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My Victorian Garden in Summer: Growing Heirloom and Old-Fashioned Roses

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Chazz is an Interior Decorator/Consultant/Retailer, amateur photographer, cook, gardener, handyman, currently restoring an 1880 Victorian.

Rosa Cardinal de Richelieu: a Gallica Rose from 1850.

Rosa Cardinal de Richelieu: a Gallica Rose from 1850.

Why Grow Romantic Old Garden Heirloom and Old Fashioned Victorian Roses?

Roses have long been the most favored and romantic of all flowers. Yet, even though the rose been the most popular flower since ancient times, most people think that roses are difficult to grow.

Although it is true that most modern hybrids require substantial care and coddling, antique heirloom old garden roses do not. They have not withstood the test of time by being fussy.

Old garden roses are substantially hardier, far more disease resistant, and come in more varieties than modern roses. (In fact, there are so many types of old roses that we have another page about them.)

No Victorian Garden would be considered complete without at least several rose bushes to scent the summer air, and ours is no exception. Our summer garden features period antique heirloom old garden roses and a few newer old-fashioned roses bred to have many of the desirable characteristics of their forebears. We hope you will be inspired to add a few vigorous heirloom roses to your garden.


Rosa Antike Caramel. © 2011-19 CJS.

Rosa Antike Caramel. © 2011-19 CJS.

Old Roses Are Time-Tested, Not Temperamental

Antique roses have stood the test of time. Their historic interest, fragrance, durability, and form give old roses an appeal that is timeless.

Many of the old roses available today have been collected from abandoned homesteads and long forgotten cemeteries where they have been neglected and yet have survived on their own for decades.

Today's hybrid roses may have larger blooms and colors that were not available 100 years ago, but they are often temperamental and usually high-maintenance, especially if you try to grow them in climates where the temperatures drop below the freezing point.

Old roses are more vigorous and tend to have an overall form that is pleasing even when they are not in bloom. Many have handsome foliage and attractive hips in the fall, making them useful landscaping plants. Old-time roses add a grace and substance to a garden that most modern hybrid roses lack. Plus they are much easier to care for.

Who could ask for more?

2014-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved

2014-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved

Rosa Reine Victoria

The Queen Victoria Rose

A Quintessential Victorian Rose, Reine Victoria is a classic Bourbon rose from 1872.

La Reine Victoria blooms throughout the summer with cupped shaped flowers in a slightly lavender toned rose. It is an upright shrub with beautifully scented medium sized flowers.

Rosa Alchymist - (that's not a typo - just the original spelling)

© 2012-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

© 2012-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Rosa Alchymist is a once-blooming Eglanteria hybrid rose crossed with a large flowered climber by Kordes in 1956. The color ranges from soft apricots and peaches to pink and yellow shades -- all on one plant at the same time! A sight (and scent) to behold.

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.

~Gertrude Stein

Did You Know Roses not only Look Delicious ... - They actually are?

Do you grow antique heirloom roses?

Rosa Baronne Prévost  (left) and Rosa Marchesa Bocella (right)

Rosa Baronne Prévost (left) and Rosa Marchesa Bocella (right)

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Rosa 'Marchesa Boccella' from 1842

aka Jacques Cartier

Jacques Cartier, as it is usually called in the U.S., is an Antique Rose that was introduced as Marchesa Bocella in France in 1842. With over 80 petals and outstanding fragrance, Rosa Jacques Cartier is one of the most sensuous of the old roses.

Four inch rich clear pink blossoms bloom repeatedly all summer on a bushy four to five feet tall upright shrub. It is hardy to zone 4 and will tolerate some shade. This magnificent rose is identified by some as a hybrid perpetual and as a portland rose by others. Whichever or whatever you call it, you will agree it is an exceptional rose.

Rosa Baronne Prévost

Bred in France by Jean Desprez in 1841

Rosa Baronne Prévost is an early hardy, reblooming hybrid perpetual shrub rose introduced in 1842. It has a heady old rose fragrance.

It is packed with petals and coloring ranges from pale pink to rose, with shadings enhanced by the shadows. A sturdy erect (and thorny) shrub, it grows to 3 to 5 ft. tall and is covered in bright green foliage and clusters of flowers.

2012-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

2012-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Rosa Leontine Gervais

A Rambler from 1903

Leontine Gervais is a popular wichuraiana hybrid rambler that is easy to grow and very fragrant. It can grow to 25 feet and needs strong support for that reason.

Rosa Leontine Gervais is vigorous, disease resistant, and spectacular! In mid to late spring, it is covered in coppery colored buds that open to pink and fade to cream.

