What is the Most Fragrant Rose?

lovelymorningsJune 13, 2010

I am looking to fill my garden with the most fragrant roses.

I am currently awaiting via order online louise odier, gipsey boy, gertrude jeckyll, golden celebration, asta von parpart, Daniel, ambridge rose, marie dermar, abraham darby, surpassing beauty of woolverstone, souv. of wooton. I just planted electron and fragrant cloud via a store purchase recently. But I have to say this new house of mine came with one large old rose with a stalk as thick as a small tree. It has a large oval buds packed with petals and is a dark velvet red with black tipping on massive flowers that are intoxicatingly strong like french perfume i. I want more of this type of old garden rose. One flower can fill the room with tea rose scent,

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Campanula UK Z8

zephirine drouhin

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 7:48AM
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greenhaven(SW MI z6)

"Most fragrant" is totally subjective, since different scents work differently for different people. Roses each have a different type of fragrance, too, like 'fruity,' or 'myrrh' or 'old rose.'

That said, Austins in general are among the most fragrant of modern roses that look old-style. Rose de Rescht is wonderful, as is Queen of Denmark. The hybrid teas Barbra Streisand, Oklahoma, Pope John Paul II, Mr. Lincoln and April in Paris are generally accepted as very fragrant, even though the strength still varies among smellers.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 8:34AM
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Thanks for the reply campanula, how is zepherine working out for you. I have almost ordered it several times.
But read maybe on the garden web about severe mildew problems. Since I wanted it due to its tolerance for shade against my house... Do you have any issues with it? where is it planted?

Thanks greenhaven as well. Rose de rescht was added and removed and added and removed to my list at heirloom a few times. I was hoping to hear more about it. You have it?
Is the plant big, does it hold the blooms well? I forget is it a repeater....?
I have been looking for lincoln, I bought chryslers imperial its parent or sport of. None of my new roses have bloomed yet or even arrived so I am hoping to get input as to which are doing well for others. (I have not seen oklahoma in the garden centers here in years... I will try and find that one as well as I noticed I ordered more soft shades of roses than not. I like exceptionally strong scents. Old rose scents some of the HT roses boast a strong scent but does not really compare to a fragrant austin or the old red rose I bought with this house -- to my sense of scent-sation anyway.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 11:06AM
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greenhaven(SW MI z6)

I have what appears, by all standards, to be a Rose de Rescht at my home, found growing under my spruce tree the summer after we moved into our house. it doesn't quite behave like a typical RdR, but it is in less-than-ideal conditions, as well. The first two years it was exceptional in health an vigor; last year it took a huge hit over the winter and was nearly defoliated by blackspot. This past winter winter-killed nearly all the canes. It is slated to be cut back and moved but I haven't a place for it to go, yet.

So. Given that mine is sort of atypical, it is thorny and lanky, has beautiful bluish foliage, and lovely blooms that smell so strongly of old-rose fragrance that it wafts across the yard even when it is not blooming heavily. Rebloom is spotty, but it is also in fairly heavy shade.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 1:52PM
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Definitely Gertrude Jekyll followed closely by Angel Face. I can smell both from quite a distance. I'm not sure how to describe the GJ scent other than to say I am constantly surprised by the beauty of it. Somehow it always smells twice as nice as what I expect!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 2:27PM
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Gertrude Jekyll. Makes a good cut flower, and I love the scent as I'm having my tea and doing schoolwork.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 3:13PM
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Double Delight
Abraham Darby
Sharifa Asma
Zephirine Drouhin
Winchester Cathedral

I'd say those are the strongest for me and from my experience, although they all have different types of scents.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 4:17PM
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serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

Lincoln wins hands down as the most fragrant rose for me. King Leonidas from Sparta of the fragrant roses. Takes just one rose, the other roses require several blooms to waft. Lincoln takes just one. I know this because Lincoln is the first to bloom in my garden. Takes just that one bloom to waft 15'-20' away. Can't get that out of the other roses because they depend on their massive sprays to send out fragrance. Not Lincoln, the others are just a bunch of Persians, hahaha! But he is a heavy feeder. Feed him with real organics like sea tea, and he will be a prolific bloomer and will send up several canes and most important of all, protect him from rabbits by rimming the base of him. Keep him at the back because he is also the tallest warrior rose, lol! A giant of a rose.

