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Articles taken from the Historic Rose Journal

Past issues of the Group’s magazine have included the following articles which you can read online by clicking the title :

Graham Stuart Thomas

My Favourite Roses

Peter Beales

Singing the Blues

David Austin

The Character of the English Rose

Peter Harkness

Repeat-flowering old roses

Francois Joyaux

The First Gallicas

Barbara Tchertoff

Antoine Jacques – Head Gardener to Louis Philippe

Martyn Rix

China Roses

Robert Calkin

The Fragrance of Roses

Sarah Coles

Roses and Religion

Peter A Boyd

Scots Roses

Brigid Quest-Ritson

Striped Roses

Opening paragraphs from each article are shown below to provide an brief insight to the article content with a link to the complete article

For copyright reasons none of the colour photos (usually 25-30 per issue) which originally illustrated the articles have been reproduced here

Selecting Roses for Climate Change

Text from the Historic Roses Group Exhibit at Chelsea 2008

Rose species have been on the planet for some 35 million years, enduring many climate changes and successfully adapting to a range of extreme climatic conditions.

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'The fragrance of Old Roses' by Robert Calkin

Part of our fascination with roses stems from their extraordinary variety. No other group of plants in horticulture seems capable of producing such an array of wonderful colours and forms. Yet what is sometimes overlooked is that this applies equally to the diversity of their fragrance.

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'The First Gallicas raised in France 1804-1815' by François Joyaux

Up to the end of the 18th century the gallica garden varieties seem scarcely to have been appreciated in France. Botanists were only interested in Rosa gallica , named thus by Linnacus in 1759 because a specimen had been sent to him from France.

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'The Character of the English Rose' by David Austin

Just  after the war, I bought a bush of the Rosa pimpinellifolia hybrid ‘Stanwell Perpetual’. A chance cross with a Portland rose, it had the unique quality within its group of being repeat flowering. Its most striking features were its double soft pink flowers of old rose appearance and its delicious fragrance.

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'Striped Roses' by Brigid Quest-Ritson

Striped roses? Well, we all know ‘Rosa Mundi’ ( more properly called Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’), and ‘Honorine de Brabant’, and ‘Ferdinand Pichard’ of course, and perhaps ‘Commandant Beaurepaire’ too, (was he as flamboyant as his rose?). But there were many more in their heyday, and some are still grown in those great rose collections at Sangerhausen, L’Haÿ-les-Roses and Cavr

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'Singing the Blues' by Peter Beales

Metaphorically ‘blue blood’ does not run freely in the veins of roses, but this has not deterred rose breeders over the years from seeking out the elusive blue gene, in the quest to provide us with a blue rose. Why I really do not know, for personally I have no great desire for a sky-blue or navy blue rose. While I admit that I have never tried for a blue rose myself in my own modest hybridising activities, I did have the privilege of working with that great man of roses, the late Edward Le Grice in the early to mid 1950’s.

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'Scots Roses: a new look at an exuberant group' by Peter D. A. Boyd

Scots Roses are “cheerful” little roses. They have a special character that is very appealing and to those who make their acquaintance, they are a delight and may become a passion! Although the individual flowers are only about 5cm (2 inches) across, they are usually produced in such profusion that a single shrub can provide significant visual “impact” and a halo of perfume.

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'Roses and Religion' by Sarah Coles

Legends accrued to the rose long before it became overlaid with Christian imagery. According to a Persian legend, the nightingale fell in love with the white rose and flew down to embrace it. But she pierced her breast upon its sharp thorns, and from the drops of blood falling on earth grew the first deep crimson rose.

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'Repeat-flowering old roses - Part II : The Chinas' by Peter Harkness

The true heralds of the age of repeat-flowering roses are the Chinas. And by now the story has moved well into their era. Indeed, as early as 1529 what, according to Graham Thomas, appears to a pink China rose was depicted by the Florentine painter Angelo Bronzino, but as far as anyone knows it played no part in the development of modem roses.

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'Repeat-flowering old roses - Part I' by Peter Harkness

Much ink and many words have gone into defining the term “repeat-flowering”. For my purpose I take it to cover any rose that can be depended on in a normal season to bear blooms in summer and in autumn. Today we take such behaviour in a rose for granted, but in terms of rose history it is not so long ago since things were very different.

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'My Life in Roses' by Peter Harkness

It didn’t begin in roses. My father was a civil servant and had been posted to Dublin in those days before the First World War when Ireland was governed from Whitehall. He met my mother at a cricket match, where she was the scorer for the opposing team. Dad must have been on form that day, because they started courting and got married in London when he was on leave from France in 1917. Within five years he and Olive were blessed with two boys, Jack and Austin, and a daughter Betty. It was probably a shock when, eight years later, they found I was on the way.

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'My Favourite Roses' by Graham Stuart Thomas

Would Jove appoint some flower to reign
In matchless beauty on the plain,
The rose (mankind will all agree)
The Rose the Queen of Flowers should be.

In his book of 1894, The book of the Rose , A. Foster-Melliar attributed this verse to Sappho, a Greek poetess who was born about 600 BC. But even older, is the flower so favoured by us all.

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'China Roses' by Martyn Rix

The name Rosa chinensis was given by Jacquin to a cultivated Chinese rose in 1768. Jacquin’s drawing is very feeble, showing a single stem and a bud, but with the characteristic small, acuminate leaflets, and close to ‘Semperflorens’.

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'Antoine Jacques - Head Gardener to Louis-Philippe Part II by Barbara Tchertoff

The first part of this article traced the history of a unique collaboration between two gifted men, both passionate plant-lovers – one, a nineteenth century king of France, immensely rich and willing to spend a fortune on restoring his domains covering over 70,000 hectares (about 175,000 acres), the other a talented gardener in charge of the three most precious royal estates.

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'Antoine Jacques - Head Gardener to Louis-Philippe Part I' by Barbara Tchertoff

On a warm summer’s day on the 16th June 1830, the Board Room of the Horticultural Society in Paris was filled with roses and perennial plants. Antoine Jacques, the distinguished Head Gardener to the Duke of Orleans (who was to become King of France within the next few weeks), was displaying to his colleagues his latest treasures recently raised at the Chateau of Neuilly on the banks of the Seine near Paris.

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