Old Roses
William Lobb
These are the true old roses of early European origin. They flower only once in the summer, but then provide us with a magnificent display. They are extremely tough, living almost indefinitely, and have wonderful fragrances.

Old roses require little pruning. This should take the form of the thinning out of weak and old growth. For larger flowers, the remaining growth may be reduced by one third, if desired. They are excellent garden shrubs.
Gallicas
Charles de Mills
The Gallicas are probably the oldest of all garden roses. They were grown by the Greeks and Romans.

In the 17th century the Dutch started to breed new varieties, and later the French continued their development on a very large scale. Among them are to be found some very fine roses with magnificent mixtures of color - particularly among the crimson, purple and mauve shades - and they have beautiful flower formation.

They form short bushy shrubs, many of which are quite suitable for small gardens.
Damasks
Celsiana
Damask roses are another very old group, said to have originally been brought from the Middle East by the Crusaders.

They usually have pleasing elegant growth, with nicely cut foliage and flowers held in open airy bunches.

Nearly all of these varieties are fragrant.

Albas
Alba Maxima
This class dates back to the Middle Ages. Their flowers are restricted to pink, blush and white, but they have a delicate beauty and are set off to perfection by grey-green foliage.

Albas are among the hardiest of roses, requiring the minimum of attention and thriving under the most difficult conditions. They withstand partial shade better than most roses.

They are almost completely disease free. Little pruning is required.

Centifolias
Fantin-Latour
The Centifolias form lax, open shrubs with many thorns and rather coarse leaves.

Generally the flowers are large, globular and very fragrant. They have a tendency to hang their heads with the weight of the blooms, creating a pleasing effect.

Centifolias are often known as 'The Provence Roses'.
Portland Roses
Rose de Rescht
A small but attractive group that was popular for a few years before the arrival of the bourbon roses.

They are particularly valuable because they repeat flower well, while remaining very close to old roses in flower, foliage and fragrance.

Portland roses are useful for small gardens.

China Roses
Cecile Brunner
These are pretty roses that flower with constant regularity throughout the season.

They form twiggy bushes and are best grown in a sunny spot around the garden or in the front of borders. They are not recommended for shade as plenty of sunshine is required for them to perform to their full potential.

The foliage is similar to modern roses but smaller and more dainty. They have their own pleasant fragrance. Minimal pruning is recommended.
Moss Roses
William Lobb
Moss roses are in fact centifolias that have developed a moss-like growth on the sepals of their flowers. This was the result of a sport or mutation.

It frequently gives them an added attraction, particularly in the opening bud.

They were at the height of their popularity in Victorian times.

Bourbon and Hybrid Perpetual Roses
Mme Isaac Pereire
The bourbons and hybrid perpetuals form the link between the true old roses and the modern hybrid teas.

They have flowers of old rose shape and fragrance, together with some ability to repeat flower.

These roses have been largely superseded by the English Roses, although true old rose enthusiasts will still wish to grow them. They are nearly all very fragrant.

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25 April 2014