Michael Marriott, technical director and senior rosarian of David Austin Roses, Shropshire, England, is one of the world’s most-respected rose experts. He is also well-known for his rose garden design and his common sense approach to gardening. In his work he travels the globe, often sharing his expertise in lively radio, TV, newspaper and magazine interviews.
Michael Marriott has been an integral part of David Austin Roses for nearly 30 years. At the firm’s headquarters in Albrighton village in Shropshire, he is the font of all matters relating to roses, including general care and maintenance, best variety choice for different climates, history and rose identification. He runs David Austin rose trials across the United States, establishing the best varieties for the different climates. He is a key member of Austin’s rose fragrance team, working side-by-side with famed “rose nose” Robert Calkin.
Marriott’s enthusiasm is infectious and his knowledge of roses is encyclopedic, including wild or species roses, the old roses, climbers and ramblers, the best modern roses and of course David Austin’s English Roses. Michael has played an important part in the development and popularization of English Roses and therefore has intimate knowledge of all of the 200 plus English Roses bred and introduced by David Austin Roses.
As a garden designer, Marriott is known for dense romantic beds spilling beautifully within trim borders. He has designed many rose gardens around the world of varying sizes, both public and private. Public gardens that he designed include the Rose Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in Regent’s Park, Hampton Court Palace and Trentham Rose Gardens. His private clients are primarily in the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe, but he has also worked in Russia, Japan, South Korea and even Bhutan. One of his more recent public gardens is in Japan, covering nearly two acres at the David Austin office near Osaka. In 2014, he takes on significant projects in China and Luxembourg.
An advocate of practical gardening techniques and organic methods for rose gardeners, he has a flair for understated but evocative description and dramatic demonstration. He is regularly called upon to conduct workshops, give lectures and write articles for audiences and publications of varying levels of expertise in many different countries. In England, his guest workshops for the Royal Horticultural Society’s education series are popular among both experienced and beginner gardeners.
A keen gardener, he recognized his passion for plants at an early age. Marriott believes that a good gardener starts by choosing appropriate plants and varieties for his or her garden’s growing conditions, then backs them up with sound soil management, watering, mulching and fertilizing. His garden of 25 years was run on organic principles and never sprayed. Selecting only the healthiest varieties of roses and other plants, he used companion plants to attract beneficial insects.
Prior to joining David Austin Roses in 1985, Marriott worked in the Asia Pacific region managing rubber, cocoa and oil palm estates in Papua New Guinea, Sabah and the Solomon Islands. He worked briefly in botanical research in England, after earning a degree in Agricultural Botany in 1976 from Reading University in Berkshire, ranked by the UK’s Times Higher Education among the top 1% of research-led universities worldwide.