Create a Romantic Shady Retreat - Just Add Your Favorite Ramblers or Climbing Roses

One may live without bread,

but not without roses.

~Jean Richepin

Rose Sarah van Fleet. ©  2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Rose Sarah van Fleet. © 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Rosa Sarah van Fleet

An Historic Rose introduced in 1926

Sarah van Fleet is a hybrid Rugosa with slightly cupped semi-double flowers in a medium mallow pink.

Don't let it's pretty appearance fool you. Sarah is one tough rose. She has a wonderful fragrance that blends old rose with cloves and good rebloom.

Antique Rosa Tuscany Superba Dates to 1837

Victorian Antique Historic Rose Tuscany Superba  © 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Victorian Antique Historic Rose Tuscany Superba © 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Rosa Tuscany Superba is a once-blooming Gallica rose that is definitely worth the wait! The color is a deep velvety purple-ish red that opens to reveal a center of golden stamens. It grows to about 4 feet high and 3 feet wide with a true old rose fragrance.

Rosa 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh'  © 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Rosa 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' © 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Rosa 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh'

From Charles Austin

Although the Charles Rennie Mackintosh rose was registered in 1994, it honors the Scottish Arts & Crafts designer and his famous stylized rose motif which bears his name.

A repeat bloomer with a strong fragrance, our two Mackintosh roses were never without at least one cluster of blooms throughout last summer.

This smaller sized English shrub rose should be planted where its scent can be fully appreciated along with its beauty. Hardy in zones 5 through 10, this shrub rose also tolerates shade.

Heritage Rose

Light Pink Heritage Rose. © 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved

Light Pink Heritage Rose. © 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved

A soft porcelain pink old fashioned cupped double rose with a strong spicy sweet fragrance, Rosa Heritage is an Austin English shrub rose introduced in 1984. David Austin considers Heritage the most beautiful of all of the Austin Roses. It is nearly thornless with good disease resistance and prolific virtually non-stop blooms.

Austin on Austin's English Garden Roses

Antique Heirloom German Rose Geschwind's Schönste © 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Antique Heirloom German Rose Geschwind's Schönste © 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Geschwind's 'Schönste'

From the late 1800s

Schönste is German for Most Beautiful and one look at this voluptuous rose and you will agree.

Be on the lookout for more roses bred by Geschwind as he is finally, after 150 years, receiving the attention his work deserves.

Born in 1829 in what is now the Czech republic, Rudolf Geschwind spent over 50 years breeding roses with an emphasis on health, winter hardiness, and profusion of blooms. Geschwind roses do not need to be coddled and they are vigorous as well as gorgeous plants.

Schönste is one of our favorite Geschwind's. A hybrid multiflora, Schönste can be grown as a shrub or a climber. Summer blooming with some repeat through fall, it is hardy to zone 3. Gently scented, with a magnificently nuanced color, it is the answer to a cold-weather rose gardener's dream.

What's in a name?

That which we call a rose

by any other name would smell as sweet.

~Shakespeare

© 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved

© 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved

Rosa Kronprincessin Viktoria

Crown Princess Victoria Rose

This fragrant 19th century ivory rose is a white sport of Souvenir de la Malmaison and was registered in 1887.

Rosa Kronprincessin Viktoria is a reblooming Bourbon rose that grows to about 4 feet. Plant this one where you can enjoy the fragrance.

Rosa Louise Clements

© 2012-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

© 2012-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Rosa Louise Clements is an old-fashioned, fully double, English-style rose bred in 1996 by the late John Clements. He named this magnificent copper colored beauty after his wife. Louise Clements is a continual blooming upright shrub rose with a lovely fragrance.



© 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

© 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Rosa Excellenz von Schubert

A Polyantha from 1909

Repeat blooming with a musky fragrance and an open cascading habit, Excellenz von Schubert is a superb performer in our zone 5 garden.

This Polyantha rose is said to grow to about 3 to 5 feet, but I've been having success with it as a climber wending its way through a tall lilac.

Rosa Aime Vibert. © 2012-19 CJS.

Rosa Aime Vibert. © 2012-19 CJS.

Rosa Aime Vibert

A Noisette from 1828

Aime Vibert was named for the breeder's daughter in 1828. (It is also known as Bouquet de la Marie.)

Lightly scented, it will climb to about 20 feet but can be pruned to keep shorter.

Dark glossy leaves set off the bouquests of blooms in early summer (and, if you're lucky, again in the fall).

Gertrude Jekyll wrote that Aime Vibert could "redeem a home of no architectural pretention". One look at this photo and you're sure to agree.

Noisettes are generally not hardy in zone 5, but, with winter protection, we have been successful with this one.

