Rose Wins Top Award

Developed by rose hybridizer David Austin, Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’ is the World’s Favorite Rose, according to the World Federation of Rose Societies.

| August 21, 2009

It’s official: David Austin’s rose ‘Graham Thomas’ is the World’s Favorite Rose, according to the rose aficionados in the 41 member countries that make up the World Federation of Rose Societies. Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’ (Ausmas) becomes only the 14th rose in 33 years to win the triennial accolade – considered by many to be the rose world’s highest honor. 

The award, announced at the 2009 World Rose Convention in Vancouver in June, marks WFRS’s induction of R. ‘Graham Thomas’ into its highly selective Rose Hall of Fame. Each Hall of Fame inductee wears the crown of World’s Favorite Rose for a three-year reign. The first World’s Favorite Rose winner was the famed Peace rose (Rosa ‘Peace’), the 1976 inductee to the Rose Hall of Fame.

The scope of the award is truly international. Founded in 1968, the WFRS represents more than 100,000 rose lovers in 41 member countries. To be named World’s Favorite Rose and win induction into the Hall of Fame, a rose must progress through a nomination and voting process that involves all of the 41 national chapters. 

English rose hybridizer David Austin is internationally known for his introduction of new types of fragrant, full-bodied English Roses that have the plump form and heavy perfume of Old Roses combined with the broad color range and repeat-flowering of modern roses. David Austin breeds roses for rose lovers. Year after year, gardeners worldwide enjoy long seasons of pleasure from his fragrant English Roses by enriching the soil at planting and selecting the best varieties for their local growing conditions. (As the top pick of 41 countries, Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’ would seem vetted as a top variety for a very wide range of local growing conditions.)

R. ‘Graham Thomas’, introduced in 1983, was the first David Austin hybrid to fully realize its hybridizer’s vision for new Fragrant English Roses. The cup-shaped blooms have a strong, fresh tea rose fragrance with a cool violet character. Their color is an unusually rich, pure yellow, which is not found in the Old Roses and is rare even among modern roses.

Austin named the rose for one of the leading horticulturalists of the 20th century, the late British horticulturalist, artist and garden writer Graham Thomas (1909-2003). Thomas was an enthusiastic collector of Old Roses and a frequent visitor to David Austin’s nursery in Albrighton in the West Midlands region of England.

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