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What is your favorite "class" of rose?

Posted by Dinglehopp3r 7a East TN (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 20:05

Hello all!

I am very much a newbie when it comes to antique roses, I have acquired several Austins since this spring, I love them and overall they are doing very well for me so far, but those don't really count as being "antique". They have however spurred a desire in me to learn about & possibly collect a few "real" antique roses. I love the idea that these old roses have been around forever & have become a part of history that you can still touch & even participate in, that is so cool.

However, to a newbie such as myself it seems as though the list of classes, subclasses, species, etc of antique roses is long and daunting to understand. I have gathered little bits & pieces of knowledge from the forums, and from a few books that I have read in the past few months, but I still feel largely overwhelmed by the topic.

I know that climate, space, and a whole host of other factors will go into choosing the right variety, but I was just wondering if any of you have a favorite class of antique rose, and why?

My garden is fairly small so sadly I cannot have some of the ramblers & other types that can grow huge and unruly. I live in east Tennessee, in zone 7a, in a humid, warm valley & my biggest garden concern so far is Blackspot. I do not use any chemicals in or near my garden, but I am not opposed to experimenting with any sort of organic blackspot remedy I come across, as long as it isn't too costly.

If you have any favorite classes or types, or even just some words of wisdom you would like to share with me for the beginning of my antique rose journey, I would really appreciate anything you have to say!

Thanks a bunch!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

Jessica -- There is (or was, a few years back) a really good garden of both modern and Old Roses, in Memphis' Audubon Park (Just in case you ramble that far West). That was where I saw how badly Gallicas could blackspot in a warm, humid climate.

In much of the South, Tea Roses and Chinas are said to be top choices. But Ann Peck is in East TN, and she should be your best guide and mentor.

RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

I'm no expert on this topic, but I can tell you that "everybody" adores the small Bourbon Souvenir de la Malmaison (or its near-twin Mystic Beauty from Roses Unlimited).

While technically not OGRs, hybrid musks are usually closely associated with them--and Buff Beauty is a great one! If you like pastel pink, Felicia is a good choice. They take up more space--I grow them both free-standing (up to 7-9 feet wide), but many gardeners train them along fences. Hybrid Musks often have a fountain shape.

All those are bs-resistant in my zone 6 garden, but you'd have to ask someone from your region how well they function in your zone.


RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

I don't really have a favorite class, but rather favorite roses in all kinds of different classes. You might want to give Souvenir de la Malmaison a try. If it does well for you you'll have a really beautiful and famous rose in your garden. The Teas and Chinas do well for me overall, as do some of the polyanthas and Austins. The best idea would be to find people who grow old roses in your area and determine what works for them. That might save you a lot of trial and error.


RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

I am going to also recommed souvenir da la malmaisson (SDLM). I am in zone 8 and it is very hot and humid for me and my SDLM has been practically BS free, I say practically because she did have a few leaves with BS at the beginning of the summer but none since. I planted her this spring and have loved her from the first bloom. I love everything about SDLM from her fragrance to her beautiful perfect blooms. I learned about her from this forum and if your wanting a old rose you can't go wrong. So far she has stayed compact and bushy for me and hasn't grown as fast as my other roses planted at the same time but from what I've read that is normal for SDLM. This is one of her first blooms. She is supposed to be pink but looks washed out in this pic. Her color has improved as she has grown.

This post was edited by boncrow66 on Fri, Aug 8, 14 at 8:46

RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

SDLM not opened all the way. Her pink has developed more as she has grown.

RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

Tea roses. Check out the book: "Tea Roses, Old Roses for Warm Climates". It is the first book written about tea roses for over 100 years, and is wonderful.


RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

My favorite are hybrid musks. I love single petaled roses . I do however have lots of roses that aren't that category. I also do not spray .This summer doing well for me are buff beauty , SDLM , boscobel , ballerina , blossomtime , madame Alfred carriere , darlows enigma . Good luck !

RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

species....and especially the little Scottish burnets (pimpinellifolias/spinossissimas).....but also the Asian early yellows - hugonis, cantab, headleyensis, primula

RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

I am drawn to Bourbons, Hybrid Teas, & Floribundas!

RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

Hi Jessica,

Take the plunge! Try whatever rose catches your attention and eye! Catalog descriptions and pictures as well as a rose's history can spark interest, I know these things did so for me.

Twenty-five years ago I tried whatever I liked. Don't be afraid to experiment. Some things will grow well for you and some wont. This is the nature of nurturing plants. The truly arrogant gardener believes that his or her dedication, knowledge and attention can overcome any defect of climate or soil. LOL

At the time, I lived in the Deep South where Winters were cold and Summers very, very hot, and grew everything from choice rhododendrons, azaleas, hydrangeas Himalayan Blue Poppies, to magnolias, cherries, tulips,exotic maples and finally coming to roses by accident. I believe it was a magazine article on Barbara Streisand's garden in California which offered some magnificent pictures of her garden and roses. The article stated that they were from a nursery in Watsonville, California by the name of Roses of Yesterday and Today. I promptly ordered their catalog. This accident led to instant love, for roses give instant satisfaction. No waiting ten years for a tree or shrub to mature or bloom.

