Best David Austin Roses For Covering A Fence

Best David Austin Roses For Covering A Fence

Cover that unsightly fence panel with glorious blooms and scent all summer

'Mortimer Sackler' (pictured above)

A plain larch-lap fence can easily be disguised by these gorgeous climbing roses; all bred and recommended by David Austin. They will all reach a minimum of 3m (10’) so will easily reach the top of the average garden fence. They all have good disease resistance so black spot should not be too much of a problem, (click here to watch the video showing how to deal with blackspot on roses). A good strong scent and the ability to flower for a long period throughout the season are also important features of these luscious full-petalled blooms. Many of the David Austin English shrub roses will reach a height of 180cm (6') if you just let them grow and don't prune them as hard as you would for a standard shrub rose.

David Austin rose Teasing Georgia

'Teasing Georgia'


If possible they need a sunny site with well-draining, humus-rich soil; although Crown Princess Margareta will tolerate more shade than the others.

David Austin rose Tess of the D'Urbervilles

'Tess of the D'Urbervilles'


Attach horizontal wires along the length of the fence about 45cm (18”) apart and if possible leave a few centimetres gap between the wire and the fence. This gap is required to make sure there is a good airflow through the plant. Crowded vegetation will improve the likelihood of the rose contracting blackspot.


If planting bare root stock, usually done from autumn to early spring when the plant is dormant, spread out the roots and dig a hole at least the width of these roots. Dig it deep enough so that the graft point will be level with the soil surface; place a cane across the hole to ascertain the correct depth. Dig in a bucketful of well-rotted farmyard manure and sprinkle in some mycorrhizal fungi, such as Rootgrow, also sprinkle some onto the roots. If you add some general purpose fertiliser don’t use the fungi as the phosphorous in the fertiliser will prevent the fungus from working. Place the rose into the hole and backfill with the soil, firming it as you go. Water well after planting. Container roses can be planted at any time; tease out the roots and follow the same instructions as for the bare rooted stock.

David Austin rose Crown Princess Margareta

'Crown Princess Margareta'


Keep damp for the first year after planting until the plant has established a good root system, after which it should be able to reach its own water supply. Cut back in early spring to about 30cm (12”) from the ground, to nice strong outward facing buds. Apply a rose fertiliser, such as Toprose, in early spring, water it in then apply a mulch (click here to read the blog Magic Mulch). Attach the stems to the wires in a fan shape.

David Austin rose St Swithun

'St Swithun'

Recommended varieties

Crown Princess Margareta

  • apricot/orange blooms
  • strong fruity fragrance
  • will tolerate some shade

Gertrude Jekyll

David Austin rose Gertrude Jekyll

  • mid-pink blooms
  • very strong Old Rose fragrance
  • twice voted nations favourite rose by Gardener’s World viewers
  • RHS Award Garden Merit

Mortimer Sackler

  • soft pink blooms
  • strong Old Rose fragrance
  • RHS Award Garden Merit

St Swithun

  • soft pink blooms
  • strong myrrh fragrance

Teasing Georgia

  • rich yellow blooms
  • strong tea fragrance
  • RHS Award Garden Merit

Tess of the D’Urbervilles

  • bright crimson blooms
  • good Old Rose scent

All images courtesy of David Austin

Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.