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Antique Roses in your Garden  

By Kathryn Courtney

Antique Roses are one of the most versatile and carefree perennial shrubs for your garden. They can be formal or informal, for flower, vegetable or rose gardens, or used in the landscape as focal points, borders or hedges, or filler plants in your landscape. I have seen beautiful hedges of Old Blush roses and many stunning rose covered arbors. Antique roses can be grown up trellises or pergolas, espaliered against walls, or left to ramble on the ground. The smaller antique roses do great in containers that can be placed on patios, decks or in the garden itself.  There are infinite ways to add antique roses to your garden.

 

Because antique roses come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and growth habits, there is always a rose to fit any garden space you have. Antique roses have only two requirements, at least six hours of sun a day and good drainage. I have been growing antique roses for as long as I have been gardening. These wonderful shrubs actually started my gardening obsession. My newest antique rose is a Libby that I planted in a container and put in my vegetable garden. It adds interest to the garden and is a great pollinator plant. At the house I am in now I have a Monsieur Tillier rose against my back fence and a Cornelia climbing rose over my patio. Other antique roses are scattered all around my garden. Place large or climbing antique roses in the back of your garden for a heavenly scented back drop to other perennials and annuals. Add mid size roses for another layer of flowers and scent and small or spreading roses in the front of your border. Place a large antique rose in the middle of a garden as a focal point and plant other sun loving flowers, veggies or herbs around it. I have a large Mutabilis rose that is going to become the center of a new herb garden.When you are ready to dive into the world of antique roses, research the roses for habit, fragrance, color and other traits that will work well in your garden

 There are several different types of antique roses. Some do better in our zone 9 climate and humidity than others. The roses we carry at Maas are especially suited for our area. Most of our antique roses come from the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas. There are three groups of rose titles at the Emporium. All of the roses are classified as old roses. Old or antique roses are defined as rose varieties that were introduced prior to 1867. Antique roses can also be defined as roses that have been in cultivation for at least 75 years and that have old rose qualities such as flower form, color, and fragrance. Some of the antique roses have the EarthKind designation. EarthKind roses are screened by the Texas Agrilife Service through Texas A & M University. These roses are selected for their durability and ease of care. They go through a rigorous testing program before they are rewarded the EarthKind label. Found Roses are roses that have been rescued by the Texas Rose Rustlers.These rose enthusiasts have traveled Texas taking cuttings from abandoned old homesteads and cemeteries. Found roses have survived on their own with no care for years, proving their toughness.

The Antique Rose Emporium’s Pioneer rose series are newer roses that have been bred for their versatility and durability in the landscape. Antique roses have a vast assortment of flower color,shape and scent. Some of the roses also produce rosehips which are a great source of Vitamin C and very decorative as well. Your antique rose choices are limitless. It’s up to you to decide your personal favorite.

Caring for your antique rose is very easy. Roses need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. They need well draining acidic soil and regular watering when first planted. Plant your roses above soil level as explained in the Maas Planting Guide. If you do not have one of these guides ask for it at your next visit to our store. Mulch is the secret to happy roses. Mulch your roses to two to three inches deep. Keep the mulch away from the trunk of your rose to prevent disease or rot. Mulch will keep the water in and the weeds out of your garden. Fertilize your roses every six to eight weeks during their bloom period with a good organic fertilizer for acid loving plants. Antique roses can do without fertilizer but I prefer to fertilize mine. When first planted, water roses regularly. A good, deep watering two to three times a week is preferable to watering shallowly every day.

Deep watering promotes deep root growth and helps with good drought tolerance for a healthier rose. In February, around Valentine’s Day, cut your roses back to your desired height. Roses benefit from a good pruning. I prune my roses in August also. This promotes a fresh flush of fall blooms. Now, sit back, relax and enjoy your beautiful blooms and the fantastic fragrance of these old-fashioned roses.They are definitely the favorite flower of my garden and always will be.