P.S. don't get ever get Austin's Lady Emma Hamilton as a fragranced rose in spite of its "strong intense fragrance rating". Because it isn't a whit fragranced at all. Or maybe I've got an LEH dud. I've smelled Pretty Jessica and your Gertrude Jekyll (since my friend Boxofrox grows them), which were very sweetly fragrant, but I found that to my nose, it was a split, some Austins had very nice fragrance but some had only fair fragrance. To me, it really depended on which Austin. And none has yet to compare with a Lincoln, but that's because I want that heavy, heavy rich damask scent that truly wafts on that one bloom instead of depending on several blooms. I do have Fragrant Cloud by the way-- again, not even close to how fragrant Lincoln is.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 4:48PM
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njmomma(z6 NJ)

At the botanical gardens today I tried to smell as many as I could and I was disappointed that many of the Austin's had no or very little fragrance at all. Thanks for this post, I also would like some strong old rose fragrance roses.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 7:38PM
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cjrosaphile(z8 Pacific NW)

I have several Austins and also Rose de Rescht, Double Delight, Pope John Paul. RdeR is the most fragrant to me. I usually smell it last in the garden because anything afterwards doesn't smell as strong. Sharifa Asma is also very fragrant, Tamara is to me, too. Pope John Paul is perhaps more so than these two, oh I'm not much help here. Just saw an Apricot Impressionist at Heirloom and to me it actually smelled like apricots. Amazing! So I bought it and will put it alongside The Impressionist which does not smell to me at all. It is gorgeous though. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 10:01PM
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I think the thing with almost all the roses I've smelled in Columbus(my own and others) is that you need to catch them in the early morning or late evening to catch the full whiff of the scent. During the mid day hours, the scent seems to burn off for me. Warm fragranced roses tend to be the exception(WS2000, Abe Darby, Mirandy).

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 10:10PM
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predfern(z5 Chicago)

Evelyn is another Austin to consider. Crabtree & Evelyn uses Evelyn in their fragrances. Mine dies back over the winter but bounces back vigorously in the spring. I do not spray or winter protect. I recently discovered a strongly fragrant climber called Nahema which has Heritage in its background. Sonia Rykiel is also very nice. I have Sharifa Asma, Mme. Isaac Pereire and Rose de Rescht all of which are strongly fragrant. Reine des Violettes another old garden rose. It is thornless and has a nice fragrance. Comte de Chambord is another fragrant OGR.


Here is a link that might be useful: Crabtree & Evelyn

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 11:47PM
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I'm putting in my vote for Gertrude Jekyll as the most fragrant of all. I've smelled quite a few roses, but none quite measure up to GJ to my nose. Double Delight and Abraham Darby come fairly close.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 12:01AM
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organicgardendreams(z 10)

Zephirine Drouhin, Rose de Rescht, Madame Ernest Calvat are the most fragrant OGRs in my yard.

From the modern ones I would name Frederick Mistral, Pope John Paul II, Sweetness, Pretty Jessica, Mister Lincoln to be the roses with the strongest scent in my garden.

It is so much fun to smell the roses and be pampered with a strong perfume tickling your olfactory sense :-)!


    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 12:13AM
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I find the following to be the most fragrant:

RdR/ and any Damask rose I've smelled for that matter
Double Delight
Chrysler Imperial (hate the name but loveeee the scent)
Love's Promise, my favorite red
Ebb Tide/Midnight Blue (I have both, they seem to be extremely similiar)

I love fragrant roses... have fun

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 1:41AM
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Thanks for all the input.

