rec.gardens.roses FAQ (4/6) Old Garden Roses

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rec.gardens.roses FAQ (4/6) Old Garden Roses

Post by Bill Chandl » Fri, 26 May 1995 04:00:00

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Old Roses
rec.gardens.roses FAQ, part 4/6

Advisor" (FAQ originally compiled October-November, 1994.)

See part 1 of the FAQ for more information about this document.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction and General History
  2. Gallica Roses
  3. Alba Roses
  4. Damask Roses
  5. Centifolia/Moss/Pompon Roses
  6. Agathe Roses
  7. Turbinata Roses
  8. Rubiginosa and Canina Roses
  9. Hemispherica Roses
 10. Foetida Roses
 11. Pimpinellifolia Roses
 12. Boursault Roses
 13. Sempervirens Roses
 14. Setigera Roses
 15. Wichuraiana Roses
 16. Multiflora Roses
 17. Damask Perpetual Roses
 18. China Roses
 19. Tea Roses
 20. Bourbon Roses
 21. Noisette Roses
 22. Hybrid China/Hybrid Bourbon/Hybrid Noisette Roses
 23. Hybrid Perpetual Roses
 24. Old Hybrid Tea Roses
 25. Pernetiana Roses
 26. Mossy Remontant Roses
 27. Polyantha Roses
 28. Rugosa Roses
 29. Miscellaneous Roses
 30. "Middle-Aged" Roses
 31. Current Questions/Activities in Old Roses
 32. Organizations
 33. Nurseries
 34. Books


   *  Introduction and General History.


     The Hybrid Tea Roses, accompanied at length by the Floribunda and
     Grandiflora Roses so influenced by them, have been at the fore of rose
     progress for about a century now--so long that its forebears and
     predecessors have become, to many rosarians, mere footnotes rather
     than what they should be, valid candidates for equal interest.

     The modern "English Roses" by David Austin (modeled on the past;
     covered in another FAQ) and the ever-increasing groundswell of
     interest in old roses proper perhaps make it desirable for all
     rosarian netlings to gain some quick familiarity with the heritage of
     the rose. We therefore present the following thumbnail notes as
     something of a starting point, hoping that wiser heads will supply the
     necessary corrections or variant information, and hoping as well that
     those interested in more detail will check out the many fine books
     which deal with this at greater length. Some of these books are listed
     at the end of this FAQ.

     General History.

     Various wild roses grow throughout the Northern Hemisphere in sites
     ranging from riparian and swampy all the way to those of the desert.
     Two geographical groupings which, at first, developed separately, have
     had--both in their separation and in their ultimate combination--the
     greatest importance in rose history: The European/Mediterranean group
     of species and their hybrids, and the Oriental group of species and
     their hybrids.

     The European roses are primarily the following: Gallicas, Albas,
     Damasks, Damask Perpetuals, Centifolias, and Mosses. The mainstream
     Oriental groups are Chinas and Teas. The European sorts--with one
     important exception--have only one season of bloom per year, while the
     Orientals repeat bloom more or less continuously.

     The European/Mediterranean roses or their forebears have been grown
     and loved since the earliest days of history (and no doubt before).
     Wreaths of Damask-like roses have been found in Egyptian tombs;
     seemingly the same rose--called at one time "Rosa sancta" (the Holy
     Rose)--has been grown down to our own days in holy places in eastern
     Africa. Frescoes painted during the heyday of the Minoan culture on
     Crete show roses. The festivals both sacred and profane of the
     classical Greeks included roses, and did those of the Romans. During
     the Roman era, a repeat-blooming variant of the Damask rose evidently
     appeared, the first member of a group which came to be called "Damask
     Perpetuals." The Romans were so sophisticated that they developed a
     hot-house technology which allowed them to "force" roses into more
     bloom; they also imported roses from Egypt. The roses of these most
     ancient times in Europe and the Mediterranean were seemingly the
     Damasks, the Albas, and the Gallicas.

     During the Middle Ages, these roses retained a certain religious use,
     not only as decorations and adjuncts to (now Christian) holy
     festivals, but also as denizens of the medicinal gardens. Their
     medicinal associations as well as the simple human delight in their
     fragrance brought about the distillation-of-rose-essence industry,
     which still has local importance in a few areas of Europe (formerly
     France, now primarily Bulgaria).

     With the end of the Middle Ages and the rise of the merchant class,
     commerce in horticultural material began to flourish. Due to their
     fleet of trading ships and the peculiarities of their geography, the
     Netherlands became (and continue) a great center of horticultural
     business. Alongside their trade in Tulips, Hyacinths, Carnations, and
     the like, came something new in Occidental rose progress: systematic
     growing of roses from seed (previously, roses had primarily been
     propagated from cuttings, suckers, runners, and possibly to a small
     degree by grafts). This opened up the possibility inherent in ***
     reproduction: Variation. One of the great holes in knowledge of rose
     history concerns what roses they used in this, and how they went about
     it--but, at any rate, whereas previously only some tens of rose
     cultivars existed, now, in the period up to about 1810, one or two
     hundred became available, indeed a whole new group, the Centifolias,
     arising from the complex and possibly arbitrary breeding of the Dutch.