The Healing Power of Roses

Historic Health Benefits of Roses

Today, roses are predominantly grown as decorative plants because of their beautiful scented blooms. Historic roses, however, have a long tradition of more practical and even medicinal uses.

Because of their beauty, fragrance, but especially because of their healing powers, roses have been associated with deities since ancient times.

The essence of roses has been used in cosmetics, lotions, perfumes and medicinal preparations for thousands of years. In fact, Pliny the Elder (23-79 BCE) listed over 30 medicinal rose formulae in his encyclopedia, Natural History. Medieval herbalists recorded even more.

From essential oils to rose hip tea, roses are said to improve mood, reduce inflammation, and provide other mental and physical health benefits.

Studies have recently confirmed that rose hips are indeed useful for treating osteoarthritis. This finding is no surprise to many non- mainstream health practitioners, but nevertheless, it is always nice to know that science is catching up to the wisdom of ages.

One word of caution: Read labels and information carefully before using these products. Do not ingest products meant for external application only. Do not use if you are allergic to roses.

God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.

~James M. Barrie

Lion's (TM) Fairy Tale Rose - From Kordes

© 2011-15 CJS. All Rights Reserved

© 2011-15 CJS. All Rights Reserved

Lion's Fairy Tale is a rose of more recent vintage with old-fashioned qualities and a light sweet fragrance.

A repeat blooming floribunda introduced by Kordes in 2002, this new old-style rose is a big-time award winner (Rose of the Year 2006, Gifu silver medal 2008, Hradec silver medal 2005, Kortrijk silver medal 2004) with good reason.

Kordes roses are highly disease resistant and bred to combine the nostalgic multi-layered blooms and a habit reminiscent of old garden roses with extraordinarily healthy green foliage.

Cold hardy to zone 4, Lion's Fairy Tale can also be grown successfully in warmer climates. It is easy to be completely enchanted by this creamy old-world rose from the 21st century.

Enjoy the Beauty of Roses Year 'Round

Roses For Home And Office

Shown above: Top Row, left to right: Romantic English Roses on Black Pendant Lamp Shade, Ravishing Rainbow of Roses Clock to Personalize, “La Bee en Rose” iPhone 5 Case (others available). Bottom row: Soft Pink Pierre De Ronsard Rose Notecards, A Ring of Roses with Your Monogram Initial Makeup Mirrors, English Rose Luggage Tag to Personalize, Soft Pink Pierre De Ronsard Eden Rose Watch (other styles available). Exclusively at SOULCAKES.

The Generous Gardener Rose

my-victorian-garden-growing-heirloom-and-old-fashion-roses

The Generous Gardener is an old-fashioned, fully double, English-style rose bred by David Austin. A soft pale pink with a generous bloom and old Rose scent with aspects of musk and myrhh, Generous Gardener can be grown as a shrub or a ten foot climber. It is a hardy, very disease resistant, truly magnificent rose with rich dark green foliage that sets off the delicate blooms to perfection. The Generous Gardener was named to honor the 75th anniversary of the U.K.'s National Gardens Scheme, which contributes to many beautiful gardens.



Rosa Gruss an Aachen - The First Floribunda

© 2012-15 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

© 2012-15 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Dating to 1909, Rosa Gruss an Aachen is believed to be the first of the Floribunda Roses. Bred from a Hybrid Perpetual, Gruss an Aachen blooms all season long on an approximately 3 foot by 3 foot shrub that is hardy to zone 4 and shade tolerant.

I'd rather have roses on my table

than diamonds on my neck.

~Emma Goldman

How About You? Do You Agree With The Above Quote?

Which would you rather have?

Rosa Rugosa Hansa © 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Rosa Rugosa Hansa © 2011-19 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Hansa Rose

Rosa Rugosa 'Hansa'

Hansa is a blooming powerhouse with striking violet-red/magenta flowers and large colorful hips in the fall. It has a strong spicy clove-like fragrance and, as is typical of rugosas, densely spiny stems.

With plentiful dark green leaves and fully double, well-formed blossoms, Hansa has been a favorite rose since its introduction in 1905. Hansa blooms early and continues throughout the season.

Rugosas are vigorous roses and will tolerate salt and more shade than most other roses. On top of that, they are disease resistant and hardy to zone 3. This rose will grow in Alaska! If that isn't reason enough to love Hansa, here's two more: it is rarely bothered by insects and it quickly forms a beautiful, carefree, healthy bushy shrub to six feet high and six feet wide.

To fully take advantage of this incredible rose, plant Hansa under a window where its scent will waft in on summer breezes.

We planted Hansa in 2004. Although rugosas in general, and Hansa in particular, are said to spread by suckering, in the 9+ years we have grown rugosas, ours have not done that.

