The rose (Rosa spp.) , the “queen of the flowers,” has been in existence for thousands of years. The classes of roses abound, however, the three main categories are Species Roses, Modern Roses and Old Garden Roses (OGRs). OGRs are roses dating before 1867 and before the coming of the hybrid tea rose, LaFrance. Most are incredibly hardy and aromatic roses.
Gallica roses (Rosa galllica) are one of the oldest rose classes. They’re little bushy plants with deep, dark green foliage. Gallica roses grow 3 to 9 feet tall and come in red, pink, purple and striped blooms. Extremely fragrant, these roses earned the name “Mad Gallica” because of the intense colour and fragrance. They’re once and heavy bloomers. Two common varieties are the Rosa Mundi and Apothecary’s Rose. The Rosa Mundi is pink striped and the Apothecary’s Rose is deep pink to red. They grow best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3b through 8b.
Damask roses (Rosa damascena) originated in early times. Because of their distinct powerful odor, the flowers are used for making perfume. Damask roses are white, pink or red and foliage is light green. They have an arch when growing, therefore some varieties might require staking. The Leda climbed is a small, compact rose that grows to 3 feet tall. Flowers blossom white with crimson edges in the spring, however, when pruned after flowering, it might bloom again in the autumn. The Celsiana climbed grows to 6 feet tall and produces delicate, light pink flowers with a strong fragrance. It blooms once in the spring. Both varieties grow in USDA zones 4b to 9b.
Alba roses (Rosa alba) are tall and shrubby roses you are able to train to grow as climbers, with some varieties reaching 9 feet tall. Flowers are white to blush pink with gray-blue foliage. These roses are easy to grow and can tolerate some shade. The Celestial climbed is light pink or near white and will grow to a height of 5 to 7 feet. It’s once-blooming in either summer or spring in USDA zones 5b through 9b. Felicite Parmentier is light pink and forms a round, pompon blossom. It’s a shorter variety, growing to 4 feet and is once-blooming in summertime in USDA zones 4a to 9a.
China roses (Rosa chinesis) are repeat blooming; lots are little plants that grow from 18 inches to 3 feet tall. They’re non-fragrant and some are known for their colour change, starting off pink or yellow and changing to deep pink or red. The Mutabilis blooms continuously from spring to frost. The flowers start yellow, then turn pink to mahogany. The Hermosa grows two to three feet tall and blooms continuously with little lavender-pink flowers. Both varieties grow in USDA zones 6 through 9.