I have been dreaming about going to visit David Austin's gardens ever since I first read about him in the spring. He has bred and grown English roses for decades, and now has hundreds to his name. You can usually find some of his rose plants in garden centres, and some florists use his specially-bred cut garden roses for arrangements, particularly for weddings. Claire Cowling used his roses for a stunning wedding display - if you can get hold of Fusion Flowers Weddings magazine 2011/2012 or the book Florever Wherever, then take a look for yourself.
I have a Jude the Obscure and a William Shakespeare 2000 rose plant at home, although roses don't seem to thrive that well in my town. I'm not sure if it's the air, water, soil, or if we're just not good at growing roses!
Anyway, I got the chance to visit the David Austin centre in Albrighton, near Wolverhampton, this week. Even though it's December, I still thought it would be worth a visit. I wasn't disappointed. Despite the time of year and the cold, a walk around the vast gardens, followed by lunch in the pretty cafe, was a lovely way to spend a weekday afternoon.
I'm definitely planning another trip there in the summer!