     Around 1800, the French became interested in roses and the rose
     industry. This interest was fueled by the French Empress Josephine,
     who surrounded herself with adepts in all fields of interest to
     her--one was Botany--while she consoled herself at the palace of
     Malmaison over her divorce from her beloved Napoleon. At this palace,
     she collected all the available sorts of roses, and encouraged the
     breeding and hybridizing of new ones. Spurred by this imperial
     patronage, several French breeders--notably Dupont and Descemet--went
     to work with a vengeance, developing several hundred new cultivars in
     the European groups (Gallicas, Damasks, Albas, Centifolias . . . ).
     Descemet indeed very carefully kept notes of the results of particular
     crosses, and may be said to have been the first in the West to have
     practiced controlled cross-breeding. We must turn, however, to the
     Orient for a moment, leaving Europe in the throes of Napoleonic war
     and rose-breeding. There is alas little information on Oriental--or,
     more specifically, Chinese--rose breeding. One finds indications that
     roses were favored, though perhaps not to the extent that the Peony,
     the Chrysanthemum, or the Camellia were. What is important to note,
     however, is that by the period 1750-1824, four cultivars in
     particular--often called today (rather rustically) "The Four Stud
     Chinas"--had been developed. Two were true China roses, one pink, one
     red. Two were Tea roses, one blush, one yellowish. These were
     continuous-blooming, as the Oriental roses were, but not hardy, and
     their introduction into the Occident at length completely
     revolutionized rose progress.

     The French, though their Emperor had fallen and Josephine was dead,
     continued their efforts with both the old material and now with the
     new. Due to political problems, Descemet had to flee France, but an
     ex-soldier of Napoleon's army, wounded in Italy, now prosperous as a
     hardware-shop owner, indulged his interest in roses and bought what
     remained of Descemet's nursery and breeding notes after the site of
     the nursery was sacked by invading English troops. This was
     Jean-Pierre Vibert, whose intelligence and industriousness working
     from 1816-1850 had a lasting influence on the French rose industry.

     The crosses with the new material were made as work continued in all
     groups of roses. Never before the 1820's had such a diversity of
     disparate roses been available--and never since. Almost every
     available species, no matter how obscure, had varieties and
     subvarieties of varying color or form due to breeding or sports. A
     sport of the Centifolia, the Moss Rose, had appeared a few decades
     before, and now began to spread its unique array of cultivars over the
     rose scene as the breeders worked with it.

     As the 1820's became the 1830's, however, interest was concentrated on
     the breeding between the Oriental roses and the Europeans. Due to the
     laws of genetics, the first progeny of crosses between once-bloomers
     and repeat-bloomers were once-blooming. As they were crossed with each
     other, however, and then back to the Chinas and Teas, repeat-blooming
     hybrids began to appear. These were crossed with Damask Perpetuals.
     The 1830's were a time of ferment and experimentation with these.

     Meantime, on an island in the Indian Ocean (though there is some
     debate about this), a new cross between a China and a Damask Perpetual
     appeared. This was the Bourbon Rose. Its appearance at this time made
     it a part of the breeding going on primarily in France (though efforts
     were also underway in England).

     The outcome of all these crosses jelled in the 1840's into the group
     called "Hybrid Perpetuals"--a name which implied to the people of the
     time "Damask Perpetuals which have been hybridized with Other Sorts."
     This group, taking in cultivars of all colors and forms, and (best of
     all to the people of the era) at least somewhat re-blooming and hardy,
     overwhelmed almost all the other groups. Interest in the old European
     sorts waned; they were gradually set aside, kept mainly as sentimental
     remembrances of the past by a few devotees.

     The idea of rose shows and competitions was on the rise at this time.
     These events began for better or worse to standardize the concept of
     what a rose blossom should look like, and made many concentrate on the
     rose as a producer of exhibition items rather than a decorative plant
     for the garden.

     Breeding experimentation continued. The original, rather
     weakly-growing, Teas were crossed with Bourbons to make a new, robust
     sort of Tea. As the search to widen the range of Hybrid Perpetuals
     continued, they were crossed with the Teas producing a group which
     came to be known as Hybrid Teas. Efforts along these lines really got
     underway seriously in the 1870's, though there had been a few earlier
     such crosses as well.

     But, still experimentation continued. A strong yellow rose was wanted.
     The Teas had light yellows among their number, but these had a
     tendency to fade, and the plants were not as robust as people had
     become accustomed to from the Hybrid Perpetuals. A deep yellow
     species, R. foetida, had been used to produce a Tea 'Ma Capucine' by
     the breeder Levet in 1871, but the plant was weak-growing,
     discouraging further work. In the 1890's, Pernet-Ducher turned to the
     problem, and, after a long series of experiments with Teas, Hybrid
     Teas, Hybrid Perpetuals, and (finally) R. foetida, produced offspring
     around 1900 from a cross of the HP 'Antoine Ducher' and R. foetida
     which had a yellow/gold/c***tone that seemed to promise much.
     Further developments from this cross were called "Pernetianas," and at
     length they were combined with the original Hybrid Teas to produce
     what might be called "Hybrid Hybrid Teas"--the Hybrid Teas of today.

   * Gallica Roses.

     These are selections bred from the "French Rose," R. gallica. A
     Gallica will typically have a stocky plant, an open blossom which
     shows the stamens and is held upright, usually in colors varying on
     one side or the other from rose-red. Variations, however, are almost
     limitless as well as subtle, and all degrees of height and blossom may
     be found, from near singles to full doubles, from blush pinks to
     maroon, from clear homogeneous colors to cloudy, striped, and/or
     spotted blossoms. The plants are easily propagated by their runners or
     suckers when on their own roots. Some examples are 'D'Aguesseau',
     'Camaieux', `Tuscany', 'Versicolor'.

   *  Alba Roses.

     As is so often the case with roses, the precise origin of the Alba
     group is much debated; possibly R. canina x R. damascena, or R.
     corymbifera x R. gallica, or . . . ? Albas typically make large,
     healthy shrubs with fragrant white or light pink blossoms, usually in
     few-flowered clusters. They have particular associations with the
     Middle Ages and castle gardens. 'Great Maiden's Blush', `Semiplena',
     `Jeanne d'Arc', `Konigin von Danemark', `Pompon Blanc Parfait'.

   *  Damask Roses.

