History of the Rose
The rose is undoubtedly the worlds favourite flower and is probably grown in every country that the climate allows. Roses have a long and colourful history, and according to fossil evidence the rose could be 35 million years old. Today there are well over 30,000 varieties of roses world wide and they have quite a complicated but interesting family tree.
There are so many types of roses that the choice can often be bewildering. In the UK the most commonly grown are the Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Miniatures, and Dwarfs. (The smaller roses are now often all commonly known as Patio Roses.) There are Climbers, Ramblers, Patio Climbers, Shrub Roses, Modern Shrub Roses, Old Fashioned Shrub Roses, English Roses etc. The choice is huge and the novice rose enthusiast can find it all most confusing. By understanding a little of the history of the rose it should help you choose the most suitable rose for you. Most roses today derive from about 100 species of rose, few of which are grown today. Most of our modern garden roses are hybrids but there are still a few species roses in cultivation.
Roses became synonymous with the worst excesses of the Roman Empire when the peasants were reduced to growing roses instead of food in order to satisfy the demands of their rulers. Early European roses were probably forms of R.gallica, a native of Europe found from France to the Caucasus. Gallicas are compact roses with fragrant flowers that occur in a variety of shades from white to pink to red and in single and double flowered forms. The exact geographical origin of R.gallica is unknown, but there are references to it by the Persians in the 12th century BC where they regarded it as a symbol of love and commitment,
Among the first and still widely grown is 'Oficinalis' a pink semi-double introduced into France from the Middle East by 13th century crusaders. Also known as 'The Apothecary's Rose and 'The Red Rose Of Lancaster' 'Versicolor' or Rosa Mundi is a pink and white flowered sport of 'Officinalis' that dates from around 1580. 'Charles de Mills', a deep red double with distinctive flat. Circular flowers is typical of the gallica style and among the most popular. The damask roses (R.gallica x R, moschata and R.gallica x R. Phoenicea) and the bicolour form of R, kokanica known as the yellow rose of Asia are generally regarded as the ancestors of most of the European hybrids. The significance of the yellow rose of Asia lies in its colour there are no deep yellow roses native to Europe and the fact that it readily produces bicolour yellow and red forms.