The Garden rose is known as the “queen of flowers.” It is the symbol of grace and beauty, the emblem of kings and paradise, an ingredient of magic and medicine, an architectural embellishment and a decoration on money. It is the inspiration of poetic verse and endless declarations of love.
Roses unfurled their scented petals before mankind existed. Fossils found in Colorado and Oregon are estimated to be 32 million years old, and there are records of rose breeding in Asia and Europe from more than 2,000 years ago. Today, there are hundreds of rose species and more than 30,000 cultivars.
Probably the most popular garden roses of today are those with strong fragrance, huge petal counts and large flower heads. There are many varieties like this for today’s gardens bred by major houses like David Austin Roses from England, Rosen Tantau from Germany, and Meilland from the south of France.
Until recently, none of these “Garden Varieties” were available as cut flowers because these roses tend to have a poor shelf and vase life. Lately however, major hybridizers have made an effort to breed garden varieties with better shelf and vase life resulting in those few varieties available selectively today.
Over the last 12 years, hybridizers have developed and released “garden” rose varieties that meet the demands of the cut flower industry. They are different from traditional hybrid tea roses because they have strong fragrance and high petal counts, and they form sprays of large flower heads. The blossoms explode into large, peony-like flowers and have rich, musky, spicy or fruity scents.
Roses are members of the Rosaceae family. Although the genus Rosa is a relatively small group within the family, it is one of the most economically important, encompassing relatives that feed, clothe, shelter and medicate us. The family includes pears, plums, strawberries, Cotoneaster and mountain ash.
Wonderful for event work and weddings, the Meilland Garden Roses include spray and standard roses all with large heads, huge petal counts and amazing fragrance.
Small spray white roses are being used for bride bouquets, the peony looking Yves Piaget line for center arrangements or combine them all for exceptional designs and breathtaking pieces.
Tomorrow, I will finish this Rose series with Common Problems in Cut Roses & Solutions.