     Damask Roses are supposed to be from a hybridization between R.
     gallica and R. phoenicia which occurred in Asia Minor and became
     distributed throughout Syria and the Near East and Middle East
     generally. The Crusaders--according to tradition--brought it back to
     Europe from Damascus (hence the name) in 1254. However, there is a
     most daunting and seemingly impenetrable fog around R. damascena.
     References can be found to "the common Damask" as late as the 1820's,
     and yet what an author is referring to by this term remains elusive.
     It indeed frequently seems that "the Common Damask" is rather a Damask
     Perpetual! Worse, cultivars which we today consider as defining the
     group--`Leda', perhaps, and 'Mme. Hardy'--seem to have been hybrids.
     'Celsiana', a most beautiful and popular rose, is possibly "typical"
     Damask; and yet, even it has its mystery (current research seems to
     indicate that the "pre-1750" date usually put forward is whimsical).
     Even 'York and Lancaster', frequently considered to be a sport of the
     original (red?) Damask, is supposed by one authority to be an Alba on
     the basis of a sporting back to something like the Alba 'Semiplena'!
     The cultivar used for the rose oil industry in Bulgaria,
     `Trigintipetala', supposedly a long-ago import from Turkey, is perhaps
     dependably R. damascena . . . . That said, characteristics associated
     with our concept of what a Damask should look like are: upright
     frequently arching canes, grayish-green somewhat rugose somewhat
     hirsute leaves, large fragrant blossoms in few-flowered clusters,
     delicate in appearance, and ranging in color from white to deep pink
     depending on the cultivar. 'Ville de Bruxelles', `Celsiana', `Mme.
     Hardy', 'Mme. Zoetmans', 'Kazanlyk'.

   *  Centifolia Roses.

     The genetic background of the much-beloved Centifolia roses is also
     much debated. Some have reported wild Centifolias from various sites
     in Europe and Asia, others try to piece together mosaics of species to
     make the Centifolia a complex hybrid. They were much featured in the
     paintings of the Dutch masters. Typically, a mature Centifolia will be
     4-5 feet high, leafy, and bear lush, fragrant, pink blossoms which not
     only nod in themselves, but which also frequently cause the plant's
     branches to nod gracefully under their weight. Colors of various
     cultivars range from white to deep rose-red, and there are striped and
     spotted ones as well. `Common Centifolia', `Bullata', `Des Peintres',
     `La Noblesse', `Tour de Malakoff', 'Unica'.

   *  Centifolia Mosses.

     These roses, originally a sport of the Centifolia, bear on their
     flower-stems and sepals a mutation of the glands making it appear as
     if a green or reddish-brown moss were growing there, adding a unique
     delicacy to the buds. In this group can be found some deep crimsons,
     lacking among the regular Centifolias; this is possibly due to some
     hybridization involving crimson China roses. `Common Moss', `Gloire
     des Mousseux', `William Lobb', `Deuil de Paul Fontaine', `Striped

   *  Centifolia Pompons.

     There are also several Centifolias which are to a greater or lesser
     degree miniatures or dwarfs, with small, charming blossoms. `De
     Meaux', `Petite de Hollande', `Spong', `Little Gem'.

   *  Agathe Roses.

     One of the least-known groups, Agathes are seemingly complex hybrids
     with a very strong influence from the Damasks and possibly R. X
     francofurtana. They are characterized by rather compact, leafy bushes,
     usually bearing small to medium sized full, tight blossoms. Due to
     years of unfamiliarity, generations of rosarians have listed them
     among the Gallicas. `Fatime', `Marie-Louise', `Majestueuse', `Bouquet
     Rose de Venus', `Victorine la Couronnee'.

   *  Turbinata Roses.

     The Turbinatas result from a cross called R. X francofurtana (between
     R. gallica and R. majalis, a European species.) The main
     representative of this group is `Imperatrice Josephine' with large
     foliage and big, wavy blossoms of intense pink. Turbinata roses often
     have some difficulty in opening their buds.

   *  Rubiginosa Roses.

     The Rubiginosa or Sweetbriar rose is a tall-growing rose the
     distinctive characteristic of which is its foliage which, particularly
     after a rain, wafts a green-apple scent. The blossoms of the original
     are single and pink or white, giving rise to coral-red hips, making
     quite a show in the Fall. A number of hybrids were produced in the
     1890's by Lord Penzance, much extending the color-range of the sort,
     at some expense to the fragrance of the foliage. `Clementine', `Hebe's
     Lip', `Lord Penzance', `Amy Robsart', `Greenmantle'.

   *  Canina Roses.

     The Canina or Dog Rose is closely related to the above, lacking
     however the scented foliage. The hips were considered medicinally
     effective against bites from mad dogs, hence the name. The
     Austro-Hungarian breeder Geschwind had a great interest in R. canina
     due to its hardiness, and produced several hybrids in the latter part
     of the 19th century; others have also made sparing use of it in
     breeding work. `Una', `Creme', `Freya', `Kiese', `Theresia'.

   *  Hemispherica Roses.

     Will the day of R. hemispherica ever come? Or is it already past?
     Known since the 1600's, R. hemispherica has much whetted the appetites
     of rosarians because of its deep yellow flowers, double in two
     varieties, its glaucous foliage, and the difficulty of its culture. It
     should be tried by those in dry, Mediterranean-like climates. There
     are only three Hemisphericas: `Simplex', `Multiplex', and `Pompon
     Jaune'--the lattermost with small double blossoms, reportedly the most
     difficult of all.

   *  Foetida Roses.

     R. foetida has long attracted the attention of horticulturists and
     botanists because of its bright coloring, and at length entered into
     the mainstream by the role it played in the production of the
     Pernetiana roses, leading directly into the modern Hybrid Tea. The
     plant is a large, arching shrub. R. foetida itself is bright yellow,
     `Bicolor' is coppery orange on the inside and yellow on the outside of
     the petals, 'Persian Yellow' is a double yellow. Several hybrids have
     been produced, of which the following are notable: 'Le Reve', `Star of
     Persia', 'Harison's Yellow'. The Pernetiana group of hybrids is
     covered in a separate section.