Queen of the Violets (1860)

© 2011-15 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

© 2011-15 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Rosa Reine des Violettes

Reine des Violettes is a hybrid perpetual rose from 1860. At the time, it was the most violet colored rose and still holds its own more than 150 years later. Reine des Violettes has a sweet fragrance and blooms throughout the summer on a bushy upright shrub.

Do you have a Favorite Garden Flower?

What's your favorite garden bloom?

Beautiful Paintings of Beautiful Heirloom Roses - All available in a variety of sizes and format, framed or unframed

Left to Right: Romantic Roses by Eugene Henri Cauchois, June Days by Jean-Baptiste Robie, and Roses by A. T. Furcy de Lavault

Left to Right: Romantic Roses by Eugene Henri Cauchois, June Days by Jean-Baptiste Robie, and Roses by A. T. Furcy de Lavault

Left to Right: Vase of Roses by Pierre Auguste Renoir, Vase of White Roses by Vincent Van Gogh, Roses in a Copper Vase by Claude Monet

Left to Right: Vase of Roses by Pierre Auguste Renoir, Vase of White Roses by Vincent Van Gogh, Roses in a Copper Vase by Claude Monet

Love planted a rose,

and the world turned sweet.

~Katharine Lee Bates

Rosa Jasmina

Rosa Jasmina

Rosa Jasmina

Rosa Jasmina has a nostalgic look and fits right in with antique heirloom roses. Bred by Kordes and registered in 1997, Jasmina looks much older than her years -- and that's a good thing for antique rose lovers!

A pretty mauvey pink, Jasmina is fragrant and hardy, disease resistant, and will tolerate some shade. It is classified as a shrub but can be grown as a climber, reaching to 10 feet or more. The full globular roses bloom in clusters from spring to fall and bloom they do -- last year our Jasminas (we have three) were never without blooms.

my-victorian-garden-growing-heirloom-and-old-fashion-roses

For More About Antique and Heirloom Roses

Please see

Antique Heirloom and Old Garden Roses: Categories & Characteristics

Learn about the intriguing history of the rose and the major categories of antique heirloom roses used to classify old garden roses today. Includes rose quotes, botanical illustrations, and more.

© 2011 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

© 2011 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Photo above was taken at the gardens of Der Rosenmeister in Ithaca, NY. Leon Ginenthal, the owner of Der Rosenmeister, is an expert on cold-hardy disease-resistant roses and our favorite source and resource for historic heirloom and antique style roses.

Show off your Climbing Roses and Ramblers

Climbing roses and ramblers are a great choice if you have limited space because they grow up and take up less of your property. Ramblers need strong support but will be happy covering a shed, climbing a strong trellis on the side of your garage, or even scrambling up a tree (my favorite option). Climbers come in a wider range of styles from miniature climbers that are a mere four feet high to mid-size climbers at 6 to 8 feet and tall climbers from 10 feet tall to as high as 20 or 30 feet.

Picture these Obelisks & Trellises Covered in Roses

Descriptions of each support shown follow below.

Descriptions of each support shown follow below.

Left to Right: Clear Grain Red Cedar Trellis Panel (33” x 83”), Gardman Strong Steel Nature Trellis (16” x 60”), Imax Corp. 100% Iron William Garden Obelisk (12 x 12 x 67”), Luster Leaf Obelisk with Embossed Rings (7.5 ft ), Arboria Copper Top Cedar Pyramid Trellis (48.75”), Panacea Gothic Garden 3-Panel Trellis in Metal with a Powder-Coated Black Finish (60” x 72”), and Arboria Manhattan Obelisk Trellis in Natural Western Red Cedar (56” tall). All from Amazon.com

The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.

~ George William Curtis

© CJS 2012-15. All Rights Reserved.

© CJS 2012-15. All Rights Reserved.

Our Victorian Garden Series

We grow a lot of heirloom plants and should have a lot more to add to these pages and new ones this year.

From the earliest Tulips, Daffodils, and other spring and fall blooming bulbs to Irises, Peonies, Dahlias, Lilies, Roses and other Period Perennials, we hope to create a complete gardening journal page by page right here.

We hope you'll check back frequently to see what's new and to share your gardening adventures with us.

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Thanks for Visiting!

Please tell us a bit about yourself or just sign your name to say hello and let us know you were here.

Do you have a favorite rose?

A tip about rose care you'd like to share?

Or have we convinced you to try growing heirloom roses?

We would really like to know what you think.

© 2012 Chazz

We're Glad You Stopped by for a visit! - Please tell us a bit about yourself

Chazz (author) from New York on May 20, 2015: