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What is your favorite red Old Garden Rose?

15 years ago

These kind of threads are always fun to read, but are less common over here at the Antique Roses Forum. Following that thought I've decided to try my hand at solicitating reports of red Old Garden Roses. I guess we can also include reproduction (ala English) and climbing roses as well.

So what is your favorite R-E-D Old Garden or Reproduction Rose?

I'll start. My favorite red Old Garden Rose is CRAMOISI SUPERIEUR (China, 1832). I've grown this rose for about three years in my mother's zone 7b garden, and each year I like it more-and-more. The small blooms are really pretty and perfect for a boutonnière. Blooms are loosely double, deeply cupped, the inner petals white to cherry pink, outer petals bright red (turns completely red in high heat and direct summer sun). Definitely fragrant, redolent of cherry life-savors candy; moderate to strong in intensity. Weird growth habit - sparsely foliated, wiry canes shooting out in all directions. Attractive in an herb garden but not-so-much in a formal rose garden. A keeper because of the charming flowers, non-stop repeat bloom, and superior disease resistance. Works beautifully with companion plants. Enjoys a high rating in the ARS Handbook of Roses. Purchased own root from Countryside Roses.

I'll add more cultivars as this thread develops.

Image of Cramoisi Superieur by duchesse-nalabama previously posted at the Antique Roses Gallery.


Comments (54)

  • 15 years ago

    The fragrant red HPs, like their HT descendants, are mildewy here -- which ruins them for me.

    I love Cramoisi Superieur -- and the similar Louis Phillipe -- and there's a special place in my heart for 'White Pearl In Red Dragon's Mouth.'

    I wouldn't want to be without "Ragged Robin"

    I'm really high on the old HT, 'Red Radiance' and I still like the HT Barcelona (sold as Francis Dubreuil).
    But I have a feeling that when it grows up, "Bengal Fire" is going to cast them all in the shade.


  • 15 years ago

    greybird, Gruss an Teplitz is the best red also under the bleak northern sun, especially in the fall. It's often the last rose of summer in my Swedish garden. The HP Alfred Colomb comes second.

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  • 15 years ago

    Cramoisi for me, too. Francis D. would get my vote, but it is too small to be a favorite.


  • 15 years ago

    Oh, Jeri, that photo of 'White Pearl in Red Dragon's Mouth' makes we want mine from Vintage to get here quickly.
    While Cramoisi Superieur is my favorite red OGR, it gets huge here and I need something smaller ... WPIRDM looks like the answer!


  • 15 years ago

    I am so happy to hear others sing Cramoisi's praises! It is my favorite rose (red or otherwise). It's not only the pretty, fragrant and plentiful blooms, but the fact that neither the foliage nor the blooms are EVER ruined by aphids, thrips, BS, powdery mildew, etc. I also find that it drys beautifully. I put the new blooms in a small bud vase, let the water dry out and a few days later, I have pretty little dried roses for potpourri, etc.
    I do have a very small rooted cutting of Bengal Fire, and I am hoping it gives Cramoisi competition so I can have 2 beautiful reds.

  • 15 years ago

    My favorites include Charles de Mills with its unique reflexed flower form,
    Souvenir du Dr. Jamain for its beautiful deep color:

    Mme Victor Verdier has scrumptious blooms and scent:

  • 15 years ago

    I guess I would say Charles de Milles too though I am extermely irritated with his suckering.

  • 15 years ago

    Hippolyte and Charles de Mills are mine. Too cold here for Teas. I have been curious about Barcelona/Francis Dubreil but yet to decide who to try for their version.

    Both H and CdM are outstanding despite their once blooming habit. My Hippolyte is truly fabulous, about 10 years old it has become enormous and blooms for a long time. The deepest red with wonderful fragrance

  • 15 years ago

    The Gallica, James Mason for it's huge single maroon red blooms which cover the bush from head to toe for at least 6 weeks! It makes an attractive bushy shrub.


  • 15 years ago

    Oh my! That MADAME VICTOR VERDIER sure is beautiful! And intensely fragrant to boot. She is definitely getting added to my wish list. Lori, is she a decent repeater?

  • 15 years ago

    I don't know exactly how old it has to be for this thread :-), but I have a feeling my favorite red is going to be Souvenir de Claudius Denoyel, which is still a little baby band barely a month old, so nothing much to say about it except that it is gorgeous at the San Jose Heritage Garden. I love the somewhat more informal look and the fragrance.

    Here is a link that might be useful: SdCD at HMF

  • 15 years ago

    Well, ScCD is a hyrbrid tea, so technically too old for this thread :) If it makes you feel any better, I was gonna say Etoile de Hollande.


  • 15 years ago

    I gotta say, that SdCD is perfectly gorgeous. I've got to remember to visit it, when I'm there in May.

    EYE mentioned Red Radiance, which I truly love -- so it's surely fair to mention SdCD, and "Francis Dubreuil," tho it is also a Hybrid Tea Rose.

    I think we should let them slip in, on the grounds that they are "Classic" HTs.

    'Red Radiance,' (HT, U.S., 1916, Gude Bros.)



  • 15 years ago

    Patrick---this is a great post---I'm reading it with great interest.

    I would love to have a really good red rose in my yard----

    and since I LOVE pearls the name WPIRDM sounds great but not in my zone-----Many years ago I had Cl. Don Juan----Mister Lincoln and Crimson Glory but they are too young for this post.


  • 15 years ago

    I shouldn't even post because I don't like red roses at all, unless they are purplish red, like Charles de Mills, which I can't grow in my zone. If I could, that would be my favorite red rose. The only rose I have now that comes close to red is General Tartas, and I'm beginning to like this rose more and more. It's less than a year old but the flowers are already beginning to look large and sumptous.

  • 15 years ago

    Hi! Yes, Mme Victor Verdier is a very good repeater for an H.P. and even survives without spraying.

    If you're going to "slip in" classic HT roses, then I want to include climbing Crimson Glory, which has the best scent to knock your socks off:

  • 15 years ago

    I have a yr. old Louis Phillippe and it did well for a baby. I have White Pearl....on order and can't wait to recieve it. FD is so fragrant but the plant is not pretty and the blooms ALWAYS crisp here. I'm thinking of sp'ing him and moving on. I am considering Archduke Charles and Red Radiance from Countryside. Jeri, is the RR plant prettier or more shapely than FD? Buff

  • 15 years ago

    Buff, I think RR has a beautiful shape. Upright, and full, if left somewhat natural.

    Here you see two plants, likely planted around 1919-1920 on either side of a concrete pathway. They're a couple of weeks past peak bloom, and haven't been pruned in close to a century (or watered, for that matter).
    But even in this state of neglect, you see that they're big, upright, handsome plants.



  • 15 years ago

    Well, I can't grow chinas or teas here in chilly zone 4, but I absolutely adore all my gallicas which most people consider red, but here in my garden they are purple or purple-red...(like Charles de Mills, or Tuscany Superb which for me are deep, dark purple.) So I don't consider them among my reds, although those guys are two of my most beloved roses.

    The following are reds I grow that tend to actually stay red. In looking through my files of my OGR's, it is evident to me that I grow predominately pinks, whites, and purples. I don't have nearly as many reds among my old roses. Even some of my supposed 'red' mosses tend more toward purple-red here.




















    APOTHECARY ROSE, more carmine than red but I love it.


  • 15 years ago

    Cramoisi is a favorite rose, but I am very fond of General Gallieni as well for its bs resistance and overall good health in my garden. Mine will be going into its third year and has never had any sign of disease and during the growing season it always has some blooms.


  • 15 years ago

    Still lookin' ; )

    If Francis Dubreuil ever grows up it could be him.

  • 15 years ago

    hoovb--where did you get your EdB? It sounds like a winner. On the Vintage website, it says that Le Grand Capitaine is what is being passed around as EdB, but the website claims the scent is 'light.' This does not fit the description of your EdB, so I would love to get this smelly rose from your purveyor. Thank you.


  • 15 years ago

    Oh, these are so beautiful. Cramoisi has become a favorite of mine also. I think I must have Victor Verdier, Pierre Notting, Henry Nevard, and Chianti. A red I really love is Louis XIV, which is a China. It is usually a very dark, blackish red but can be purplish sometimes. It blooms all the time, is very fragrant, and gets little bs.

  • 15 years ago

    I want to thank everybody for their wonderful posts. Those red Hybrid Perpetuals sure do look delicious. Two that I've made notes to investigate further are MADAME VICTOR VERDIER & PIERRE NOTTING. Another red Hybrid Perpetual that I've had my eye on is ECLAIR. It comes highly recommended by Peter Beales. Among the warm garden roses I've got the crimson Tea SOUVENIR DE FRANCOIS GAULAIN on order for spring delivery. I can't wait to see how he does in mom's garden.

    Now as for my garden, lets move on to the reproduction roses. David Austin has been trying to breed a good crimson* rose for years, with the result that he has a lot to offer in this color range. Among his many crimson roses my favorite by far is WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE 2000. It is a rose that I simply could not live without. The flowers are incredible in both size, perfect Old Garden Rose flower formation, and fragrance. Yes, yes the fragrance isn't as strong as some of David's other crimson roses, but the quality of the bouquet is superb. Sometimes quality beats out quantity, and it certainly does in this instance. Think classic Damask but with a mellow base note that smells like cherry wood and an achingly sweet top note redolent of violets. There are even hints of ripe blackberries. Very-very complex. You could spend hours smelling it and not get all the elements down. The only downside is the variability. There are times when the scent moves into the light to moderate intensity range. B-U-T most of the time the fragrance is strong and when it is truly "ON" the perfume is so delicious, so intoxicating, so refined, that you will wish it could be bottled. As for the blooms, if you remove the side buds the flowers become enormous. Color is a velvety candy apple red that turns rich imperial purple in cool weather. Good vase life (something that can't be said for many Austins), and fantastic repeat bloom. The shrub is wider than tall and has that "old rose" quality we look for in the English Roses but don't always get. It does have a couple of faults though. First, the thorns, although small, are very sharp and plentiful. WS2000 has scratched me badly on numerous occasions. Second, the black spot resistance is poor. In zone 6b Maryland this rose will completely defoliate without the application of fungicides. If you are willing to spray once every two weeks during the growing season then I say go ahead and get it. The flowers will positively make your heart sing.

    *Crimson is basically dark red but with slight purple tones. Buds and just matured blooms are usually candy apple red, but as the flower ages the purple tones intensify finishing up in a color range varying from velvety burgundy to magenta to rich imperial purple.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Susan's (Tivoli Rose) WS2000

  • 15 years ago

    I can't improve on Patrick's comments about WS2000 but I will agree with what he says. He enabled me into this rose and I have loved it ever since. It reminds me of Charles de Mills, which I also love. I have two planted on either side of an arbor. I never intended for them to climb it but they seem to think that's what they are supposed to do. I don't have the same degree of problems with bs on him and I haven't been one to spray regularly. I didn't even at all last year. Mine had some bs last year but nothing really bad.

  • 15 years ago

    Don't you like it when Patrick does a write-up on a rose cultivar?
    No one does a better, more complete job.
    After reading the description, I feel like I "know" the rose.
    And it is REALLY helpful in deciding if that rose might or might not be a good choice for me.
    Once again ... thanks, Patrick!


  • 15 years ago

    Finnicky, shy blooming David Austin. No longer in commerce. Early blooms are large and luscious, thorns are wicked. Thick stiff angular stems that try to climb. A deep red bordering on purple. As far as single swoon-worthy blooms go this rose is tops with me. In a cooler climate the bush would probably be much healthier and more eager to grow.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Othello rose

  • 15 years ago

    I grew an Othello in a half wine barrel. Tough one, but the flowers are amazing in color, form and scent. The wine barrel was the wrong place for it, and it was thorny, painful and unhappy there, and still!


  • 15 years ago

    How about:

    Gruss an Teplitz

    Souvenir du Docteur Jamain

    Rose du Roi (of commerce)

    James Veitch

    I just planted Eugenie Guinoisseau and Deuil de Paul Fontaine, which are supposed to be dark red. I can hardly wait to see a bloom. It is just too difficult to choose only one.


  • 15 years ago

    Now for my favorite red rose of all. Drum roll please ... ROUGE ROYALE (Hybrid Tea, 2000)

    I love ROUGE ROYALE because it is a top notch cut flower. As you can see from the images the quartered flower form is utter perfection. Never is a petal out of place. The blooms are also H-U-G-E! I've seen flowers that were the size of my outstretched hand. Amazing. The color is phenomenal: a rich ruby red that doesn't "blue" like so many other dark red Hybrid Teas. Then there is the petal texture: velvety on the top with a satiny reverse. Absolutely, positively gorgeous. Petals are also stiff with substance. Properly conditioned cut flowers will easily last a week in a vase. Loooooooong straight, strong stems. And don't get me started on the fragrance: intense and complex, rivaling such classics as General Jacqueminot and Souvenir du Docteur Jamain. The burgundy turned dark green leathery foliage is a perfect foil for the sumptuous flowers and the bush has a nice shape to boot. Trust me folks, this is THE true red reproduction rose we've all been looking for. If I had the room I'd grow five of these smoldering beauties.

    As fantastic as the following images are, they don't do the rose justice. The color truly is a vivid, rich, ruby red.

    Image of Rouge Royale by CelestialRose, previously posted at the Roses Forum.

    Image of Rouge Royale by Carolfm, previously posted at the Roses Forum.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Rouge Royale at HelpMeFind Roses

  • 15 years ago

    Hi everybody

    So many beautiful roses !

    My favorite the last years have been Charles Lefebvre. Color can fade in strong sun, but in slight shade and cloudy wheater it can be spectacular.

  • 15 years ago

    My favorites are General Cavaignac, Fisher Holmes, and Arthur de Sansal. These are the most dependable with respect to rebloom, but they all have their problems either with blackspot or dislike for winter.

    How is the rebloom on Duke of Edinburgh?

  • 15 years ago

    Patrick, your descriptions are just so tempting ....even though I don't usually like red roses, maybe, just maybe...

  • 15 years ago

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Maggie. Such a beautiful rose, intriguing fragrance, good, healthy growth, and a beautiful red.


  • 15 years ago

    I grew Francis Dubreuil in a container back up in Green Bay, WI and overwintered it successfully in our unheated attached garage. I've been tempted to get it again here but I fear its flowers would fry in the hot Florida sun. :-(

  • 15 years ago

    Can any of you rose lovers please tell me where I can find Mme Victor Verdier? I am having a hard time finding her. I'm looking for a crimson rose, ideally with double fragrant, repeating blooms to train on my 5 ft picket fence. (Some shade tolerance would be a big plus) Any sugestions?

    Thank you!


  • 15 years ago

    I'm not having a lot of luck with the red roses, but perhaps that's because I've strayed off the Old Garden path on this one.

    Erotica is not, irrespective of what Botanica says, disease free. Illusion is pretty good, being red, disease resistant and all, but not extremely fragrant. She also wants to grow in 12 different directions at the same time, with the thorns & other associated feminine wiles to get her way.

    Some roses that others note before seem to work for me, too, though - Rose de Rescht calmly maintains her dimunitive pose, but repeatedly has very lovely, very fragrant blooms. And James Mason seems to be all that is claimed; very nice for those of us who don't mind nonremontancy.

    I think off & on of CRAMOISI SUPERIEUR - but how does it handle part shade? And is it only hardy to zone 7b (if so, that would be borderline here)?

    I don't see any red Austin in my future (irrespective of laudits to WS 2000 to the contrary), due to the spray requirement factor (which I'm not sure of, anyway, based on what I've seen of Heritage & Constance Spry).

