Sub-Group Characteristics and Specific Cultivars
These English Roses are developed from Alba roses giving them the wild-rose daintiness, gently nodding flowers and a lighter scent than other English Roses.
The English Alba Hybrid Roses are English Roses that have been bred closely back to Alba Old Roses giving them many of the Alba characteristics.
These English Albas have a lighter, more open growth habit that gives an informal feel to the shrub which makes them very good at blending with other plants and herbs in cottage gardens and mixed borders. The fragrance is not as strong, but is present in a variety of scents from myrrh to fruit in a delicate way that mimics the light, delicate look of the flowers themselves. The rose colors tend to mimic the white or pale pink of their Alba parents with few exceptions.
While not many named roses exist in this group yet, David Austin shared in his book The English Roses that future goals include adding more English Alba Hybrids to their production.
‘Scarborough Fair’ – This pale pink rose has only about 20 petals so the flowers are light and airy looking. The shrub grows to less than 3′ making it perfect for a border front edge or container which allows the clove fragrance to be enjoyed. Very easy to grow and disease-resistant, the shrub produces many flowers throughout the growing season.
‘Cordelia’ – A brighter pink than some of the other English Alba Hybrids, Cordelia has semi-double blooms on nearly thornless stems. Cordelia grows to 4′ and will add a bright splash of color to a rose garden. Like many Old Roses, Cordelia has attractive rose hips providing early winter interest if the seed heads are left on the bush.
‘Ann’ – One of the few single roses produced by David Austin, this rose is a cheerful pink with yellow centers and golden stamens. The growth habit is delicate and the shrub is short making it a great choice for containers, smaller pathway border or small beds where an informal, wild feel is still desired.
‘Windflower’ – In The English Roses this flower is described as one of the most beautiful of all English Roses but taller, leaner growth makes it more suited for back of a border. The pale, purple-pink flowers blend well with other summer blooming perennials and will bring a cinnamon scent to the fragrance garden. More like Alba Roses in growth, the foliage is elegant and delicate.