Roses can be used in the garden in numerous ways to provide impact and interest. Climbers are used to add a romantic and colourful touch to the garden by clothing walls, fences and buildings. They are also used to add height to a garden, to climb through old trees or to screen unsightly views or structures. Some varieties also add interest with attractive foliage and colourful display of hips in autumn. Standards and weepers are often used as architectural statements or to formalise a design. Miniatures are used to edge garden beds, as ground covers, spill down embankments and retaining walls or as massed specimens.

Old garden roses are those that were in existence before 1867 (when the Hybrid Tea rose ‘La France’ was introduced). After a long period of displacement with hybrid roses, old world roses are once again in favour, notably for their scent (often lacking in the hybrids) and their simple beauty. Wild or species roses are the parents of the myriad garden varieties that we grow today.


China roses were the start of the development of modern day roses, as these roses were perpetual flowering and were bright and showy. Through breeding with the old roses the Bourbons rose and hybrid Perpetuals became available which gave gardens brightly coloured roses of yellows, oranges, flame apricot and cream. 

Well known roses in this group include: ‘Old Blush China’, ‘Little White Pet’, ‘Slater’s Crimson China’, ‘Cecile Brunner’ and ‘Bloomfield Abundance’.

Modern Roses

The most popular roses grown today are ones created and selected through breeding programs since the nineteenth century.
The hybrid perpetual rose became the favourite rose during the mid 1850’s and was often referred to as the ‘Rose of England’.  The two rose types (Hybrid and Perpetual) were not known as separate species until 1884 and then began to achieve some popularity as bedding plants (roses were adapted through pegging to achieve this). Hybrid Perpetual roses were derived from a Portland x China hybrid ‘Rose du Roi’ of 1816. This rose was then crossed with Bourbon and China varieties giving rise to thousands of vigorous, repeat flowering varieties.  By the end of the 1900s the production of new Hybrid Perpetual roses declined. 

Hybrid Tea roses (also known as Large Flowered roses) were the last of the major nineteenth century groups to evolve; they remain a most important group today. In around 1884 Hybrid Tea roses were finally recognised as being a separate class. The first member of the class was ‘La France’, a cross between a Hybrid Perpetual (‘Madame Victor Verdier’) and a Tea rose, (‘Madame Bravy’) – it was raised by Guillot in 1867. The first members of the Hybrid Tea class were almost sterile making cross breeding difficult. Later fertile Hybrid Teas were bred and from these many new varieties emerged. In the 20th century breeding programs progressed and produced roses with a diverse range of colours and form and improved health. 

The Floribunda (Cluster Flowered) rose is the result of marrying a Hybrid Tea with the Hybrid Polyantha rose.

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