I have 14 David Austin Sharifa Asma roses, so let me tell you just why I like them so much.
Firstly, because they are so stunningly perfumed. I started by buying two bare-root standards. I may have lucked out, but these two are amazingly fragrant, with a smell that is almost oily. You can imagine droplets hanging in the air.
Second, because they are upright and bushy, unlike some of the other David Austin roses which can be quite rounded and spreading. Sharifa Asma has more the upright growth of a hybrid tea, maybe even narrower and about 4 to 5 feet tall. They fit just perfectly into a relatively narrow space.
I was so impressed with the fragrance of the standards that I decided to make a hedge of them. I headed off to Melville Rose Nursery late one winter and picked myself up 6 Sharifa Asmas (I’ve since extended the hedge). Three are very fragrant, two aren’t at all and one was mislabelled and I think might possibly be a Glamis Castle (pictured below). Any other ideas as to its identity would be welcomed. It fades to white with age.
Which proves one thing, that fragrance in roses varies from plant to plant not just variety to variety. Nowadays I try and pick them up during flowering season so I can pick out the most fragrant ones.
And thirdly, because they are very heat and sun tolerant and do really well in Perth summers, flowering often and generously.
If they have a fault, at least in my eyes, it is in leaf form, kind of wrinkly. Apparently it is a rugosa style leaf (so the literature says). I’m not that fond of it but I find I don’t focus on it in the landscape.