Polyanthas

Polyantha roses derive from a Chinese climbing rose called Rosa multiflora (multiflora means many-flowered in Latin, and polyantha same in Greek). Hybrids between this white, many-flowered species and the hardy, bushy China roses gave rise to cultivated climbers in various shades of white, cream and pink. The first Polyantha roses were open-pollinated seedlings of these climbers, but […]

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Hybrid Teas

  Hybrid Tea roses were introduced by crossing the tender, ever-blooming Tea roses with the hardier Hybrid Perpetuals to produce a range of hardy, free-flowering garden plants. The first recognised Hybrid Tea was a chance seedling called ‘La France’, introduced in 1867. Their superiority was immediately obvious, especially when their colour range was extended early in […]

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Hybrid Perpetuals

Hybrid Perpetual roses were mostly developed as hardy garden plants between 1840 and 1900, by crossing the Portland, Bourbon and Gallica roses. Most had very large, sweet-scented flowers in shades of pink or red, borne on long arching stems. In Victorian gardens it became common practice to ‘peg down’ these stems to encourage flowers along […]

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Teas

  Tea roses were developed, mainly by French nurserymen, from about 1830 onwards, by crossing some of the more tender roses that had been imported from southern China. These were hybrids between the hardy R. chinensis and subtropical R. gigantea, and originally described as ‘Tea Scented Roses’ because their fragrance is reminiscent of the smell of fresh China […]

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Noisettes

Noisette roses are named after the French nurserymen Louis and Philippe Noisette. Briefly, the story runs: Louis in Paris sent an ‘Old Blush’ China rose to his brother Philippe in South Carolina in about 1802. Philippe gave ‘Old Blush’ to his neighbour, a farmer called John Champneys. On his farm it chanced to cross with Rosa […]

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Bourbons

Bourbon roses are a group of hybrids originating from a chance cross between a form of ‘Autumn Damask’ and the ‘Old Blush’ China rose which occurred in about 1817 on the Île de Bourbon (now Réunion) in the Indian Ocean. When it was introduced to France two years later it was used to produce further […]

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Rugosas

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 […]

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Chinas

Roses had been developed in China for hundreds of years before that country began to open its borders to English trade. China roses were developed largely from Rosa chinensis, a native of China that grows as a vigorous once-flowering climber but had produced in cultivation a number of short, bushy ‘sports’ that flowered almost continuously. The […]

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Portlands

Portland roses are a small group of hybrids derived from a rose named after a plant-collecting Duchess of Portland around 1780. The original is bright red, and flowers every six weeks or so through summer and autumn. Once thought to contain ‘China blood’, it has now been conclusively established by DNA analysis that they are […]

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Mosses

Moss roses appeared towards the end of the 17th century, when a ‘sport’ from the Centifolia rose was found with interesting ‘mossy’ characteristics. This became known as R. muscosa. The flower stem, calyx and sepals are covered in small, slightly sticky glandular structures that resemble moss, but have a scent of pine-leaves when touched. A […]

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