Old Fashioned Roses. Gallicas, Hybrid Perpetual, and Bourbon

Old Fashioned (or Heirloom) Roses

Around 1820 was the time that crosses between European and China roses began. This was the beginning of a whole new era in roses - my favorite! Prior to this time, roses from the west had a short single bloom in summer, and a limited color range. The Oriental roses on the other hand were repeat flowering, with more colors, but tended to be less hardy in the colder European climate.

So began the period of crosses between the varieties - breeders of the time were looking for a hardy, repeat flowering rose. Also missing, was a true deep yellow...although it was still another 60 odd years until a good yellow was produced. The following is a few of the well known types that were produced from 1820-1900 (approx).

Repeat Blooming Roses

Cross a single bloom rose, with a repeat bloomer, and what do you get? Actually, you get another single blooming rose. But cross that back with repeat blooming varieties, and you begin to see more repeat varieties ...that was the start of what I consider the "golden age" of rose breeding. Never before (or since) have so much rose breeding taken place, particularly by the French.

Bourbon Rose

The original "old fashioned rose". This variety started as a chance cross between a China rose, Parsons' Pink', and the red 'Monthly Rose' (the original Damask Perpetual). The Bourbons combined repeat flowering with good fragrance, and improved vigour.

Hybrid Perpetual

These began to come onto the scene around 1830. The hybrid chinas, noisettes etc, were crossed with what was the hardiest rose of the time - the Damask Perpetuals. And so was born the Hybrid perpetual. At first, the color range was from a bluish white through to darkest red, but a true white, and deep yellow still eluded breeders.

A great French hybrid is the Jacques Cartier rose, released in the 1800s.

R. hemisphorica was known since the 1600s, and is the only known old rose with true deep yellow blooms. However, it was extremely difficult to cultivate)

Gallica

Tuscany Superb rose
Gallica rose

The rose pictured on the left is "Tuscany Superb", a lovely maroon Gallica. I have conflicting years as its breeding date. 1848 or pre 1837?? Take your pick!
The picture on the right is "Duchesse D'Angouleme", two examples of the beauty of Gallicas.

Old Hybrid Teas

The first Hybrid Teas began to appear after about 1860. It occured to breeders that to achieve some of the results they were looking for (more shapely blooms, maybe even a pure white or deep yellow), a cross between the Tea roses and the Hybrid perpetuals might yield results.

Yes, they may lose some hardiness, but they may gain something different to what they had up until that time. And so it proved to be. The first of the Hybrid Teas tended to be a little sickly,and had a few problems such as nodding flowers, but it was the beginning of the rose we see today!


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