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Evelyn rose review: How does it perform in hot & humid climate?

Updated: Jan 16

Evelyn rose has undoubtedly been the highly sourced after/coveted David Austin rose for the past several years. When I first entered the world of roses, like you, I was so curious to know what the hype was all about. People talked about its intoxicating fragrance and beautiful shape/form of the flowers. I had to find out by myself because it seemed like this rose was brought up almost every single day in the rose groups I was in. 



What I did was - I ordered a bouquet of Evelyn from Grace Rose Farm so I could see/smell and experience what the hype was. What I didn’t know was I received Princess Charlene de Monaco as a substitute instead (they didn’t include any note hence I didn’t know until a few months later). It was my misunderstanding that I got Evelyn and they smelled soooo good. So I thought I MUST have this rose as its fragrance was out of this world amazing.


Where did I get this rose form and where you may be able to find it?


Since many people were after Evelyn rose, I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to acquire one. From what I heard, some people had been hunting for years without luck and David Austin only offered a limited quantity each year. As a rose newbie starting my rose craze in spring of 2020, how in the world I’d be able to get it.


Well, I guess the impossible or the miracle really existed because someone in the rose group gave me a pointer to order one from a nursery in Washington state in Nov/Dec of the same year! That was Raft Island Roses where I also ordered Princess Charlene de Monaco from. My dream came true, I finally got my Evelyn rose delivered in February 2021. You won't believe my excitement. I was so elated feeling like I won a lottery! In the spring of 2021, David Austin offered Evelyn again on their site so I went ahead and grabbed another one as my backup in case (this one is on Dr. Huey rootstock).


Raft Island Roses no longer carries Evelyn. You may be able to find Evelyn from Garden Roses LLC under the Aussaucer name. It is sold as a small, band own root rose.



Next, let's go into details about its growth habit, diseases/pests, heat tolerance and flower.








GROWTH HABIT


Evelyn doesn’t grow as a shrub in my experience, especially on a multiflora rootstock (if you have an own root or a grafted version on another rootstock, yours may behave differently). It grows tall and leggy, but canes are flexible and can easily be trained. I don’t have a proper structure for mine so I use bamboo sticks to support a few canes to promote lateral shoots. This method has been working great for me.


So far it stands at about 6-7 ft tall. Scroll down to see a current photo of its growth habit in December 2023.






Evelyn rose growth habit
Evelyn as of December 21, 2023

HEAT TOLERANCE


This rose loves heat, to my surprise, and it is eager to bloom despite a very hot summer of 2023. It is my top workhorse and it’s one of my best performing roses of the year 2023 as you can see that list here.


Your question at this point may be - is it really worth growing this rose? To me after 2 years of harsh summers, this rose impresses me in a way that it is very eager to bloom its head off. 


Although blooms fade fast to white under very hot sun (keep in mind that I plant Evelyn in my south-facing backyard with 10+ hours of sun exposure during summer, any roses under this long exposure without shade will fade and/or fry). Its flowers hold up longer than Princess Charlene de Monaco as well because its petals are thicker. If you are looking for roses that are heat tolerant and will bloom throughout all summer long (form is not perfect), Evelyn is worth adding to your garden.




FLOWERS AND FRAGRANCE


Similar to other roses, cooler weather during spring and fall makes them much fuller and more vibrant. Sometimes, the color is pink, but mostly they are apricot. During hot months, they are more pale yellow and turn to white under high heat.


About that intense and intoxicating fragrance people are raving about, don't take my words for it because each person's sense of smell varies so much. For some odd reasons, I found that Princess Charlene de Monaco has a stronger fragrance to my nose. They have a very similar fragrance. 















DISEASE AND PEST RESISTANCE


As far as blackspots, I say average to good. The two roses that have the worst blackspots in my garden are Lady of the Mist and Moonlight in Paris. Evelyn is healthier than those two in a no-spray garden.


One year it had powdery mildew during a very humid spring, but that was the only time. I didn’t treat it with anything and the powdery mildew disappeared on its own.

Pest resistance: this year (2023) I saw a very high chili thrip pressure, it gets hit just like all other roses. Despite high chili thrip damages on its foliages, this does NOT stop its ability to bloom.


I hope this review of Evelyn rose is helpful in some ways for those of you who are interested in owning this highly sought-after rose.


Happy Growing,


Tat



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