Introduction to Growing Roses and Rose Types
Introduction to Growing Roses
Roses, by tradition England’s national, have many qualities which will give pleasure to those who grow them. I know of no other group of plants so diverse in character, which are so easily grown and can be used in so many different ways. Myths are bound to arise around plants so long cultivated in gardens as the rose, but nowadays the myth, or fallacy if you prefer it, that will grow only on heavy clay soils has been largely disproved. Fortunately for their many admirers, we know now that roses can be grown on most soils, especially if they are well drained and given good cultivation.
Few prospective rose growers are fortunate enough to have any choice in siting their garden. In general, other considerations have to be given priority, such as convenience of area and type of house. Even the Royal National Rose Society, when it moved to St Albans in Hertfordshire, had to give preference to staff availability and local amenities. The garden there is basically a gravel bed, or partly so, and is apt to drain too quickly in summer. However, in spite of this, attention to good cultivation, with some enrichment of the soil before planting, has done much to ensure good results.
Many experienced growers, as well as less experienced and prospective ones, can get much pleasure and information from visits to private and public gardens where roses are a feature. This can be augmented by visiting commercial establishments where roses are a speciality, particularly if these arc in easy reach and on similar soil. Varieties you favour can be assessed for performance in those nurseries where a display garden of established roses can be seen. Such visits are invaluable, and will be of even more benefit if they are made when preparatory work is being done.
Commercial growers who have to earn their living from their roses, are likely to select land particularly suitable for the production of a valuable crop. Even so, of the many growers I know, all of them cultivate deeply, incorporating farmyard manure, which is supplemented when necessary by suitable proprietary fertilizers. I follow similar methods myself, but use a spade rather than a cultivator.
There is an enormous range of roses of different kinds that are suitable for growing in the average garden. It may be helpful at this point, then, to say a few words about classification and about. Roses belong to the genus Rosa, which is a member of the great family Rosaceae that includes many other plants, notably many of our favourite fruits.
All the roses we grow in our gardens derive ultimately from wild-growing species. Some of these arc native to Britain, but many more have been introduced to this country from distant parts of the world; those native to the Far East, for instance, have been especially important in the development of modern types. The term ‘species roses’ is applied both to these roses and to their near hybrids — roses that have developed as the result of a cross between two wild-growing species.
One of the most important of the olderis the group known as ‘old roses’, or ‘old garden roses’. These are the result of the work of rose breeders, who developed them from sports (chance variants, or mutants) or from hybrids of species roses. The group includes traditional favourites such as albas, Bourbons, China roses, tea roses, gallicas, damasks, hybrid perpetuals, hybrid sweetbriars, Scotch roses, dwarf polyanthas, rugosas, moss roses, and cabbage roses.
Today the two most popular types of garden roses are the hybrid teas and the floribundas. The hybrid teas originated in France towards the end of the 9th century as a result of crossing two of the most popular old garden roses, hybrid perpetuals and tea roses. Floribundas arose from crossing hybrid teas and dwarf polyanthas. Two other popular types areand the modern .
Finally, descriptions of roses in this site often refer to single, semi-double, and double flowers. These terms refer to the number and arrangement of the petals in each flower. A ‘single’ rose flower has less than eight petals; most species roses are singles. A ‘semi-double’ flower has from eight to 20 petals. A ‘double’ has more than 20 petals.
I hope this site may prove an incentive to those who have not grown roses before, and will provide the more experienced with some new ideas.