About roses

The world's favourite flower

A rose is a woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, in the family Rosaceae, or the flower it bears.

There are over three hundred species and tens of thousands of cultivars.

Roses form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing, or trailing, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds.

Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa. Species, cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown for their beauty and often are fragrant.

Roses have acquired cultural significance in many societies.

Rose plants range in size from compact, miniature roses, to climbers that can reach seven meters in height. Different species hybridise easily, and this has been used in the development of the wide range of garden roses.

Roses have been enjoyed by gardeners for thousands of years and much literature and poems have been written about them.

Dean Reynolds Hole who started the first national rose society, wrote:

"He who would grow beautiful roses must have them in his heart"

Roses are the most favoured flower worldwide and much mystique has surrounded their care with most writers aiming at perfection.

Contrary to views expressed in many rose books and, by so-called gardening experts, roses are easy to maintain and will enhance any garden.

The Rose Society UK has produced a book called All About Roses which is available from the shop (add link); it has been prepared to give the reader information on modern garden roses, Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, Patio, Climbing Roses, etc.

Types of Roses

Roses come with different flowers and habits and these have been, for general garden purpose, loosely grouped into several categories:

Hybrid Tea (HT) roses are often referred to as Large Flowered (LF) roses. Their flowers are, as the name implies, large, occasionally over 15 cm, usually singly or in small clusters of up to 3 buds, sometimes up to 6

Floribunda Roses often referred to as Cluster Flowered (CF) roses which as their name implies carry larger clusters of 6 to often 30 of small to medium size flowers per stem. Flowers can be single to very full in many different shapes.

Patio Roses are often referred to as Dwarf Cluster Flowered (DCF) roses. Patio Roses carry very large clusters of small to medium sized flowers and usually do not exceed 60 cm in height. Flowers can be single to very full in many different shapes. They are ideal for planting in a border, large rose beds or containers.

Modern Repeat Flowering Shrub or Classic Roses (S), referred to by many different names. Many of the roses developed by Austin roses have these characteristics.

Climbing-Large Flowered, Patio Climbers and Repeat Flowering Rambling Roses produce flushes of flowers from late spring until frost in small to large clusters; the larger the cluster the smaller the flower.

Once Flowering Ramblers are mostly vigorous, once flowering roses; some produce shoots up to 30m long. Their flowers are mostly small, carried in large clusters and many produce hips. They are ideal for covering large structures and several can be grown into trees.

Once Flowering Climbing Roses produce, mostly in June, one display of flowers, mostly larger than ramblers, in small or medium sized clusters. Their height varies with some reaching up to 5m.

Miniature Roses produce flowers singly or in clusters on a compact bush, normally less than 35cm in height. Flowers can be single to very full, and foliage and stems are also usually in keeping with the small blooms.

Miniflora Roses produce flowers either singly or in clusters on compact to medium size bushes; their bloom size usually ranging from a large miniature to a small HT.

Groundcover Roses or Prostrate Roses come with many different habits from arching shrubs to shrubs with branches hugging the ground.

Species Roses are wild roses, which are only native to the Northern Hemisphere. Only a few are native to the British Isles, most are found in Asia. Few are in the ancestry of modern roses, though more recently breeders have brought several unused species into their breeding programme.