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If you live in a warm climate, find an old neighborhood to get roses!

2 months ago

In another thread on here folks were bemoaning the loss of Vivaio S'orrosa, a nursery in Italy which evidently had a great selection of warm climate roses. I just wanted to suggest that if you live in a warm climate, including a Mediterranean climate, and want to collect those types of roses, you can do what I did. Find the oldest nearby neighborhood you can, (best if it has some old houses which have not been remodeled or modernized), and walk around.

I inherited a rose garden which was originally established in 1905, and was actively gardened by 3 generations of my DH's ancestors until the mid 1970s. When we move in about 20 years later, there were 14 old roses still surviving which I have been able to identify, and one which is still a mystery. There were also a few very unhappy and disease ridden mid 20th century HTs, but I don't count those, as they all died away. The other roses, or rooted cuttings of the really ancient ones, are still here, and I love all of them. 9 of them date from 1818 to 1898, and the others are all from the very early 20th century.

So, I got the idea that old roses which had survived in my area were happier in my climate (classic Mediterranean - mild wet winters, warm TOTALLY dry summers) than more modern roses were, and started taking walks around my old (for CA - oldest houses were built in the 1880s, youngest 1920s and 30s) neighborhood. I have collected (I always ask permission, and sometimes people are happy, and sometimes they just don't care, but no one has said "no") 13 more lovely, old warm weather roses, which are now in my garden. I live in an old neighborhood - I got all of these roses from within 3-4 blocks of my house, except 2. Not everyone lives in an old neighborhood, of course. However, if you live where old warm weather roses are happy, I suggest that you find an old neighborhood if you don't live in one, and start taking walks there. I have found these kinds of roses (surviving even if neglected for decades) need little care, and NO spraying, in this sort of climate.

I need to run right now, but maybe tomorrow I can tell you more about the roses I found OUTSIDE of my old garden.


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