A brief history of historic roses

Comparatively few of the hundred or more rose species found in the wild have contributed to the make up of present-day garden roses. The principal parent species are: Rosa gallica Rosa moschata Rosa fetschenkoana Rosa canina Rosa chinensis Rosa gigantea Rosa foetida  Rosa multiflora.  Significant sub-groups derived from Rosa arvensis Rosa pimpinellifolia Rosa wichurana  Rosa […]

Ellen Wilmott

Trailblazing women in roses

It’s well known that some of the most famous old roses were named in women’s honour, but women have also been trailblazers as collectors of roses and other plants.

AGM 2019

This year the HRG AGM will be held in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Edgbaston, starting at 10am for 10.30am on Thursday 3rd October.

Scots roses 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 […]

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 […]

Old Blush China rose

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’. Later the name came to refer to two of Hurst’s Stud Chinas, ‘Old Blush’ syn. ‘Parson’s Pink’, […]

Antoine Jacques 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 19th-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 […]

centifolia rose

My Favourite Roses by Graham Stuart Thomas

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.
“Would Jove appoint some flower to reign
In matchless beauty on the plain…

rose du roi portland rose

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 […]

blush noisette rose

Repeat flowering old roses part II 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 be a pink China rose was depicted by the Florentine painter Angelo Bronzino, but as far as anyone knows it […]