This week the rugosas are taking a back seat as many other roses are taking center stage. As each of them bloom, is is like seeing old friends and many of them ARE old. They have been in my garden for a long time and they have been in the garden world a long, long, long time.
Meet some of the “oldest” roses in my garden.
Rosa Mundi (Gallica)
Gallicas are the oldest of the garden roses, having been grown by the Greeks and Romans! Gallicas are spring blooming shrubs with wonderfully fragrant blooms of pink, red and even some purples. My favorite Gallica is Rosa Mundi …. the earliest known stripped rose that dates back to the 1500s.
Legend has it that Rosa Mundi was named after Fair Rosa- mund, a mistress of Henry II, England’s monarch from 1154 to 1189. In The Book of Old Roses, Trevor Griffiths tells the story of their tragic affair. Henry was forced to marry a princess who, brooking no competition, is said to have murdered the lovely Rosamund. By Henry’s order, Rosamund was buried at Godstow Nunnery near Oxford, England, and each year on the anniversary of her death, he ordered her tomb to be decorated with masses of Rosa Mundi. My good friend Ann Chapman says that’s not the way it went down. For the rest of the story, check out Ann’s fascinating book… Women in my Rose Garden here. You can follow Ann on Facebook here.
Damask roses are very old, having been grown in Biblical times. They are known for their distinctive, rich damask perfume and beautiful pink or white blooms. My favorite Damask rose is Madam Hardy … amazingly fragrant white blooms with a unique green eye. Madam Hardy was named for the wife of Empress Josephine’s head gardener … Mr. Hardy. 🙂
I have had this rose in my garden for more than 20 years and hope to never be without it. A profuse one-time blooming Damask rose. Stunning and over the top fragrance. She never lets the winters bother her in this Zone 5b garden.
This semi-double Damask has more charm and fragrance than the law allows … so don’t tell anyone I have her! LOL This one-time bloomer has been charming rose lovers since before 1750! That’s staying power! I love the “flouncy” growth habit of this rose. I love the way it looks against the herb garden fence.
Queen of Bourbon (Bourbon)
Bourbons were the roses of Victorian England. They produce beautiful, large, full old rose blooms on vigorous growing bushes with blooms of wonderful, heady fragrance. Many Bourbons repeat bloom. One of my favorite bourbons is the Queen of bourbon although it does not repeat bloom for me.
However, when she blooms, she blooms and I can’t wait to say to her, “welcome back, I’ve missed you.”
Les Reine de Violettes (Hybrid Perpetual)
These roses were developed as hardy garden plants between 1840 and 1900, by crossing the Portland, Bourbon and Gallica roses and were mostly used as cut flowers. My favorite Hybrid Perpetual is Reine Des Violettes (Queen of Violettes). Lovely, lovely, lovely. She is doing great this year but some years she is “attracted” to Black Spot so it pays to keep a watchful eye on her.