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The 10 roses I miss the most.......warning: pictures!

15 years ago

Hi everyone,

I was going to post this over on the gallery but it seems to be a ghost town of late.

In the midst of yet another snowstorm today I was longing for my beloved old roses, and it got me to thinking about which of them I miss the most. For me here in zone 4, I won't see the first roses blooming until the second week of June for the very earliest roses (rugosas, spinosissimas) and not till the 3rd week for the others to start. That still seems like an eternity away.

Over the years, I have often been asked which old roses are my favorites and I can usually name the top ten with no problem, but after that it becomes "ALL of them". I really love them all....they are my rose children....and it seems unfair to select favorites. But sometimes its kind of fun to ponder which roses we love the most and why.

I did not include any of my 'found' roses, because they are perhaps the dearest to my heart and totally irreplaceable. I have so many beautiful old roses whose identities are unknown, and yet they are priceless to me.

I couldn't even begin to pick favorites there, save for one that I call "Pompom" which is the sweetest, cutest little rose I have ever known. Florence knows the one I am referring to!

(I apologize to anyone who has dial-up if this post is

heavy on photos.....)

I would love to hear what roses you all grow that are the top roses in YOUR heart.

Blessings to all,



Charles is Number 1 in my heart because when I first started researching Old Roses I couldn't get past the photo of Charles de Mills. I would stare at that picture in awe and astonishment, not truly believing that any rose could have that form, that color, that many swirling petals. And even though the years have passed and I have gone on to obtain & love many, many roses....Charles remains Number One. He was my first love.

I have 3 bushes (which is unheard of for me, because of lack of space and wanting so many different roses) and I anticipate those fat, round buds opening in late June like a kid at Christmas. He still mesmerizes me after all these years. Charles has my heart, forever.



It wasn't hard to pick my Number Two rose, especially since her soft, sweet fragrance is unforgettable. This is the rose I stick my nose into most often, and whose demure beauty keeps me praising God that He loved us so much He created roses. This is THE ultimate old rose. Her perfume which intoxicates, her dream-like beauty, her excellent winter-hardiness and lovely foliage....she is perfection itself. I recall sniffing deeply into the last bloom of the season last early July, knowing that I would have to wait another long year to know the pleasure again....and even though the wait is excruciating....SHE is so worth it.



Yet another Alba, and another unforgettable fragrance! She is the softest blush pink, just as her name suggests (and even her name is alluring!). Sometimes I feel compelled to touch her petals, almost to caress them, they are so delicate and lovely. She has a fragrance that is never over-powering, just that pure, angelic Alba sweetness with a touch of baby powder. She conjures up images of cherubs and fluffy clouds leading to heaven....she is the angel of the rose kingdom.



In my soil, Tuscany Superb is always deep, royal purple. He reminds me of a King, stately and regal in his robe.

My plant of it is immense and festoons itself for weeks with the grandest, deepest, darkest blooms imaginable. I am totally smitten with this rose and it is one of my most photographed.

I had no dilemna choosing this rose as my Number 3 favorite. This rose is KING!



Those Gallicas & Albas reign supreme in my garden! It certainly helps that they are my hardiest and lowest maintenance, but there's something magical about them that makes them my favorites. I grow MANY and it was hard to choose but a few. Nestor was new to me last year, yet already look at where he stands! For me here, he is consistently a soft shade of lavender-purple with a wonderful form and shape. It was LOVE at first sight!

I predict a long and lasting relationship.



Here we go again with another Gallica! But this one is something extraordinary, even if one doesn't quite fancy gallicas in general. Those stripes are hypnotic and single petals never looked so striking! All that jazz, plus rich history too.


BELLE AMOUR (probably ALBA)......

There is something about this rose that speaks to my heart.

It came to live in my rose paradise by accident. My DH had ordered 4 of the Alba "Celeste" (my name) as a gift to me, which is what got me into growing old roses. Because they were bareroot, they didn't bloom until year three, which is when I found out they were mislabled and were "Belle Amour" instead. At first, it was a little disappointing that they weren't my namesake rose, but they won me over with their charm, grace and tough constitution.

They have a shell-like beauty to their petals and when the sun shines through them their beauty is astounding. Their scent is strong and spicy; some refer to it as myrrh-like, but I enjoy it.



This rose and I have a relationship not unlike the relationship I have with my teenage daughter. On the one hand, this rose is so beautiful and charming that I have to catch my breath sometimes.....and on the other hand, thorns so vicious that one false move and I could be torn to shreds. She is by far my thorniest rose and when winds whip her long, arching canes of torture about she seems to delight in the bloody scratches she causes. But on quieter days, when the wind is calm and I tread carefully, she evokes such amazement in me....that something so tough in one respect can be so gentle in its beauty.

Her striping is soft and demure, not at all flashy or bold. She commands attention because of her supreme loveliness, and it is that beauty that makes me love her, thorns and all.



This rose reminds me of a sumptuous patchwork quilt. There are patches of many shades and tones of purples and mauves in each bloom, and the effect is quite charming.

She came to me through a trade and I am delighted to have

her in my garden. Jenny livens up the garden and keeps my "guy" Gallicas, Charles and Nestor, happy.



Last but not least, there is Yolande....a stately rose with a drop-dead gorgeous presence and fragrance. Her perfume is unforgettable, strong and pure old rose. There were so many other roses I would like to add to this list which are just as wonderful in their own way, but Yolande always calls to me from across the lawn, beckoning me with the promise of sweet heaven in every inhale. I can never

get past her section of the garden without visiting her, again and again. This is a rose that commands attention.




Of course....I can't leave MY rose off my list! But to put her first would seem too arrogant of me since we share the same name, same tall stature, same cold-hardiness, same low-maintenance attitude. We even share the same month....she blooms on my birthday! And she is pink, my favorite color....but no ordinary pink. Her pink is luminous, glowing, and ethereal....celestial. A rose aptly named! Her fragrance and her beauty are nothing short of heavenly.


To all my beloved roses whose names I didn't mention.....

you are all beautiful in my eyes!

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