Monday, 26 August 2013

The Rose Garden - Choosing the Rose i

So which rose to choose for The Rose Garden?

Preliminary research into roses, their types and species proves to be a fairly complicated and confusing exercise. There are Floribundas, Grandifloras, Hybrid Teas, Climbers, Ramblers, Bush and Shrubs, Classic, Old, Modern. 

It seems, though, that there are 3 main classifications; bush, climbing, and shrub.

Bush roses are self supporting and bear flowers primarily at the top of the plant. Plant heights vary from a few inches to 6 feet. Bush roses are further divided into groups by their growth and flowering habits.

Hybrid teas are the most popular type of rose today. Most feature attractive, long, pointed buds and large, fragrant flowers that are well formed and symmetrical. Hybrid teas grow from 2 1/2 to 6 feet tall and generally bloom continually through the growing season. Flowers are usually borne singly on long, strong stems which makes them desirable for cutting. Flowers are nearly always double and come in all colours except true blue. Most hybrid teas are vigorous, and although not fully winter hardy they can be brought through most winters with protection.

Floribunda roses, as the name implies, flower abundantly, bearing clusters of single to fully double flowers which resemble small hybrid teas. They are increasing in popularity due to their profuse blooming and lower maintenance requirements. Floribundas are useful in landscape planting where masses of color are desired. Plant size usually does not exceed 4 feet. Floribundas also can be used for cut flowers.

Grandiflora roses are the result of crosses between hybrid teas and floribundas. Small clusters of large flowers are borne on long stems. The tall plants (up to 6 feet) flower more freely than hybrid teas but less than floribundas. Grandifloras are useful in the landscape, especially as background plants, as well as for cut flowers. All are grafted. Polyantha rose flowers are smaller than those of the grandiflora and are borne in large clusters. Greater winter hardiness allows polyanthas to be grown where hybrid teas are difficult to maintain. These low growing roses are excellent for mass plantings and edging. 

Climbing roses are extremely vigorous plants with long canes (branches) that require support. Canes can be trained to a trellis or fence or allowed to sprawl as a cover. Canes may range in size from 5 to 20+ feet depending on the type of rose and how they are supported and maintained. Some are grafted, while some are grown on their own roots. Climbing roses are also subdivided into groups based on flowering and growth habit - Everblooming, Climber and Trailer

Our early thoughts  threw up some basic requirements.
We imagined our Rose would be white and preferably  as close to bone china as possible.
We wanted an "old" rose type - that is to say not the sort we associate with Valentine's day, but the more  full bodied or clustered rose such as this Alba Maxima.  Described as "old", these are the true old roses of early European origin. They flower only once in the summer, but then provide a magnificent display. 
Old roses are extremely tough, living almost indefinitely, requiring little pruning. This is essential for this particular space, because, as we have seen with the Rose Garden site, there will inevitably be times when the site sees little management. 

Finally, we wanted a rose with a fragrance, to fill the Rose Garden with a scent which would drift outwards and entice people in. The "old" type roses  are renowned for their wonderful fragrances. 

So our ideal "Spode China Rose" would be:

  1. An "old" type rose to reflect longevity and hardiness
  2. as white as possible to represent fine bone china
  3. fragrant, to spread the word far and wide
The next step will be to find a rose breeder to see if it's possible to get close to our 3 characteristics. White, Old and Fragrant.

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