Today I'm highlighting two of the cool-mauve-pink english roses in my collection: Sister Elizabeth (shown above and below) and Charles Rennie Mackintosh (last 3 pictures). While the flowers are very similar in color, the forms of the shrubs differ widely. Sister Elizabeth is very low and compact at about 2.5 feet by 2.5 feet. Charles is taller: David Austin's catalog estimates 4.5 feet high by 3 feet wide.
I planted Charles in the spring of 2008, and Elizabeth joined the garden in spring of 2009. Both of them got off to a rocky start. Charles made a feast for the thrips (I have a major infestation that I haven't figured out how to handle yet). I put Elizabeth in a pot that only received a few hours of intense, hot afternoon sun and then watered her less often than she needed. Next year should be better for them both, as Elizabeth is planted in the ground now and I'm going to use a systemic insecticide on Charles (hopefully this will be a temporary tool until my garden's biological balance is better).
But even with their poor care, you can see that their flowers are sweet and dreamy. Maybe part of that dreaminess comes from me using the 'soft focus' button a bit too much in Picasa. Sorry if I went a little overboard.
The great thing about this color is that it blends well with my crimson 'William Shakespeare 2000' roses and with other cool colors in arrangements. Both of these roses have medium sized flowers, which provides a nice contrast to large roses. Charles makes a much better cut rose than Elizabeth, though. You know how cut flowers get that tissue-paper-soft texture right before they wilt in the vase? Elizabeth's flowers always seemed to be like that, even as they opened on the bush. But that might have had something to do with my watering issues.
As for their placement in the garden, Elizabeth definitely belongs near the front and makes a good groundcover rose for a small area. Tall, upright Charles needs to be in the middle of the border with surrounding plants to brush against his stems. Neither one had problems with rust or blackspot in my garden, though both had some powdery mildew by the end of the season (again, better watering might have staved that off). I'm glad to have these sweet flowers in my garden and hope to take better care of them in the future.