I was at the mountain garden center today and they had oklahoma (yum) The roses that were in the sun smelled stronger than those in the shade of the same plant. The heat really released the scent. chrysler imperial (was the strongest scent there) but I was surprised it was dark magenta... my tag of my non bloomed plant is deep red... it was gorgeous all the same though. Perfume delight, and just joey were about the same good but not as strong as chr. imp. To my surprise they had dolly parton there. It had huge (i mean huge 6 in blooms of bright bright 50s lipstick red) and it smelled really strong and good. My husband was impressed. Also smelled the crown princess margaretta rose (a austin) it had a tea rose mix with apricot scent as well. (very strong). I think I am going back to buy dolly and the full blooming lincoln as I cant wait for mine to get big... These were in 5 gal. pots and a good size plant already. argh... and yes I ordered more roses today... good thing I bought 3 acres of dirt with this house.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 2:38AM
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In my garden a few roses stand out when it comes to most fragrant: Mme Isaac Pereire, Rose de Resht, Souvenir du Dr Jamain, Gertrude Jekyll, Gruss an Teplitz, Fragrant Cloud, Clair Renaissance, Etoille de Hollande.

Papa Meilland is not to be forgotten either, but a bit demanding to grow.

If you have a green house or live in a place with no frost, Niphetos can fill a whole garden with scent at times.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 7:43AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

No matter what any of us tell you, your experience may vary. Just about every garden choice I make is influenced by fragrance. However, despite planting an array of the most fragrant roses, I find only moderate fragrance in the rose bed. I can't smell "tea rose" at all. The rose I notice the most is my Rugosa, Rotesmeer.

Its not my sense of smell because lilac, butterfly bush and Korean Spice viburnum provide a very strong fragrance for me.

Visit local gardens. Check out roses for yourself. Buy the ones that look and smell right for you.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 8:54AM
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Does anyone know of a nursury in the Philadelphia area that might have the Zephirine Drouhin?? I've never seen them...

I have a NW facing deck and always envisioned fragrent roses climbing up on my trellis but have had terrible luck because there isn't enough sun.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 10:51AM
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My most fragrant are:
Zephirine Drouin
Gertrude Jekyll
Reines des violettes
Chrysler Imperial

and we will see about A Shropshire Lad when it opens up for the first time this week. One day last year I realized all roses should smell nice, so I took the ones that didn't out and have not looked back!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 12:26PM
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Mister Lincoln and Fragrant Cloud are both powerfully scented, but with different types of fragrance. FC is more candy-like; ML is more rose-like. ML is the better flower shape and color (IMHO).

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 1:12PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Tiffany is fragrant to me all the time - day, noon and night. Hard to miss with any of the James Alexander Gamble award winners (until they got desparate after no one qualified for years and they started handing the award out willy nilly)........I've grown Rose de Rescht, and it's only occasionally fragrant to my nose, certainly no Tiffany.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 4:02PM
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Y don't as a rule even look at Hybrid Teas because of the humidity here - but the hype for Pope John Paul II overcame my resistance - mine was a bare root only a few weeks ago. So far he is very green and vigorous although I am having a tough year with disease in some of my other roses - and the blooms with which the entire little plant are currently covered have a delicious scent as well. If he will grow well here he should grow most anywhere I should think.

One of favorite older roses for scent is Madame Issac - in fact nearly all the Bourbons that I am familiar with have delicious scent although they do vary widely in disease resistance in my part of the world.

Many old roses are very sweet but have to be sampled up close to be appreciated - some of the once bloomers are among the sweetest to my nose.

I have a seedling that came from Vintage - found growing near Renae - and this little band is the sweetest rose I think I have ever smelled - I can't wait for her to grow up - although I think sprawl out is going to be her mode of choice.

Angel Face does have a lovely fragrance, but I could never get her to hold on to ANY leaves. I lost two and gave up although I am always tempted when I see her in a nursery or catalog, but there are so many wonderfully scented roses. My list is nearly endless and I am not even all that familiar with the Hybrid teas - it is a smorgasbord of delights for someone who is emotionally moved by perfumes - as I am - so there is no point in beating your head on a wall if one won't grow for you.