This year in March, I decided to try roses in containers here on my patio in Central Florida. The first things I ordered were two Souvenir de la Malmaison which I'd grown with astounding ease and results, years ago. To my surprise, rose buying has certainly changed in twenty-five years, for I received two twigs with only five leaves between them. Years ago no one that I knew of, sold, let alone bought "bands" or as they would have been called then, rooted cuttings. After the shock, and frustration, I simply planted them in the best mediums I could procure and the picture below attests to the rewards for the dedication of rose growers.

Now to answer your questions: Bourbons, Hybrid Perpetuals, Hybrid Teas and various climbers are my favorites, but only if they are beautiful and challenging.

Good Luck,


RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

Welcome to roses, Jessica.

I'm in Roanoke, so pretty much the same conditions. But as Jeri said, Ann Peck is your local expert.

I'm no spray. I haven't found any "organic" solutions to blackspot, so I just live with it. Gallicas, Polyanthas, Chinas are very successful. Of the Hybrid Musks, the earlier ones seem to blackspot less than the newer ones. The Musk Rose, Rosa moschata, is also extremely successful. Teas and Noisettes do well also, tho they can be winter sensitive--I had a lot of die-back this year because we had such a hard winter, but they have all come back. Bourbons blackspot badly. Hybrid Perpetuals and Mosses don't do well for me--I think they don't like the clay soil. They blackspot some, but mostly they just don't thrive.

The closet good dealer is Roses Unlimited in nw SC. You will be pretty safe with their selections.

Polyanthas and chinas are good for small gardens, tho a few chinas get large. Hybrid musks, teas and noisettes can get quite large, but there are smaller ones. Gallicas sucker and bloom only in spring, but they are very hardy and rarely blackspot. And they are fabulously fragrant. When they aren't in bloom, they make nice green clumps in the background, or even hedges.

Be careful with suggestions from out of the area. People want to--and should--share their loves and hates, but what works in CA doesn't always work in TN.

RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

My favorites are often close to Kate's (dublinrose). I love SDLM. I also like the Hybrid Musks. My favorites are Penelope and Nur Mahal. I think Erfurt is also a hybrid musk, and I like it a lot. Bubble Bath is a sensational hybrid musk. SDLM is a Bourbon rose, and I enjoy Maggie - also a bourbon. I like teas and chinas, as well as polyanthas. Caldwell Pink is very pretty and Perle d' Or is pretty. Cramoisi Superieur is beautiful. I like Ducher, Rival de Paestum and so many others.


RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

Hi, Ding!
Not even close to an expert and don't play one on TV, either, but I can share my experience. Of course, YMMV. I also live in zone 7A in E. Tennessee. A map shows that we live in a valley but in fact we live at the top of a small hill that sits on a bigger hill and you can see the Smokies from here. My soil is a combo of rocks and acidic clay over a layer of clay and rocks. Except in areas where the soil has been improved, everyone here digs with a pick instead of a shovel. I do have excellent drainage since rain has nowhere else to go but downhill. We also have hot humid summers with frequent draughts although this summer hasn't been as bad. Our growing season can last into November sometimes. Maybe this is similar to you.

I grow a number of polyanthas, a china or two, some teas, a Bourbon or two and numerous moderns. The easiest and most carefree for me are the polyanthas, even though Marie Pavie can blackspot. As a group, they are healthy and bloom almost continuously.

I love my teas but there is a learning curve that goes with them. They don't like cold at all. I lost one after this winter and another is having to come back from its roots. They actually need heat and humidity- at least mine do- and won't be happy not to have it. They don't like a lot of fussing and don't appreciate pruning and "training". If I just let them grow the way they want, they're happy.
Blackspot is least likely with this group for me.

My favorite class of old roses thus far has been the noisettes, although I only had Crepuscule and I lost it due to DH's overzealous use of round-up. It was maybe 3 or 4 yrs. old and already had canes at least 10 ft. It was so lovely in bloom. I think that because so many of them are apricot-colored (my favorite), fragrant and grow so well here, I long to grow more of them but my favorites are the big ones and I don't have much space. Maybe I need to try some of the smaller ones.

Chinas have never done as well for me as I'd hoped, but that may just be me.

I like Buff Beauty which has done well for me but the newer hybrid musks are a crap shoot.

The only bourbon I have is Maggie, but she is a survivor. She does blackspot but it doesn't seem to set her back. She is a generous bloomer.

I agree with catspa about HP's and mosses although I very much wanted mine to do well. I no longer have any.

Of all my moderns, my absolute all-time favorite is Prairie Sunrise. She wins the trifecta of health, ease of growth and beauty. She looks a little like some of the old garden roses, to tie this in to the topic.

Good luck with your selection process. I hope you find your favorites, too.

RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

In the true OGR's, I like the repeat bloomers. But when push comes to shove, My 2 Rugosa's (Rosa Rugosa and Rosa Rugosa Alba) are by far my favorites. Planted in soil that contains 1/2 sand, I throw down Rose Tone in the spring and in August and get out of the way. Completely care free and beautiful.

RE: What is your favorite "class" of rose?

It would have to be tea roses. Sometimes I think being able to grow teas is one of the main reasons I stay in Arizona. Not in love with a lot of things about the state, but I do like growing teas here.

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