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October 19, 2015

Kendal at Home Member Story: Creating an Antique Roseshow

Who doesn’t enjoy looking at a beautiful rose? Kendal at Home member Judith’s interest in the blooms began after she read about a rose with a fragrance so strong it had been the source of attar for centuries. After doing some more reading about other varieties that had fragrance, subtle color and distinctive blossom configurations, she was intrigued.

Never having cared for roses, Judith’s new interest led her to purchase 10 different varieties. Her new roses were such a success she began adding more. Judith grows antique roses — varieties that existed before 1867. Any rose bred after that date is considered a “modern” rose. Of the modern rose, Judith notes:

“The new Hybrid Tea rose looked quite different from the old varieties in that they displayed a single rose at the end of a stem rather than clusters on a stem; their flower was multi-petaled but more elongated than round, and restrained in size. They were also recurrent, blooming several times over the season. And they attained colors that had never been a part of the antique palette.

“But in developing these favored traits in Hybrid Teas, breeders sacrificed fragrance, distinctive muted or subtle colors, and the beautiful ‘cabbage-rose’ shape of many old varieties.”

Judith maintains a website — www.mozartsroses.com — that shares photos and information about the antique rose varieties in her garden.

If you’re interested in growing antique roses, here are a few things you should know from the Antique Rose Emporium.

  • Antique roses are tougher and more resilient than modern varieties. The Antique Rose Emporium points out many varieties have been growing in neighborhoods or cemeteries without any additional care from humans.
  • Roses do best when planted with other plants like annuals, perennials and herbs. They enjoy full sun exposure and do not like being relegated to small rectangular flower beds.
  • Unlike modern varieties, antique roses are much more forgiving when it comes to pruning. A simple shaping of the rose bush is all that’s needed.

Editor’s note: Portions of this member story came from Le Chat, an award-winning Kendal at Home member publication. Le Chat is authored by Kendal at Home members and is produced quarterly.

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