An old garden rose can be defined as a rose belonging to any class of roses that has been in existence prior to 1867 - or before the introduction of the first hybrid tea. In fact, all roses that have been discovered or hybridized after 1867 are also classified as old garden roses, provided it is a member of any of these classes.
Garden roses are not only popular because of their historical significance or nostalgia associated with them, but also because of their individual beauty, appeal, perfume, long life, low maintenance and occasionally for their hardiness. Old garden rose plants differ - they may range from dwarf to giant, producing blooms of all hues ranging from subtle singles to all types of suffused doubles.
Some old garden roses like the old Blush Rose are very old roses and are also called old shrub roses or old fashioned roses. Apart from their appeal, attractiveness and unbelievable fragrance, old garden roses are extremely hardy. Therefore, it is relatively easy to grow these roses. Hence, if you are planning to develop an old-fashioned rose garden, it is advisable that you should simply proceed and plant some old garden roses.
When the old garden roses become established in residential areas and also places like old cemeteries, they continue to flourish as well as survive for centuries without requiring any care whatsoever. In fact, old garden roses have flourished without any artificial watering like garden hoses, spraying or sprinkler systems. These roses have also succeeded in staying alive in extreme climatic conditions like heat waves, droughts and even blizzards.
The natural beauty in the form of the old garden roses is yet another remarkable aspect of the plants belonging to this class. This feature of the antique garden roses makes them appealing as landscape plants. Compared to the contemporary hybrid tea roses, the old garden rose flowers have a muted color, which is somewhat akin to pastel hue.
For the uninitiated, the old garden roses are actually the ancestors of the modern roses. Some of these old garden roses have been in existence since the days of the Roman Empire when people admired them for their exquisiteness as well as fragrance. The stubble attractiveness as well as breathtaking fragrance of old garden roses are seldom present in the modern day hybrid tea roses. Old garden roses are found in varied groups ranging from the elegant albas having magnificent fragrance and excellent resilience to cold during the winter months to very tender and gorgeous tea roses that are most appropriate for being grown in places having warm climatic conditions. Generally speaking, the old garden roses comprise a variable group that can be grown easily, are resistant to diseases and able to withstand the cold winters.
The old-rose group is made up of a big number of sub-classes. The most widespread of these are:
There are also a number of comparatively obscure groups:
The majority of these are uncommon both in trade and in gardens.
Modern roses that are common plants of the 20th century include grandifloras, floribundas and hybrid teas. These flowers were created by crossing the European roses with Teas, Chinas, Mediterranean and European types as well as a variety of rose species all through the 1700s and 1800s. It always interested the breeders as well as the common public to create new roses that bloomed repeatedly throughout the season, in addition to being sufficiently resilient to be able to endure the cold winter months in southern as well as middle Europe, especially England. The new roses they developed usually produced blooms that were white, buff, red, pink, purple, striped, spotted or even in two color blends.
Most of the roses that are sold at the florist shop are usually hybrid tea varieties. In fact, these roses are the typical representation of roses. The large flowers, usually measuring a maximum of 6 inches in diameter, are produced throughout the season. One such bloom appears on each stem that is quite long and suitable for making cuttings. Normally, these blooms have a brief life when they are cut for decorating the house, but you can treat them to last for a complete weekend even in unfavourable conditions and displayed successfully at rose shows. The blooms of hybrid teas bloom gracefully with a pointed center and the petals spread out in layers when the bud opens. Aesthetically, the blooms are at their best when they are just about half to three-fourth open, while the center is still tight and remains closed, eventually the petals furl out and blossom appearing dewy fresh and vivacious.
The blooms of modern roses also come in a variety of colors including whites, yellows, reds, russets, pinks, oranges, mauves and any other hue that blend with one another. Modern roses like floribundas, grandifloras and hybrid teas also come in bicolors, striped, with different colors inside and outside the petals, freckled or even spotted. Some of them may have one color splattered on another, especially on the margins of the petals. Breeders first introduced the hybrid teas towards the end of the 1860s and they soon became the rose that was a must in all gardens.
On the other hand, floribundas are bushier, hardy roses with relatively smaller flowers that are usually found in clusters. The flowers of floribundas may come in different shapes - similar to the old garden roses or hybrid teas. They may be shaped like dishes, cupped, high centered and occasionally even similar to pompoms.
A number of floribundas produces only one flower on each stem. However, usually these flowers appear in the form of floret clusters, which makes these plants perfect for use in landscaped gardens. Floribunda blooms also have a great variety of colors - something similar to that of hybrid teas. Floribundas were bred for the first time during the 1920s hybridizing crosses of polyanthas, a plant with wiry stems and bearing clusters of small roses, and hybrid teas. "Margo Koster" and "Mlle. Cecile Brunner" are two examples of polyanthas. Meanwhile, grandifloras were developed by crossing floribundas and hybrid teas. In fact, grandifloras are a result of rose breeders' desire to develop plant bearing larger flowers on a bush, which would not only produce one flower on each stem, but also yield floret clusters on long stems - making them ideal for use as cuttings.
Incidentally, grandifloras have received all the good characteristics of the plants from which they were developed. While they inherited their wonderful stem length and form from the hybrid teas, the floribundas passed on the large, dynamic and repetitive blooms to this class of roses.
In 1867, botanists began the modern classification of roses and since then, hybridizers have developed several new varieties as well as classes of modern roses, thereby enlarging the color range to vivid hues, bicolors, blends and, at the same time, bringing in an increasing number of recurrently blooming rose varieties. While a number of old garden roses do bloom repeatedly, for instance the "Autumn Damask" that blooms twice every season, the rose growers only became aware of the real continual recurring roses only when the tea roses and China roses were introduced to Europe from East Asia. Over the years, breeders have created modern roses that have inherited the summer-long blooming attributes.
Modern roses include: