June 15, 2012
One of the most popular and enduring of all garden flowers is the rose. It also happens to be my favorite flower. The romance of this ancient flower appeals to my dreamy nature. I have to say though, of all the different types of roses, I love the antique varieties the most. Antique or heritage roses are considered to be the varieties in existence before 1867, which is the date the first official hybridized rose was introduced. Their fragrance is amazing, and the flowers are so full of petals that I often wonder how they can hold them all.
Roses have been around since ancient times and were probably first cultivated in China. They were prized for their fragrance during Roman times, and during the seventeenth century, roses were even used as currency in some circles. They were cultivated in the Middle East along the Silk Route and harvested to make attar of roses or rose oil, which was used in perfumes. That part of the world still produces most of the world’s rose oil today.
A lot of people are afraid to grow roses because they’ve heard that they are very persnickety and difficult. I have found that they are pretty rugged and fairly easy-to-grow. That being said, they aren’t care-free. They want good soil and plenty of water, air, and sunshine. There are many varieties available that are hardy here in our zone 5 area, both the hybrid tea and vintage varieties. If you have fertile, well-drained soil in an area that gets at least six hours of sun a day you, too, can grow roses. There are lots of books on gardening with roses at MCPL to get you started.
Lee's Summit Branch