My Zeffy is a baby and yet to bloom, but I hope that next year she will be on her way up the front of my porch - planted a gallon sized gal this spring and she is showing signs of liking it here although she has not rewarded me with a single bloom - but I had a Dr. Jamain who did not bloom until his third summer - partially I suspect because the squirrels dug him out a couple of times when he was a baby band in a pot - but he has more than paid me back for my investment of patience at this point.

If it were not so very hot I would rush out now and "smell the roses" but I think I will wait until the sun goes down a bit.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 4:24PM
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predfern(z5 Chicago)

I have to agree about Rugosas. When they are in full bloom, you can smell them from many feet away. Buxom Beauty is another one to consider.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 12:18AM
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My most fragrant roses - that never dissapoints me - no particular order - but not all may be easy to grow well depending on climate zone/disease pressure.

Gertrude Jekyll
Mme Isaac pereire
Rose De Rescht
Papa Meilland
White Nights
Yolande De Aragon
Mrs John Laing
Sweet Surrender
Archiduchesse Elisabeth D' Autriche
Felicite Parmentier
Sovenir D' Alphonse Lavallee
Hugh Dickson

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 4:02AM
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I've written articles on this topic before, the most fragrant of roses are those categorised as old varieties, as modern cultivars generally are created for larger flowers, and less fragrance.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rose Factfile

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 7:44AM
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iowa_jade(C 5b H 6)

French Lace. DW says it has no smell what-so-ever!

I have won a few "Stinky Bird Award"s with MIP & FC.

I remember one judge asking another: "Do we look for the most stinky, or the one that smells the best?"


    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 1:03PM
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silverkelt(Z5b/Southern Maine)

I cant grow ZD, so I wouldnt know about it.. There are still alot of fragrant roses Ive never tried!

But just about any rogusa is very fragrant, with a clove twist in its background.

Of the roses Ive grown here is my list... fragance is subjective! Hints of citrus, tones of lemons or oranges or complicated twists of grapfruit to my nose are always the most fragrant!

1. Abraham Darby.. rose with hints of grapefruit to me! Some say they smell hints of wine or something similiar.. Ive never smelt a rose similiar or more powerful to me...

2. Great Maidens Blush.. Roses with hints of a citrus to me, like lemon.. very sharp and sweet. What a SMELL!

3. Rose Des Restch.. Damask, pure and lovely.

4. Queen of Denmark.. similiar but a little different and not as fragrant to my nose as Great Maidens Blush.

5. Rosa Centifolia, sweet rose, constant and steady to my nose.

6. Sharifa Asma , roses with sharp hint of lemons, more than the albas, but isnt as pleasing to me... Very nice, but not quite that alba scent...

7. Any of the rugosas, that are not too far from the norm.. Hansa or the species, very similiar powerful, rose with clove hints..

Not all austins are fragrant.. he has alot that are.. but Ive grown some with very little scent.. not every nose can pick up every scent, or find them pleasing.. I know people who said thier favorite scent was Jude the Obscure.. after buying one, I didnt find it pleasing at all or overally scented..

Grow what you love =)


    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 1:35PM
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You all helped greatly
zepherine dr.
Mme Isaac pereire
Rose De Rescht
madame Isaac leveque (purchased for my daughter who lost her great grma cecille leveque a couple days ago)
were ordered from rogue roses last night.
Any info on Madame Isacc Leveque rose would be appreciated.

So far awaiting an
heirloom rose order I have added to three times
euro desert rose order
and now rogue roses.

I went to guerrero rose farm in Ontario California today with my daughters. (a very large rose farm carry a little of everything and a seller of weeks roses as well)
Wow. I was able to see and smell zeph dr. and I can't wait. I wish I had though as I ordered a band for more than I could have gotten a huge 5 gallon bush for at the rose farm.

There were so many that I wished I had remembered a pencil and notebook to take down names.

