Damask Roses and Bourbon Roses

Old Garden Roses

The old garden species and their varieties do not as a rule require much pruning. When flowering is over some of the old growths should be removed, and this will encourage strong basal gross the which can be cut b ck by a third to lessen wind damage. The albas in particular put up with some neglect and need pruning only occasionally. Most gallicas (derivatives of the ancient R. gallica, the French red rose) are naturally compact. Centifolias, damasks, and moss roses can have side shoots shortened to two or three buds in February, and new growths can be reduced to one third of their length.

This will result in fewer but better flowers and the plants as a whole will be more compact.


Damask Roses

R. damascena, the damask rose, is so-called owing to the tradition that Crusaders introduced it to Europe from Damascus. Its fragrance is celebrated and some varieties are used for making the scent known as attar of roses. The following are popular varieties.

'Celsiana' Damask Roses ‘Celsiana’, 1.5 m (5 ft). This beautiful old rose, known for more than 200 years, is a graceful shrub with grey-green, scented foliage. The large, fragrant, semi-double flowers are produced in clusters of bright dog-rose pink, fading to blush-pink.

‘Ispahan’, 1.5 m (5 ft). A vigorous upright grower which makes a valuable garden plant because of its good growth and long flowering season. A clear, warm, rose-pink in colour, the blooms last well when cut.

‘Kazanluk’, 1.8 m (6 ft). A variety which takes its name from the Bulgarian town and district where this rose is used for the production of attar of roses. The full, heavily quartered blooms are rich rose-pink and have a glorious perfume.

‘Mme Hardy’, 1.8 m (6 ft). A rose of superb beauty, regarded by many lovers of old roses as having no peer. The flowers, which open creamy white, become pure white with a green eye. With its profusion of dark green leaves and the fresh lemon scent of its flowers, it should have a place in any collection of old garden roses.

‘Versicolor’, 1.5 m (5 ft). An interesting rose, known traditionally by many as the ‘York and Lancaster’, it requires good soil and cool conditions. The flowers are bluish white and light pink, sometimes either one colour or the other, and sometimes parti-coloured. It is often confused with the well-known striped sport of Rosa gallica officinalis, also called ‘Versicolor’, which in my view is a much more useful garden plant.


Bourbon Roses

The Bourbons were derived in the 19th century from crosses between the China and damask roses. In appearance they are like vigorous ‘old’ roses and retain much of their floral charm.

‘Boule de Neige’, 1.5 m (5 ft). A vigorous erect shrub, with rich, double, scented, creamy white flowers which reflex into a ball shape. Recurrent flowering during the summer. One of the. Best roses in this group.

‘Commandant Beaurepaire’, 1.5 m (5 ft). A free-flowering shrub, it is apt to make a thick bush, so it requires careful pruning. The large double flowers of deep purple-crimson are streaked with lighter pink, but arc rather variable. When in full bloom in late June this is one of the most spectacular of striped roses.

‘Gipsy Boy’ (Zigeuner Knabe), 2 m (6 ft) or more. A very vigorous shrub or pillar rose which can be allowed to grow up an old tree for support. The semi-double flowers are a bright purple-crimson that deepens as they mature. Freely produced but no recurrent bloom. Large orange-red hips follow. Extremely thorny.

‘Honorine de Brabant’, 2 m (6 ft). A fine vigorous shrub. The loosely cupped blooms are pale pink splashed irregularly with purplish crimson. Seldom out of flower and fruitily scented.

‘La Reine Victoria’, 2 m (6 ft). A shrub of erect, narrow growth and medium vigour, continuously in flower during the season. The blooms are renowned for their exquisite cup-like shape, rich fragrance, and warm rose pink colouring. May suffer from black spot. This variety has achieved fame as the parent of ‘Mme Pierre Oger’.

‘Louise Odier’, 2 m (6 ft). A vigorous, branching shrub which recurrently produces its double, round flowers of soft, warm pink in profusion. A valuable rose with old-world perfection of form, beautiful fragrance, good foliage, and a continuous succession of flowers.

‘Mme Isaac Pereire’, 2.4 m (8 ft). A vigorous shrub suitable for training to a pillar or a wall. The very large, full-double flowers are deep rose-pink with purple shades and arc renowned for their fragrance. The blooms are produced in intermittent bursts, and are particularly fine in autumn. A most effective garden plant.

‘Mme Lauriol de Barny’, 1.5 m (5 ft) or more. This is one of the finest of the Bourbon group. The lame, double flowers of silvery, pale purplish pink are quartered when fully open and have a strong, fruity scent. It does not recur much, but compensates by the richness and abundance of its main performance.

‘Mme Pierre Oger’, 1.5 m (5 ft). This popular favourite originated in 1878 as a silvery pink sport of la Reine Victoria’. Its colour varies somewhat according to the weather, but it has all the good qualities of its parent, a rich fragrance, and a dainty form.

'Souvenir de la Malmaison' Bourbon Roses ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’, 3 m (10 ft). A vigorous shrub which requires the support of a pillar; the bush form is seldom seen. The large blooms are pale blush pink, fading as they age and becoming flat and quartered. Very fragrant. Generally produced in two crops beginning about midsummer, with flowers of better quality in September.

‘Variegata di Bologna’, 1.5 m (5 ft). A vigorous shrub if grown in good soil. The rounded, somewhat globular flowers are white, neatly striped with carmine-purple. Recurrent in bloom and free enough to create a spectacle. It may require protection against black spot.

‘Zéphirine Drouhin’, 3 m (10 ft). A vigorous shrub which can be allowed to grow naturally as a climber or, if pruned heavily, as a shrub or hedge. Possibly the most familiar of the Bourbons, it is popularly known as the Thornless Rose. The semi-double flowers are bright cerise-carmine and have a strong fruity fragrance. Very free flowering and continuous if dead headed frequently. (A sport, ‘Kathleen Harrap’, appeals to some rosarians because of its pleasing light pink flowers, but it lacks vigour.) Somewhat susceptible to mildew and black spot.


10. March 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Roses | Tags: , | Comments Off on Damask Roses and Bourbon Roses


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