    Vintage has Mme Victor Verdier (custom root).

  • 15 years ago

    "Ulrich Brunner fils" H.P. 1881
    I love its gracefully arching canes and the heavy goblet shaped roses that nod their heads enough for me to appreciate the silvery-rose reverse sides of the petals that makes this rose appear something more complex than a red hue alone would.
    Fire engine red is my least loved color, and so I love the borderline rose-red hues of the Old Garden Tea, "General Galliani", when it is in bud it appears almost completely rose-red.
    I do love the rich Damask fragrance of crimson "Barcelona" which masquerades under the name of 'Frances Dubreuil', it is the scent that makes me believe it is an H.T., a fragrance of pure Damask rose, If I understand it right,Old Garden Teas are not descended from a Damask rose unless they are one of the Bourbon-Teas.
    "Gloire des Rosomanes" 1825 Vibert. This cultivar says Old Rose to me more than any other red rose, for its appearance, not the fact that it was one of the earliest red remontant roses bred in the West.

    great thread, thanks M.

  • 15 years ago

    THE DR. , OF COURSE!!! (Jamain, not Huey)

  • 15 years ago

    Can Rouge Royal/Caruso handle hot direct sun, or does it crisp like so many velvety reds?

  • 15 years ago

    Wow! Patrick really does deserve the title of Evil Enabler that you have given him.

    Jeri, I can't believe that picture of Red Radiance. I might get serious about that one.

    I've thought about Rouge Royale for a bit, but am afraid it won't do well no-spray.

    My favorite old red rose was mislabelled as Archduke Charles(see the Name That Rose Forum to help me ID it!) so I can't vote. Looks a lot like Patrick's Cramoisi though and I bet that's what it is.

  • 15 years ago

    Oh my gosh, another one of those to die for threads. That HT Crimson Glory looks like velvet!

    Of what it may be possible to grow here, I love my Dark Lady, Thomas Fleck isn't doing so well but looks great in photos, and was talking to a southern gal here last year who grew perfect, I mean perfect (she sprayed) Benjamin Britten, something like that.

  • 15 years ago

    I'm glad to see this thread resurface.
    Another red Old Garden Rose that I've enjoyed this spring is:

    White Pearl in Red Dragon's Mouth

  • 15 years ago

    I'd like to put in a good word for Tradescant. Not sure if I can say it's my favorite, but I wouldn't be without it. I can't seem to figure out how to post pics, but I know Patrick (my enabler on that one) has some incredible pics of it that might be nice to add to this thread.

    General Jacqueminot might actually be my fave - at any rate, every time I see it I say that. Trouble is, it is very prone to BS. But, oh, the perfection of color (whitish-bluish blush backing) and nodding, full blooms...

    Celeste - love your pic of General Washington. It has long been on my wish list, but I have hesitated to get it, since so many HPs have disease problems and (to me) awkward plant habits. Is it a lot of trouble?...

    Souv. du Dr. Jamain is the second most remarked upon rose in my garden the first being Jude the Obscure). Smoldering, saturated, and trouble-free. I call it my Dr. Huey substitute. Am I the only one who actually really likes the old doctor? They are in bloom all around town right now, and I can't go anywhere in the car without taking long detours just to see them all. I know they'll look like hell in a few weeks, after bloom, but gosh, so will some of my HPs! :)

    Call me a simpleton, but Dr. Huey was actually the rose responsible for my interest in old roses. Since childhood I loved that mysterious, arching old rose that graced so many of the older houses around here. If I could only have one, I thought... Well, when I grew up and moved back to my small hometown, I went searching on the web for that old thing. Couldn't find it anywhere. But, I found lots of other gorgeous, smelly old roses and lovely specialty nurseries and this wonderful, helpful forum. And it was here that I finally learned the identity of my first rose obsession. And nobody likes it. Why? I still don't have one (nearly acquired one a couple of weeks ago, but that's another long story...), but sometimes when I drive about town, looking at all the spectacular Dr. Hueys, I think just for a moment that maybe my grand, elaborate rose show is still not the equal of a single mature specimen of the reviled old doctor. Am I just crazy? Over-romanticizing my first rose love? Or are there others who appreciate this rose too?