   *  Pimpinellifolia Roses (including Spinosissima).

     These roses are extremely hardy, have attractive foliage with various
     tints in the Fall, and bear sprightly single or double blossoms in
     most all the colors roses have, white, pink, red, yellow. Many are
     very compact, neat-looking bushes. `William III', `William IV',
     `Doorenbos Selection', `Altaica', `Marmorata', `Sulphurea'. Three
     repeat-blooming cultivars were produced, hybrids with the Damask
     Perpetual, one of which is still with us: `Stanwell Perpetual'.

   *  Boursault Roses.

     The Boursaults are of the scandent or climbing habit, and are
     traditionally supposed to derive from a Napoleonic-era cross between
     one of the earliest Chinas and R. pendulina, an alpine rose. The
     blossoms are rather large, come in larger or smaller clusters, appear
     early, are in shades of pink and red, and sometimes re-appear later in
     the season. The foliage in some sorts colors well in the Fall. `Mme.
     de Sancy de Parabere', `Morletii', `Amadis', `Calypso'.

   *  Sempervirens Roses.

     R. sempervirens is a climbing species from the Mediterranean area
     which has glossy, persistent leaves and large clusters of small white
     flowers. In the 1820's particularly, several breeders undertook work
     with it, most notably A. Jacques, who hybridized it with China or
     Noisette roses to come up with a series of climbers in shades of pink
     to white, climbers which are still used and appreciated today.
     `Felicite et Perpetue', `Adelaide d'Orleans', `Flore', `Dona Maria'.
     (The greatly popular Noisette 'Aimee Vibert' is also an R.
     sempervirens cross; it is however placed among the Noisettes because
     it reblooms.)

   *  Setigera Roses.

     R. setigera is a tough, hardy native of the American prairies, and has
     been used to produce a number of similarly tough and hardy climbers,
     first of all in the mid-19th century by several American nurserymen
     whose crosses with Noisettes, Gallicas, and no one knows what else,
     gave us the very beautiful varieties 'Baltimore Belle', `Gem of the
     Prairies', `Eva Corinne', `Queen of the Prairies', etc. Later breeders
     were to add `Corp***Johann Nagy', `Ovid', `Mrs. F.F. Prentiss', and
     eventually a series of modern climbers of which the best known,
     perhaps, is `Doubloons'.

   *  Wichuraiana Roses.

     R. wichuraiana is a wide-spreading cluster-flowered
     climber/groundcover rose from Japan and the Orient generally. The
     American Mr. Horvath--responsible for the `Doubloons' just mentioned
     above--began hybridizing with it immediately upon its appearance in
     the West in the early 1890's, crossing it with Polyanthas and Chinas.
     A person connected with the Barbier nurseries in France happened to
     visit, became interested in the results, and got the similar and
     highly successful Barbier crosses underway back home (though it is now
     thought that the closely-related R. luciae was used by the Barbiers
     for a number of the crosses). Many, many very meritorious ramblers
     from these and other breeders were introduced in the following years,
     some of the greatest popularity: `Dorothy Perkins', `Evangeline', `May
     Queen', `Leontine Gervais', `Aviateur Bleriot'.

   *  Multiflora Roses.

     Though a few Multiflora climbers had been produced early in the 19th
     century by such old masters as Vibert ('De la Grifferaie') and Laffay
     ('Laure Davoust'), and others appeared now and then for the rest of
     the century, the main impetus towards hybridizing with the Oriental R.
     multiflora came with the introduction of `Turner's Crimson Rambler' in
     1893. Over the next twenty-five or so years, dozens and dozens of
     Multiflora Ramblers--stiffer, more upright than Wichuraiana
     Ramblers--were released, some of them the so-called "blue" ramblers.
     `Veilchenblau', `Bleu Magenta', `Hiawatha', `Caroubier', `Ghislaine de
     Feligonde', `Tausendschon'.

   *  Damask Perpetual Roses.

     This group was the only repeat-blooming one known to the Europeans
     until the advent of the China roses. It had indeed been known
     seemingly in at least one variety ('Bifera') since Roman times.
     Another cultivar ('Tous-les-Mois') appeared in the 17th century, and
     breeding work in earnest began on them in the 1810's. Vibert and his
     successors in his firm had a very great interest in this group, and
     introduced by far the greatest number of them, the last one
     ('Rembrandt') of their long-pursued line coming out in 1883. They
     typically have stocky, healthy, decorative bushes, with the often
     exquisitely double, fragrant blossoms nestling in the leaves. There
     are several races of them: the Biferas, with tall, arching growth; the
     Portlands, showing Gallica influence; the Tous-les-Mois, the typical
     sort, bushy and compact with tight blossoms; and the Trianons, tall,
     vigorous, Hybrid-Perpetual like growth with clusters of flowers. The
     colors range from white through all the pinks to deepest red. 'Jacques
     Cartier', `Yolande d'Aragon', `Portland Rose', `Rose du Roi', `Joasine
     Hanet', `Marbree'.

   *  China Roses.

     Chinas--selectively bred from R. chinensis--had been grown in Chinese
     gardens long before the Occident knew anything about them. The agent
     of their first appearance in the West is under some dispute, with
     claims being made for Sweden, Britain, and Italy. A pink form and a
     red form entered commerce in the West in the 1790's, and breeding
     quickly got underway, particularly in France and, to some degree,
     Italy. The reasons for their quick popularity were primarily their
     continuous bloom and, at least initially, the then-current rage for
     things Oriental. Their main difficulty was their lack of
     cold-hardiness. Chinas typically make, bushy, twiggy plants, often
     quite irregular in outline, and range in color from deepest red and
     maroon through pink to white. Some hybridized with the Teas show warm
     tones of yellow, saffron, salmon, and orange. The China group has long
     been considered a refuge for "decoratives" as opposed to exhibition
     roses; cultivars of Tea parentage which did not show the blossom-form
     expected of Teas would be offered as Chinas. `Cramoisi Superieur',
     `Parsons' Pink China', `Eugene de Beauharnais', `Archiduc Charles',
     `Ducher', `Nemesis', `Mme. Eugene Resal', `Arethusa', and the green
     rose `Viridiflora'.

   *  Tea Roses.

     Teas are so called because many discern in their blossoms the scent of
     "a newly-opened sample of the choicest tea". Their supposed ancestry
     is R. chinensis x R. gigantea, the latter being a high-climbing
     Chinese rose with large primrose-colored blossoms fading quickly to
     white. The British introduced the first two cultivars to the West in
     1810 and 1824; the French quickly began hybridizing with them. The
     spiralling starry form now usually associated with an unfurling rose
     bud derives from the Tea and, to a lesser extent, the China. Teas are
     considered by many aficionadoes to have the most exquisite form and
     coloration in the world of the Rose. The problem confronted by the
     French, however, was that the bushes producing these blossoms were
     frail (at least, in France and England!), and the blossoms very
     susceptible to damage from the weather. Some took to growing them as
     greenhouse plants; others tried to improve the plant by
     cross-breeding. Several interesting results were produced, as we shall
     see in other categories below. In the history of the Teas, however,
     the most important crosses were with the Bourbons. This began a new
     race of Teas, most of which were quite unlike the old ones: large,
     vigorous, thick-limbed shrubs, often with perfectly healthy, beautiful
     glossy foliage. The colors range throughout the rose palette (reds,
     pinks, whites, blushes, yellows, oranges), but most special to Teas
     are the colors of dawn: tones of gold, warm pink, and rose shading
     into each other, with delicate tints and highlightings. `Anna
     Olivier', `Maman Cochet', `Safrano', `Comtesse de Labarthe', `Mme.
     Antoine Mari', `Souvenir de Therese Levet', `Catherine Mermet',
     `Etoile de Lyon', `Devoniensis', `Lady Hillingdon'.

   *  Bourbon Roses.

     Bourbon Roses are named for the Ile Bourbon, now called Reunion, in
     the Indian Ocean, where they traditionally are supposed to have
     originated from a natural cross between the China `Parsons' Pink' and
     the red `Tous-les-Mois', a Damask Perpetual, two roses which were used
     as hedge material on the island. (This, however, is an area of hot
     dispute in almost every particular.) Seeds of this plant, and cuttings
     of the plant, showed up in Paris in 1819 and 1821 respectively. The
     way in which the virtues of its disparate parents were combined made
     these new roses popular, and after ten years of largely unsuccessful
     attempts, good new Bourbons began to come out of the breeding grounds
     in the 1830's. In the best of them, vigor was combined with
     floriferousness, and beauty with fragrance. A typical Bourbon will
     have the arching growth harkening back to its Damask ancestors, with
     the lush flowers and fragrance from much the same source; but it will
     also have a strong tendency to rebloom from the China ancestor, as
     well as a certain often subtle influence of the China flower form.
     Bourbons, however, are often not typical at all, and range from the
     arching growth just mentioned to the very dwarf, China-like growth of
     the cultivar 'Hermosa', indeed one of the oldest Bourbons still
     available (it had shown up by 1835). They range in color from deep
     reds through pinks to blush and white. The easygoing charms of the
     Bourbons have returned them to the forefront of popularity among
     today's old rose people, though very few were introduced after 1900;
     their original heyday was the period 1830-1850. `Souvenir de la
     Malmaison', `Reine Victoria', `Louise Odier', `Gloire des Rosomanes',
     `Mme. Isaac Pereire', `Acidalie', `Boule de Neige'.

   *  Noisette Roses.

     Just after 1800, John Champneys of Charleston, South Carolina, crossed
     a pink China (traditionally supposed to be 'Parsons' Pink') with the
     Musk Rose R. moschata, and obtained a large-growing shrub with
     clusters of lightly fragrant pink blossoms, `Champneys' Pink Cluster'.
     A neighbor there, Philippe Noisette, planted its seeds and grew a
     plant which was similar but dwarfer, and which had larger clusters of
     doubler flowers, `Blush Noisette'. Philippe Noisette's brother
     happened to be a major French nurseryman in Paris, and it was through
     this latter that the rose found commercial release around 1815. The
     industrious French breeders soon went to work, and within ten years,
     there were more than a hundred Noisettes in the catalogs in colors
     from white to crimson-purple. The new yellow Tea showing up about that
     time, it was crossed with the Noisettes, with a result which
     fundamentlaly changed the Noisette group; the blossoms became larger,
     the clusters smaller, and the plants more Tea-like, with an
     inclination towards "climbing." The group reached its apogee or indeed
     apotheosis in 1853 with the release of one of the most beloved roses
     of all, the climber `Gloire de Dijon'. Further climbing Noisettes,
     mostly in shades of yellow or pinkish yellow, were released through
     the turn of the century when newer, hardier climbers of different
     background took the fore. The seemingly final stage of Noisettes,
     returning them much to their original concept of multi-flowered
     shrubs, was coming with the development of the Hybrid Musks
     (comprising crosses between Noisettes and Hybrid Teas, etc.) in the
     1910's, 1920's, and beyond. `Gloire de Dijon', `Desprez a Fleur
     Jaune', `Bougainville', `Chromatella', `Solfatare', `Marechal Niel',
     `Aimee Vibert', `William Allen Richardson', `Lily Metschersky',

   *  Hybrid China, Hybrid Bourbon, Hybrid Noisette Roses.

