The Bourbon rose is the name for a group of antique old garden roses that were first bred back in the 1800s. Find out more about them.
The Bourbon roseis a combination of a China and Damask roses. This resulted in a variety that had many of the great quality of both of those types. It had the great fragrance of the damask with the repeated blooming of the Chinas. This led to their popularity in the mid-1800s. They fell out of favor toward the end of the century, and very few new varieties have been created since then.
The name does not refer to whiskey in this case! Rather, it was named for the island of Bourbon where they were first discovered, although this island is now called Reunion.
Today, they are grown mostly by old and antique rose growers. They are a tougher plant for a newbie to work with. They can be very susceptible to blackspot and diseases. They are rated for zones 5-10 but they are notoriously finicky, although many gardeners in the Pacific Northwest have had luck with them. They are commonly found as hedges but can be trained as climbers as well. Like most old roses, they are beautifully scented!