    With humble pleas for tolerance of my heretical views,
    robiniaquest (or should it be Dr. Hueyquest?)

  • 15 years ago

    Dr. Hueyquest -

    I am possibly the only one who will agree with you on this. Dr. Huey is the reason I got into OGRs. I found his remains (a few spindly sticks) at my sister's house, in a total shade spot at the side of the house. There had been a yellow rose there years before, and I thought the sticks must be what was left, so I "rescued" it. Imagine my surprise the next Spring, when what was now a nicely growing little potted shrub blossomed out with an absolutely beautiful dark, plummy, velvety red rose with gorgeous gold stamens. At that time I only knew Old Roses from pictures that I had swooned over in books, and from a couple of blossoms that a boss of mine had brought into the office years before. I looked through the only Old Rose book I had and posted my first post on the Antique Roses forum, asking if it could possibly be Apothecary's Rose or The Velvet Rose (the book was Clair Martin's 100 Old Roses for the American Garden), those two looking the most like mine to my uneducated gaze (there was actually a photo of Dr. Huey in the book, but it didn't look much like my rose). I got back some very kind answers (as well as a few not so kind answers), and it seemed pretty clear that what I had was Dr. Huey. I wanted to keep it and grow it in a pot (my only option), but the information from the forum made it pretty clear that this was a rose that needed ROOM and would never be okay in a pot. I couldn't bring myself to actually throw it in the trash, so I compromised and put the pot on the ground near the trash cans when we put them on the curb, and LO AND BEHOLD - someone took it home with him/herself. Someone ELSE who liked the doctor (or at least liked getting a free rose). Meanwhile, I stayed with the forum, learned a lot, and ordered a few plants from Vintage Gardens. I had been - what's the word - ENABLED...

    But there will always be a place in my heart for Dr. H.

  • 15 years ago

    I actually don't have any true OGR besides Zephirine, but purchased a handful of austins and have WS2000 who is blooming as we speak. Quite interesting as his bloom seems about literally half the size of Pat Austin's(who is absolutely gorgeous as the moment). I will be interested to see how WS2000 blooms out as his bud FULLY blooms out(only about 1/4 the way there). Definitely a velvety burgundy as Patrick described....quite an interesting shade of deep, yet so bright and vibrant. Reminds of a neon crimson. is your Red Eden doing? I am making a small separate arbor out front JUST for red and white eden. My red is still in the pot, but had about 10 buds and one in the process of blooming. I'm quite excited to see the bloom on eden as I love the color and high petaled bloom with a cup shape in it. How big is it getting for you sizewise? Interested as I'm putting it on a 7' tall arbor.

    A true red rose is invaluable to me. It's a must have rose for me always.(Pat Austin has become a must have as well...even if it isn't red).

  • 15 years ago

    A second vote for James Mason. He's in his second year from a band for me, and what an incredible rose! Stunning, brilliant RED red blooms.

    I thought I loved it the first year when it just had a few blooms. Now it's moving up to my short list of favorites!

  • 15 years ago

    Yolanda T'Aragon started blooming in its third year and it is kind of dark red. Patrick enabled me to buy Tradescant which is also dark red and one of the few Austins to survive the winter. I also have Rose de Rescht which has good rebloom and nice old rose fragrance. Gen. Jack is in its second year and hasn't bloomed yet. The Prince, WS2K and Rouge Royale did not survive here.

  • 15 years ago

    My most favorite red rose is a climber that reached 2 stories on an old house back home in South Wales, NY. I'm sorry to say that I have no idea what her name was- she was covered in dark red roses, with the most enchanting rose perfume.... It could have been planted when the home was built, nearly 100 yrs ago... been trying to look for her, but no luck.... anyone ever heard or seen of one like her? (sigh) would love to have one....

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