     These crosses between Chinas, Bourbons, Noisettes, and the old
     European sorts (Gallicas, etc.) were made initially as an attempt to
     deal with the lack of hardiness of these new sorts with R. chinensis
     background. The outcome was quite varied. The results are not
     absolutely clear, because offspring close to the, say, Gallica parent
     would be sold as a Gallica, and offspring close to the, say, China
     parent would find itself sold as a China; thus, many of these hybrids,
     produced in the 1820's and 1830's primarily, masquerade as something
     they are not genetically. The important thing, however, is that, due
     to the laws of genetics, almost the entirety of these are
     once-bloomers--but often blooming that one time a season with the most
     extreme profusion and beautiful fragrant flowers. The plants are most
     often climber-like and of the most extreme vigor, frequently heavily
     foliated. Novices and others must be careful to distinguish between
     (once-blooming) Hybrid Chinas and (repeat-blooming) China hybrids;
     (once-blooming) Hybrid Bourbons and (repeat-blooming) Bourbon hybrids;
     (once-blooming) Hybrid Noisettes and (repeat-blooming) Noisette
     hybrids. `George IV', `Belle de Crecy', `Duchesse de Montebello',
     `Mme. Plantier', `Triomphe de Laffay', `Comtesse de Lacepede',
     `Las-Cases', `Malton'.

   *  Hybrid Perpetual Roses.

     As the breeding work continued in the late 1820's with the Hybrid
     Chinas, Hybrid Bourbons, and Hybrid Noisettes, they were crossed with
     the hardiest re-blooming roses they had on hand, the Damask
     Perpetuals. Thus was born the race of Hybrid Perpetuals, which soon
     grew to encompass as well any re-blooming progeny of the Hybrid
     Chinas, etc. A first, very obscure, reblooming hybrid, `Hybride
     Remontant a Bois Lisse', peeks at us from 1829, another eight or so
     show up over the next decade, and soon the floodgates opened,
     thousands being released over the next sixty years. They were crossed
     with each other and with the Bourbons and Damask Perpetuals until a
     nearly full range of color from blush white to deepest red and purple
     was obtained; only purest white and yellow eluded them for a time,
     spurring interesting experiments (as we shall see). Typically, a
     Hybrid Perpetual will have big, cabbagey blossoms at the top of a
     long, often arching cane. As HP's were developed simultaneously with
     the rise of rose shows and competition, the forms became increasingly
     refined over the years from the original muddled or quartered look
     (now back in fashion!) to a rather fulsome version of what we might
     expect in a rose of today. Many HP's show a tendency towards fungal
     diseases, requiring a careful program of spraying. The thrill of a
     garden full of big, fragrant HP's in full bloom is something not to be
     forgotten; many will think of this and be quick to forgive them their
     often miserly rebloom. They began to fade from the scene with the
     advent of the Hybrid Tea. `Baronne Prevost', `Victor Verdier',
     `Charles Lefebvre', `Jules Margottin', `American Beauty', `General
     Jacqueminot', `Frau Karl Druschki', `Georg Arends', `Mrs. John Laing',
     `Souvenir d'Alphonse Lavalle', `Reine des Violettes', `Tartarus'.

   *  Old Hybrid Tea Roses.

     Ah, me. Here one is, a breeder in, say, the late 1860's, trying to
     breed a "different" HP among the hundreds coming out every year, one
     with shapely blossoms to win at shows, one that blooms more to attract
     those looking for Garden decoration, maybe one that's white or even
     yellow! The obvious answer, and one that occurred to several
     breeders--but most notably to Lacharme of France and Bennett of
     England--was to breed the Tea into the Hybrid Perpetual; they were
     willing to risk some loss of hardiness to gain something "different."
     Though the occasional HP x T cross had been made before and released,
     the first long-term programs of such were made by Lacharme and
     Bennett. From the mid-1870's on, others tried their hands at it
     increasingly; and, by the 1890's, Hybrid Teas were replacing Hybrid
     Perpetuals in the gardens of "modern"-thinking rosarians. The Hybrid
     Teas bloomed more, were bushier, had more beautiful leaves and
     better-shaped flowers, and the color-range, somewhat limited in the
     HP's, was extended into the warm, *** range of the Teas; the HP's
     mainly held ground where their greater hardiness made them more
     desirable. The problems with these new HT's was that they were, as we
     just saw, more tender, and they carried with them the problem that
     many Teas had of nodding on the stem; further, the color range, though
     wide, was muted: milky whites, creamy pinks, pale c***pinks, dull
     rose-coloreds, no real full-bodied reds at first; worst, perhaps, they
     were no improvement in health. And yet . . . and yet . . . they are
     beautiful, delicate creatures. (Traditionalists remind me to cite 'La
     France' as "the first Hybrid Tea"; it was introduced in 1867, as a
     Bourbon hybrid.) `Captain Christy', `Mme. Lacharme', `Antonine
     Verdier', `Jean Sisley', `Julius Finger', `Grace Darling',
     `Viscountess Folkestone', `Mme. Caroline Testout', `Kaiserin Auguste
     Viktoria', `Antoine Rivoire', `Mme. Wagram, Comtesse de Turenne'.

   *  Pernetiana Roses.

