rec.gardens.roses FAQ (3/5) Old Garden Roses

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rec.gardens.roses FAQ (3/5) Old Garden Roses

Post by Bill Chandl » Sun, 15 Jan 1995 03:22:52

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Old Roses
rec.gardens.roses FAQ, part 3/5

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

     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

     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

     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',

     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'.


     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 Moss'.


     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

      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, hybrid 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

      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',

      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',

      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',

      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 ddep 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, 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'), Souliana
     ('Chevy Chase', Kew Rambler'), Pomifera ('Duplex'); Hybrid Musk
     ('Felicia', `Francesca', `Pax', `Nur Mahal', `Sammy', `Penelope'),
     Lambertiana (`Trier', `Gneisenau', `Lessing', `Eva'), Thomasiana (`Bishop
     Darlington', `Bloomfield Dainty', `Bloomfield Perfection').

      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.


     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


     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!).


     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,

     "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,

     "Rosa Rugosa", by Suzy Verrier.

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

end of Old Roses
rec.gardens.roses FAQ, part 3/5