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What's wrong with calling them OGR?

12 years ago

Since there was a bit of reflection regarding popularity and value of OGRs lately, it got me thinking a bit, why English rose as a marketing label wins so badly over the term Old Garden Rose. To the point that many retailers (including Austins themselves) label OGRs as English roses, rather than promoting them separately. I saw nurseries rename OGR section of the catalog to "cold hardy"(for albas), "italian"(for teas) roses or move them among the moderns all together, instead of having a separate tag.

Obviously there is something about the term "old garden roses" that somehow fails to capture people's imagination, otherwise we won't be having a discussion why these perfectly good roses are not popular.

One thing that I came across as somewhat annoying is that at times it is rather difficult to use term OGR and be clear without having to write a lecture, what kind of roses do you mean. Especially annoying in a context when you speak about bringing old garden roses over from your old garden. :D

I think that there is no public knowledge anymore what passes for an old garden rose. Remember, when we talk about early moderns, that is something from good 100+ years back. Early moderns is what people can remember as roses that were back then, there is no wide spread memory of the gardens overgrown with albas, galicas, teas only. Besides that, HT shape as a cut flower is what most people consider to be a rose, there is no image or association to the OGR as a cut flower in the living memory, although it should have been that good 200 years back, especially in colder climates.

Then there is another issue, that most ordinary gardeners are not fluent in latin and get easily lost among the rather weird - for them - rose class terms. I managed to make my parents remember the term moss rose, for the obvious quality that sets it apart, but I can as well beat my head against the wall trying to make them remember difference between tea, hybrid tea, floribunda, polyantha or hybrid perpetual. Seriously, each time I say tea, I can almost see a cloud poofing about someones head with an image of a tea cup and cookies, or a tea box decorated with a random rose image at the best.

So, by now my parents have abouts 30 OGRs in their garden, very happy about them, but when they tell their friends about it, those are roses from nursery X, that our daughter told us to buy from. Those roses are "like the old roses", but by that they mean older fragrant HTs, which they remember receiving as cut flowers, vs modern florist HTs which often are fragrantless (and which are referred to as greenhouse roses in the cold climate).

So the point of the whole essay is that perhaps the nurseries who move OGRs to the general rose category rather than labeling them OGRs do a better job spreading the old cultivars, than those labeling them separately, in 10 or so different classes that most people would be lazy to go through anyways. After all, if the list is longer than one page, "too long, did not read" applies.

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