on probably R. fortuniana rootstock, and the other on its own roots from the Pinjarra Heritage Rose Garden. The rose on rootstock has grown up a small walnut tree and the own-roots rose is a vast 7 feet high shrub. ‘Constance Spry’ only flowers in spring and I look forward every year to walking past the walnut tree with a visitor and saying “look up”. The rose is a bit prickly but I have never actually pruned either bush, just cutting out any dead wood, so I am never bothered about prickles. The roses have never been watered either after the first year or two, and they get on beautifully all by themselves. I have all of Mrs. Spry’s books on my bookshelf and am very happy to have “her” rose out in my garden. Here is a thought from her ‘Garden Notebook’.
If something is completely beautiful I am perfectly happy to behold it and then let it go; even though you may think you forget it you never do, and often when your mind appears to be entirely remote from it a vision will suddenly spring up and you see it again.
Book (2008) Page(s) 18. Includes photo(s).
Photo. Constance Spry on fence in Emeryville, SA.
'Constance Spry® ' syn. Ausfirst, Constanze Spry
Shrub, light pink, 1961, David Austin. Intro.: Sunningdale Nurseries, 1961. Includes description.
Article (misc) (2005) Page(s) 110, Table 5.1.
Constance Spry: diploid
Book (2001) Page(s) 35.
Shrub. Rated 8.5
Book (2000) Page(s) 176. Includes photo(s).
‘Constance Spry’/’Constanze Spry’: Arbuste. Cette variété est une pionnière de son clan, et l’aïeule de tous les arbustes nommés “rosiers anglais”… Elle est dédiée à une pionnière de l’art floral des années 1950 et 1960. Austin, UK, 1961… exquis parfum de myrrhe, trait qu’elle a transmis à presque toute sa descendance… description… RHS Award of Garden Merit, 1993.
Book (Mar 1999) Page(s) 48.
Constance Spry Austin (England) 1961... The large, cupped, globular, rich mid-pink blossoms are heavily perfumed with a myrrh fragrance... the Gallica trait of blooming on old wood when combined with the greater tenderness of Floribundas, as in 'Constance Spry', prevent cold-climate gardeners from fully enjoying such roses...
Website/Catalog (4 Jan 1999) Page(s) 29. Includes photo(s).
Website/Catalog (22 Dec 1998) Page(s) 22. Includes photo(s).
Book (Nov 1998) Page(s) 102. Includes photo(s).