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Earth-Kind Roses: Old Garden Roses

Rose Reve d OrOld garden roses are those types that existed prior to 1867 when the first hybrid tea, ‘La France’ was introduced. These roses were generally extolled for their form and fragrance but many bloomed only once. Earth Kind is a modern designation given to any rose that could meet exacting cultivation standards, no matter when it first appeared, so includes old garden roses as well as modern ones. The criteria for the designation Earth Kind include tolerance of heat, drought and a variety of soil types, as well as the ability to be grown without pesticides, fungicides, or fertilizers, once established. Although many Earth Kind roses are Polyanthas, four types of old garden roses are also included: Bourbon, China, Tea and Noisette.

The roses described below are old garden roses that also carry the designation of Earth-Kind and although they vary in some significant ways they are all are low maintenance roses.

‘Ducher’
Ducher2Unusual for China roses, ‘Ducher’ has white flowers sometimes with a blush of very pale pink. The flowers are carried singly at first but in sprays later in the season, and are long, slender, and somewhat pendulant. The compact twiggy bush is rounded and has small dark leaves. A good choice for a container as well as in the border.

Type: China
Color: White
Flower Size: 1.6-2.75”
Petal Count: Very double
Plant Size: 2-6’ H x 2-5’ W
Flowering: Flushes
Scent: Moderate, fruity
Hardiness: Zones 7-9
ARS Rating: 8.4

‘Duchesse de Brabant’
Duchesse de Brabant4Full, cupped flowers are carried singly or in clusters of two to ten and are light to mid-pink with hints of salmon. The moderately bushy plant is well-branched and as mid-green wavy leaves. ‘Duchesse de Brabant’ is only hardy to zone 7 and grows best in hot, dry climates.

Type: Tea
Color: Light pink
Flower Size: 2.8”
Petal Count: 45 (very double)
Plant Size: 3-8’ H x 2-4’ W
Flowering: Repeats well
Scent: Strong, tea-like
Hardiness: Zones 7-9
ARS Rating: 8.5

‘Georgetown Tea’
Georgetown Tea6Found in a daycare center lot in Georgetown, Texas in 1983, this rose has an uncertain heritage but has been identified as a Tea Rose. It has long dark salmon pink buds that open to lilac-pink flowers with petals that roll back to form points creating a star-like appearance. The shrubs are upright, bushy, rounded and covered with healthy medium green leaves.

Type: Tea
Color: Pink blend
Flower Size: Medium
Petal Count: Double
Plant Size: 6’ H x 6’ W
Flowering: Flushes
Scent: Moderate, tea
Hardiness: Zones 7-9
ARS Rating: none

‘Madame Antoine Mari’
mme antoinemariLong solitary buds open to flowers that are light pink with white enters and red-shaded outer petals. The large flowers are up to four inches long and have a mild fragrance. The vigorous bushes are well branched and have maroon new growth.

Type: Tea
Color: Pink blend
Flower Size: 4”
Petal Count: Double
Plant Size: 6’ H x 6’ W
Flowering: Successive flushes
Scent: Moderate
Hardiness: Zones 7-9
ARS Rating: 8.4

“Mutabilis’
MutabilisAs the name, ‘Mutabilis’, suggests change is an important characteristic of this rose. It has flowers that start out light yellow and turn orange, pink and finally crimson with all colors present on a single bush at the same time. The flowers are borne in clusters and the petals are. The reddish stems are prickly and carry leaves that are crimson before turning bronzy dark green. The bushes are tall and may be grown as a climber

Type: China
Color: Yellow blend
Flower Size: 2.4”
Petal Count: Single
Plant Size: 6’ H x 3-6’ W
Flowering: Continuous
Scent: None
Hardiness: Zones 6-9
ARS: 8.8

‘Reve d’Or’
Reve Oro 2The English translation of ‘Reve d’Or is golden dream and this nicely describes this outstanding climber. Thereddish buds are stocky and open to flowers that are carried singly or in clusters of two to fifteen. The petals are golden yellow with pale edges and apricot reverses, giving an over all look of buff gold. The dense glossy foliage clothes the bush from the ground up and is red when young before turning dark green. The stems are almost thornless and the flowers of retain their color well. An excellent choice for a climber in warm climates.

Type: Noisette
Color: Medium yellow
Flower Size: 2.4
Petal Count: 23-30
Plant Size: 10-18’ H x 8’ W
Flowering: Flushes
Scent: Strong and tea-like
Hardiness: Zones 7-9
ARS Rating: 9.2

‘Souvenir de St. Anne’s’
souvenir de st Annes5This sport of the famous ‘Souvenir de la Malmison’, produces pink semidouble flowers with a spicy fragrance that perfumes the entire area. The bushy shrubs are especially appreciated near a doorway or window where the scent can be enjoyed.

Type: Bourbon
Color: Blush pink
Flower Size: 4-4.7”
Petal Count: Semi double
Plant Size: 3’ H x 3’ W
Flowering: Flushes
Scent: Strong, sweet, spicy
Hardiness: Zones 6-9
ARS Rating: 8.6

‘Spice’
Spice2The origin of ‘Spice’ is controversial and it is associagted with the Bermuda Mystery roses and Hume’s Blush Tea-Scented China. It’s characteristics are somewhat variable but it’s strong peppery scent is always present and probably accounts for its name. The medium to large flowers are blush pink to white, semi double to double. The well branched bush tends to be twiggy with almost thornless stems. Flowers are good for the vase.

Type: China
Color: Light pink to white
Flower Size: 2.8”
Petal Count: Double
Plant Size: 3-5’ H x 3-4” W
Flowering: Almost continuously
Scent: Strong peppery, spicy
Hardiness: Zones 7-9
ARS Rating: NA

To read more about Earth-Kind and other low maintenance roses click here.