     Though the new HT's had definite yellow tinges from their Tea
     connections, Pernet-Ducher of Lyon, France, wanted to develop a deep
     yellow. Experimentation in the 1890's with the difficult to breed with
     R. foetida at length brought a cross between it and an old purple-red
     HP, `Antoine Ducher'. From this came `Soleil d'Or' of 1900, a rather
     difficult-to-grow plant with blossoms of a revolutionary coloration:
     gold/pink/saffron/etc., much more pronounced than it had ever been in
     the Teas. This cross and its nearer descendants were called
     "Pernetiana Roses" in honor of Pernet-Ducher. They are characterized
     by growth and health quirks associated with R. foetida (glossy leaves,
     die-back, fungal problems). To remedy these problems, and to satisfy
     what would be the natural urge, breeders began crossing these
     Pernetianas with the Hybrid Teas of the time, producing wild colors in
     oranges, hot pinks, bright yellows, flame, apricot . . . By the late
     1920's, these two races had merged to produce the Modern Hybrid Tea of
     today. `Soleil d'Or', `Mme. Edouard Herriot', `Los Angeles', `Souvenir
     de Claudius Pernet', `Souvenir de Georges Pernet', `Willowmere',
     `Autumn', `California', `Arthur R. Goodwin', `Lyon-Rose'.

   *  Mossy Remontants.

     While the HP's were getting underway in the 1830's and 1840's, another
     new sort of repeat-blooming rose made its appearance: the Mossy
     Remontant. The first one was a sport of the Damask Perpetual `Bifera'
     in 1835; but the first one intentionally bred was released by Mauget
     of Orleans, France, in 1844. Over the next forty or so years, a number
     of Mossy Remontants were released, some quite charming indeed, though
     many are neither very mossy nor very remontant (reblooming). Many are
     close to the Damask Perpetuals in plant habit, having undoubtedly been
     bred from them, and make neat little bushes in the garden. Others seem
     to have Hybrid Perpetual relations, and grow in the gawky way of that
     tribe. These do better in warm climates than do the regular Mosses.
     Their colors range from white through pink to deep red. `Alfred de
     Dalmas', `Soupert et Notting', `Cesonie', `Mme. Edouard Ory', `Pompon
     Perpetuel', `Salet', `Deuil de Paul Fontaine', `Baron de Wassenaer'.

   *  Polyantha Roses.

     In 1869, Guillot fils of Lyon, France, sowed seed from R. multiflora
     'Polyantha', a large shrub introduced from Japan around 1862, with
     clusters of single, white, fragrant blossoms. From this, he obtained a
     large crop of much varied seedlings; "I didn't have so many as two
     which resembled their mother!" said he. Elsewhere in Lyon, the breeder
     Rambaux had sown a separate crop, with similar results. Guillot fils
     got seeds from a semi-double in the crop, sowed these, and from this
     arose the first Polyantha, `Paquerette', released in 1875. Alongside
     the "pure" Polyanthas, breeders crossed them with Teas to obtain
     clusters of small but perfectly-formed buds, as with `Mlle. Cecile
     Brunner' and `Perle d'Or'. Polyanthas normally produce dwarfish,
     compact bushes ranging from one foot to three in height, bearing often
     immense clusters of small blossoms which can range through the whole
     spectrum of rose coloration. Some have a tendency towards leaflessness
     in the Summer. New Polyanthas continue to be bred and released in the
     present-day world of roses due to their unique qualities for breeding
     and display. They were crossed beginning in the ***s and 20's with
     Hybrid Teas to produce the Floribunda group. `Mlle. Cecile Brunner',
     `Perle d'Or', `Rita Sammons', `Lady Anne Kidwell', `Mignonette',
     `Clotilde Soupert', `Eblouissant', `Anne Marie de Montravel', `Mme.
     Norbert Levavasseur', `Perle des Rouges', `Merveille des Rouges',
     `Margo Koster', `Sunshine'.

   *  Rugosa Roses.

     Rugosa roses are those derived from the thorny Japanese rose R.
     rugosa, the two mains forms of which are wine-red and white. Though a
     few crosses had been made earlier (as early as the 1820's), in the
     1890's several hybridizers became interested in working with the
     species due to its hardiness, health, vigor, and special beauty. This
     lattermost is due to its glossy green leaves and splendid orange hips
     as well as its large, beautiful flowers. Due to the ease with which it
     crosses, much has been tried with the Rugosas, and efforts continue
     today. Colors range from white through pink to red and purple, and
     yellow can be found as well. There are new dwarfer cultivars, but
     normally the specimen will reach five or six feet in height. Some old
     cultivars: `Roseraie de l'Hay', `Blanc Double de Coubert',
     `Fimbriata', `Mme. Alvarez del Campo', `New Century', `Comte
     d'Epremesnil',`Grootendorst Supreme', `Rose Apples'.

   *  Miscellaneous Roses.

     There are many small groups of roses we cannot cover here due to
     limitations of space. We can, however, at least mention a few names
     from some of these groups: Arvensis ('Dundee Rambler', `Ayrshire
     Queen', `Mme. Viviand-Morel', `Ruga'), Banksia (`Albo-Plena',
     `Lutescens', `Luteo-Plena'), Bracteata ('Alba Odorata', `Maria
     Leonida', `Mermaid'), Hugonis (`Albert Maumene', `Dr. E.M. Mills'),
     Laevigata ('Ramona', `Anemonen Rose', `Silver Moon'), Musk (`Flore
     Pleno', `Fraser's Pink Musk', `Princesse de Nassau'), Roxburghii (`Ma
     Surprise', `Triomphe de la Guillotiere', `Domaine de Chapuis',
     `Chateau de la Juvenie'), Soulieana ('Chevy Chase', Kew Rambler'),
     Pomifera ('Duplex'); Hybrid Musk, based on Noisette/HT crosses
     (`Felicia', `Francesca', `Pax', `Nur Mahal', `Sammy', `Penelope'),
     Lambertiana, based on Multiflora/HT crosses (`Trier', `Gneisenau',
     `Lessing', `Eva'), Thomasiana, based on Wichuraiana/HT crosses
     (`Bishop Darlington', `Bloomfield Dainty', `Bloomfield Perfection'),
     Rubrifolia, a fascinating species with reddish glaucous foliage
     (`Carmenetta', `Flora Plena', `Semi-Double'). Additionally, many
     species make charming additions to the garden in their own right. Some
     would be: R. brunonii, R. californica, R. carolina, R. cymosa, R.
     gigantea, R. macrophylla, R. moyesii, R. omiensis `Pteracantha', R.
     pisocarpa, R. stellata `Mirifica', R. xanthina, and many others--not
     forgetting the very close cousin of roses, Hulthemia persica, which
     has recently entered into some mainstream rose breeding.

