I know how to grow a damn rose by now and furthermore I garden in New Zealalnd i.e. premium fantasy rose territory; moderate temps and a low pest burden. And still so many of his creations fail to thrive here. WTF, David?
His program's recent redirect toward more spray-free vigour is both overdue and admirable. Just keep those problematic legacy genes in mind whilst losing your shit over a tag pic and don't get schooled the expensive and frustrating way. It took me a while to catch on.
On a happier note, Golden Celebration, as you can probably see from the pics, is one of Austin's top shelf efforts and there will always be a place in my garden for her.
GC is a yellow rose for yellow rose haters. I used to be one of them and GC pretty much converted me. She suffers none of the unpleasantness that so often afflicts them, boasting a bloom of gloriously buxom aspect that lasts as well as any other and doesn't bleach out to pallid toilet paper ickiness. Ignore the white fade apparent in some of these images; it's mostly just an artefact of photography. GC keeps her buttery goodness til the last minute.
It's sometimes argued that Austin only intended his lines for British conditions and if so, he should have articulated that before marketing them the world over. In the end, his roses' failings boil down to a fundamental selection process that was skewed toward flower form over everything else, especially in his earlier efforts.
GC's gigantic flowers really are a perfect combination of substance and structure, with just the right boop of raunchy informality. They are broad, semi-pirate-ruffled and medium-rise once open. Despite their size and weight they sit proud on the bush and handle rain incredibly well, never balling or rotting out, even in our maritime spring. They are a better picking prospect than most DA roses and you might get three days in the vase before they break. Though she is intensely theatrical in full spate, somehow, rather inexplicably, the total impression is more dignified than the sum of her parts, just in case my description is giving you the willies.
You might have noticed by now that Golden Celebration is also endlessly photogenic. If I ever lose R, I usually find him hovering around this rose with a wide angle in some sort of fugue state.
Here she is in a vase with Summer Song. GC is an easier fit in a mixed situation than you might imagine, finding analogues in hot, thick pinks, sweaty reds and heavy sunset colours. I have her alongside other saucy hos like Darcey Bussell and Rose de Rêscht, for example. Scarlet poppies and deep purple or crimson clematis make truly heavenly accompaniments. Just remember she is a potent wig-snatcher in the wrong setting and eats lesser yellows for breakfast, so it's best to avoid an unfair contest.
By mid-morning there is just enough of a low tea scent (last night's dried out cognac glass + broken packing crate) to qualify as an olfactory experience but I wouldn't buy this plant on that basis. The 'sauternes and strawberry' claims on the DA site are in my experience hyperbolic and by that I mean complete bullshit.
The foliage is probably as median-rose as anything out there; middle green, sort of matte without really giving that overall impression and large in scale. Thankfully it is dense enough to cover the fuuucking awkward architecture that so often lies beneath.
That's right. I ugly-shamed her undercarriage. Welcome to the darker side of Golden Celebration.
How do I say this nicely? There is... some monsterism. GC is the strangest rose, build-wise, her waxy, exuberant canes leaning out at weird angles, half powering away into octopoid madness while others extend in whippy little tendrils to offer a single bud at their terminus. I do not understand her structure.
I've grown this rose for about 10 years as a graft. Unlike many other DA numbers, she can go without a drink for some time and never looks thirsty. Half a day of shade doesn't bother her and she is both reliably floriferous and infallibly vigorous. We've been through some pretty gnarly plague seasons so I'd rate her constitution around 7/10 in that she will power through blackspot without getting naked and remain rust and mildew free in our dense plantings and humidity.
In this respect she is remarkably contrary to one of her parents, Graham Thomas. That guy is a leprous little coffin-dodger I should have nuked from orbit years ago. Abraham Darby is the other daddy; he is nothing if not sturdy so GC must favour that side.