I bought a few more (three acres to fill you know) argh...
I bought Purple hearts ( smelled sweet and spicy)
I bought Heirloom (strong tea rose scent)
I bought fragrant plum ( it is a lovely rose that I would never guessed in catalogues looks so antique as it open into a tulip cupped many petals, I loved this rose. Would have never known had I not gone to the rose farm today.
I also bought a fragrant striped rose fragrant tiger that reminded me of a bourban in shape.

There were at least a dozen with fragrance galore I wish I could fit in my car.
Pope john paul was to die for..., the bummer was that the 5 gallon bushes were gigantic and filled with flowers and preblooms about a foot higher than the roof of my volvo.
I will be getting that rose as it was not just fragrant but lovely in every stage (classic htea on strong canes) graduation to a large full cabbage rose, graduating to full but flat petal old fashioned look with a clear view of the center in which was blush pink, in all stages it was lovely without ever looking it needed to be clipped off.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 5:33PM
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Dear LovelyMornings,

Please post a pic of that red rose that came with your land. Maybe others here can help identify it. Flower, buds, canes, leaves and base of the buds... And, just maybe, it will turn out to be a wonderful "lost to commerce" rose.

Congratulations of your future three acre rose adventure. I will not answer your question because I grow roses in steamy Florida.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 9:31PM
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Campanula UK Z8

hello lovely mornings, glad you decided on ZD. Yes, mildew can be a problem but mainly when it is grown tight against a wall - and even then, with plenty of watering, it can be avoided. Mine is growing on a north facing wall and has been a wonderful reliable, fragrant rose. There is a touch of mildew in late summer but only on the roses which are very shaded and lacking ventilation. Air movement and water are the most essential aspects for this beautiful rose which is lovely at all its stages. enjoy your rose growing adventure.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 6:51AM
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For sheer strength it is a tie between GERTRUDE JEKYLL and YOLANDE D'ARAGON.

For quality of perfume there is no match to Rosa moschata.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 8:32AM
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Evelyn Roses have a wonderful strong and exquisite Rose scent.

It was actually created specifically to make perfume for Crabtree & Evelyn products and is named after it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Evelyn Rose

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 2:08AM
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Oso Easy Fragrant spreader has wonderful, intense fragrance.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 9:08AM
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catsrose(VA 6)

The damasks roses, esp Summer Damask are the most fragrant roses, ie they yield the most intense essence. The Damask is the rose used to obtain the highest quality and most expensive attar of roses used in the perfume industries. It is one of the most expensive items in the world. It takes 60,000 roses to produce one ounce which can then sell for as much as $40,000.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 10:55PM
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bethr1957(z9 Huntington Beach, CA)

According to world judges, of the new roses, Angel Face and Fragrant Cloud. Have another fragrant orangish rose; look it up, you will find the parent to be Fragrant Cloud.

Including America, a fragrant climber!


    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 12:28AM
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jim_w_ny(Zone 5a)

I have a poor nose. A rose has to have an overwhelming scent to get noticed by me.

The list of OGRÂs that are fragrant is nearly endless. Just to mention a few that I have, The Apothecary, Hippolyte and Jacques Cartier. An old rose that is also fragrant but not I think classified as an OGR despite being old is Baltimore Belle. Its flowers indivdually are not that fragrant but enmasse become overpowering. It has literally hundreds of flowers each cluster with 10 or more buds.

As IÂm in Zone 5 I no longer grow HTÂs of which many are bred for fragrance so that gang is not on my list. I notice that an alleged legendarly fragrant HT, Crimson Glory is not mentioned. Probably too old. I once tried to grow it but it tanked early.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 7:13AM
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For strenght, Yolande de Aragon, Mme Issac Perier, Deul de Dr Reynaud, Rose de Rescht, Ispahan, Konigin von Danemark,
Mr Lincoln, Double Delight
For exceptional quality and strength, Felicite Parmentier

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 7:17AM
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Blanc double de coubert is extremely fragrant, the scent carries, it blooms all summer (especially in the late Spring) and is as tough as Hosta. It is a rugosa (hybrid I think).

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 9:38AM
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