Fossil records suggest these are amongst the oldest roses on the planet – dating from at least 30 million years ago. They are very hardy, need little attention and flower repeatedly. The species comes from Japan, Northern China and Korea. It – and its many forms – are very widely grown, and deservedly so. The species reached Europe in the late eighteenth century but was little used until the late nineteenth century, when French, German and American breeders began to hybridise it. Cultivars introduced then, such as ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’, 1892 and ‘Roseraie de l’Haÿ’, 1901 (shown here), are still very popular today. In recent years, these strongly scented and tough roses have also been used to breed roses for cold climates and for landscaping.