   *  Middle Aged Roses.

     Increasingly without a home are the very beautiful Hybrid Teas and
     Floribundas introduced in the 1920's, 1920's, 1940's, 1950's . . . Too
     young to be "old" roses, too old for many current-day rosarians, these
     wonderful cultivars need an interest group of their own.

   *  Current Questions/Activities in the Field.

     There are many questions in the field of Old Roses relating primarily
     to history (cultural questions are, in the main, the same as for
     modern roses). Those interested could spend many pleasurable hours
     trying to obtain biographical data on breeders, or researching the
     methods or cultivars used in their breeding. Persons in or around The
     Netherlands are in a position to do the field a very great favor by
     putting together a major article or book in English about the
     breeders, methods, and cultivars used by the Dutch in their breeding
     1600-1830, as there is virtually nothing on this very very important
     subject available in English (or French). Questions about the history
     and make-up of the Damasks and Damask Perpetuals remain without firm
     answers, and are probably in the province of scientific rather than
     historic investigation.

     An important activity undertaken and enjoyed by many old rosers is to
     visit old gardens, cemeteries, churches, town sites, and the like to
     find, propagate, and try to identify old roses found growing there.
     Debate on the subject of identification is often hot and heart-felt,
     many people having sentimental attachments to names long familiar or
     roses they have found; those entering into the fray need to have
     obtained accurate descriptions from old sources such as catalogs,
     magazines, or books published when the cultivars were new. Those in a
     position to do so can check the old bulletins or minutes of their
     local horticultural society for data about what old roses were popular
     in the area in a particular era; those living in old rose-breeding
     areas may stumble on a gold mine of information when they do so. Those
     more interested in growing could put together collections of roses
     from, for instance, one breeder, and then write an article comparing,
     contrasting, extrapolating results. A major need is to import into the
     U.S. cultivars which at present exist only in Europe; the person
     attempting to do so needs to be able to meet the requirements of the
     USDA quarantine as well as to negotiate the difficulties of doing
     business overseas.

   *  Organizations.

     There are a number of organizations which would be of interest to
     devotees of old roses. We cannot know or list all of them; neither
     listing nor failing to list here indicates any opinion of their worth.
     Here are some addresses correct as of the time of writing (November 1,
     1994); please write for information:


     American Rose Society
     P.O. Box 30,000
     Shreveport, LA 71130

     Canadian Rose Society
     Mrs. Anne Graber, Secr.
     10 Fairfax Cr.
     Scarborough, Ont  M1L 1Z8

     The Royal National Rose Society
     Chiswell Green
     St. Albans, Herts.  AL2 3NR

     La Societe Francaise des Roses
     Parc de la Tete d'Or
     69459 Lyon

     Verein Deutscher Rosenfreunde
     Mainaustrasse 198A
     775A Konstanz


     Dallas Area Historical Rose Society
     P.O. Box 38585
     Dallas, TX 75238-0585

     Heritage Roses Group, North-East
     Lily Shohan
     RD 1  Box 299
     Clinton Corners, NY 12514

     Heritage Roses Group, North Central
     Henry Najat
     6365 Wald Road
     Monroe, WI 53566

     Heritage Roses Group, North West
     Judy Dexter
     23665 41st Street South
     Kent, WA 98032

     Heritage Roses Group, South East
     Jan Wilson
     1700 S. Lafayette St.
     Shelby, NC 28150

     Heritage Roses Group, South Central
     Karen Walbrun
     Rt. 2  Box 6661
     Pipe Creek, TX 78063

     Heritage Roses Group, South West (Last name A-G)
     Betty L. Cooper
     925 King Drive
     El Cerrito, CA 94530

     Heritage Roses Group, South West (Last name H-O)
     Marlea Graham
     100 Bear Oaks Drive
     Martinez, CA 94553

     Heritage Roses Group, South West (Last name P-Z)
     Frances Grate
     472 Gibson Avenue
     Pacific Grove, CA 93950

     Heritage Rose Foundation
     1512 Gorman Street
     Raleigh, NC 27606

     Les Amis de la Roseraie
     Roseraie Departemental
     Rue Andre Watel
     94240 L'Hay-les-Roses

   *  Nurseries.

     We alas cannot list all old rose nurseries, and do not wish to seem to
     be recommending any one or group over any other in something involving
     commercial interests. The societies listed above can provide lists of
     nurseries, at least one recent book ("The Quest for the Rose") lists
     several for a number of countries around the world, and there is
     currently (November 1, 1994) a thread on this newsgroup discussing
     rose suppliers (if it is gone, start another thread asking!).

   *  Books.

     All books published on this subject should be examined with interest
     and discernment. Here are a few recent ones; we are no doubt
     forgetting several equally worthy ones.

     "The Graham Stuart Thomas Rose Book", by Graham Stuart Thomas. Timber
     Press, 1994. (Timber Press phone #: [in USA] 1-800-327-5680;
     [elsewhere] (503) 227-2878.)

     "The Quest for the Rose", by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix. Random
     House, 1993.

     "The Old Rose Advisor", by Brent C.***erson. Timber Press, 1992.

     "Roses", by Peter Beales. Harvill, 1992.

     "Old Roses and English Roses", by David Austin. Antique Collector's
     Club, 1992.

     "Rosa Rugosa", by Suzy Verrier.

     "Les Roses Anciennes", by C***te Testu. Flammarion, 1984.

end of Old Roses
rec.gardens.roses FAQ, part 4/6