Monday, April 19, 2010

Meanwhile in Europe...

 (Photo names at bottom)

Many European rose breeding firms continued to keep their Garden Rose and Exhibition/Cut Flower lines very separate. They bred roses for the cut flower industry and a totally separate line of Garden Roses. The German firm of Kordes and Söhne is a prime example as is the French firm of Delbard.  And some like Peter Beales Roses in the UK simply bred only Garden Roses. But these Garden Roses were mostly confined to Europe where the line between them and Cut Flower/Exhibition Varieties was kept fairly distinct. In addition Europe and most of the rest of the world has always had an aversion to chemicals for the home market.

In the latter part of the 20th century as the U.S. became more environmentally aware, many chemicals were thankfully being taken off the market. While some fine Hybrid Teas were able to thrive without them, many that up to now could only be grown with cheap, but now disappearing chemicals, began to flounder. Since those roses had been marketed and sold at the expense of the true Garden Roses it meant many a home gardener was suddenly faced with a plant that was difficult to grow, wouldn’t flourish and in many instances died off within a few years.  Sound familiar!

Roses began to get the reputation as being fussy, weak and needing a great deal of care. Suddenly June Cleaver in her pearls was our grandmothers slaving over her roses and we didn’t want to have to work that hard!

That gardeners were beginning to look for easier to grow roses is evidenced in the resurgent interest in the Old Garden Roses during this time. Old Garden Roses had a reputation for being disease resistant and easy to grow. Something they had earned because over time because the poor ones had disappeared and the stronger ones survived. I would suspect in 100 years the Hybrid Tea class will have gone through the same process and someone reading this will wonder what the fuss is all about!

In the 1990s the David Austin Roses took flight in this country. They not only had an old-fashioned look and could be planted amongst other plants but they also had fragrance. They were marketed as Garden Roses and once again the line between Garden Roses and Cut Flower/Exhibition Roses began to strongly emerge once again in the U.S.

Photos From the Top
Alfred Sisly - Delbard Rose
Cardinal de Richelieu - Old Garden Rose - Gallica
Sir John Mills - Beales Rose
Graham Thomas - David Austin Rose


  1. You mention Kordes and Sonne (Sun) but it should read Kordes and Sohne (Sons). Never mind, again some great info and background info that helps in selecting and appreciating a rose!

    Rose greetings from Georgia,


  2. Thank you for catching that misspelling!