Modern Roses

Modern Roses are roses bred after 1867 because it was in 1867 that French Breeder ‘Guillot’ introduced ‘La France’, the first Hybrid Tea rose. Since then, breeders have introduced a broader colour palette to include many new bright colours and two-tone roses. Modern roses are available in a diversity of shapes, heights and growing habits.

“A garden is a complex of aesthetic and plastic intentions; and the plant is, to a landscape artist, not only a plant – rare, unusual, ordinary or doomed to disappearance – but it is also a colour, a shape, a volume or an arabesque in itself. ”

Roberto berle Marx
Roses in the market in Nice France 2019

The ability of a rose to repeat and flower all season long came about when China and tea roses were brought to Europe from Asia in the 19th century. We see this trait in our popular Hybrid Tea roses today. They are unique because they have a Hybrid Perpetual Rose habit and the elegantly shaped buds and free-flowering character of a Tea Rose. By the end of the 20th century, over 10,000 Hybrid tea roses had been bred, and the industry of evolving new forms of roses in many and varied colours, styles and habits were here to stay.

Courtesy of

Modern roses are classed by their growing habits as seen in the differences between Bush roses, Shrub roses, Climbing roses, Miniatures, Grandifloras, English Roses and Landscape roses. Modern roses are known for their repeat-flowering ability, abundance of blooms and also the first time that the sensational new colours of yellow and orange roses were available. As far as I understand the following are the main classes of modern roses. With so much choice of style and habit available from rose growers our gardens have the perfect opportunity to be full of rose blooms no matter the climate or soil conditions.

Bush Roses, have a very long bloom time each season and are generally a tidy type of rose. Bush roses come in many styles namely:

Photo by Al Soot on Unsplash
  • Floribunda in Latin means ‘many flowering’. Floribundas roses are a cross between a Hybrid tea rose and a Polyantha. This was created initially in 1907 by Danish Breeders ( Dines Poulsen) to produce a rose that bloomed with the profusion of Polyantha roses but had the floral beauty and diversity of colours in the Hybrid teas. The Floribundas have flowers in large clusters that create a full, long lasting colourful garden displays especially when planted in abundance. Often seen in public parks and large gardens because they easily can create a dense hedge due to their stiff shrub like nature and as the name implies ‘many flowering’. They are shorter, hardier and easier to care for than hybrid teas. Growth is from about 50 cm up to 120cm. The blooms are similar in shape to Hybrid teas in all the usual Hybrid Tea colours. Favourite’s include Fire Opal, Amber Sun, Merry Maker and Ice Princess planted en mass with Mirage Earth Angel, Bengali, Peach Profusion, Apricot Nectar, Aspirin, French Lace, Perfume Perfection, Love Potion, Pomponella and the uniquely coloured Soul Sister as stand out roses in the garden. Photos to follow.
  • Hybrid Teas are the most popular roses grown in gardens today. With hundreds of varieties bred and introduced since 1867 they are beautiful, elegant shaped roses with high centred blooms, one flower per stem with fragrance in many of them. These are the roses for cutting and grown for the floral industry. They are very popular because of their hardiness and disease resistant nature and are stiff and upright. I’ve planted many Hybrid Teas in the garden the stand out types being – Mothers Love, Perfume Passion, Auguste Luise, Best Friend, Cinderella, Duet, Cabana, Eliza, Heaven Scent, In Appreciation, Just Joey, Joyfulness, Marilyn Monroe, Magma and Kardinal amongst many others.
  • Patio roses are a charming, rosette flowered dwarf rose that blooms in clusters. They could be described as a rose between a Miniature and a Floribunda in character. They have neat, bushy growth, are hardy, repeat bloom often and are larger and more robust that tiny Miniature roses. Patio roses are perfect for growing in pots, tubs and containers on the deck or verandah or may be more suitable for small garden beds and borders. Example Chameleon, Gra’s Blue, Delicious and many others.
  • Polyantha roses were introduced in the late 19th century and have small flowers in large sprays that create a mass of colour. They are almost constantly in bloom and grow from many canes in a low vigorous fashion. The most common ones are, The Fairy, China Doll, Cecile Brunner and Perle d’Or. When my polyantha roses bloom this year I will add new images.
Shrub Rose The Poet’s Wife 2019 release in Australia by David Austin

Shrub Roses, are another class of rose with a rather odd name because all roses are indeed shrubs. Nonetheless, shrub roses are known for a rounded shape, cold tolerance, and disease resistance. They tend to be larger than bush roses and are usually born from crossing Old roses with a Modern rose. If you want a graceful, repeat blooming rose that spreads easily and gives a mass of colour Shrub roses are the best choice. They tend to grow between 1. 5 metres to 5 metres in height and width dependant on the climate and conditions. Bush roses are hardy, vigorous and produce loads of clusters of blooms. The stunning English roses by David Austin belong to this class of rose. They resemble the old style garden rose in their plant shape and form and also have wonderful perfume plus they repeat bloom. You may find that these are classified with Heirloom or Old Garden roses. Modern shrub roses also sometimes are called English Roses or David Austin Roses, Kordesii Roses, Canadian Explorer Roses, Meidiland Roses, Hybrid Rugosa, and Hybrid Musk. This season the types Herkules, Elysium Fields, Tallulah and Caramella have been planted and photos will follow once in bloom. Addictive Lure is a standout from 2017 along with Lion’s Rose, Silver Ghost and Sally Holmes.

  • Hybrid musk roses have long, graceful growth and really beautiful delicate colours in their blooms. Grown by breeder Joseph Pemberton in the UK from crossing Old species Roses with Modern roses, his results are magnificent as the flowers are in large trusses like a Floribunda but are more refined and exquisite. The name says it all as these roses have a musky sweet yet light fragrance. They are prolific bloomers in early summer and here and there afterwards. The ones I’ve planted are Ballerina, Heritage, Penelope and Felicia all favourite roses for me. Mostly they have single flowers of 5 petals in clusters, towards huge blooms of up to 50 petals with lustrous, foliage.
Lovely rose called Buff Beauty by David Austin presently growing outside my kitchen window 2019 awaiting new Spring blooms.
  • A former employee of Pemberton in 1939 introduced a new Modern rose hybrid Musk called Buff Beauty. It is an outstanding rose with an exquisite perfume and coppery, red new spring growth and pale dull apricot flowers that fade to Buff Yellow. Although not a climber these Hybrid musks can be treated as a short climber because of the long arching stems. Pemberton and his sister are said to have grown 4,000 roses in their Rectory garden in Essex. My 300 roses seem a meagre number in comparison just saying!
Ballerina Hybrid Musk Rose Courtesy of David Austin Roses
  • Hybrid rugosa are from crossing Rosa rugosa with garden roses. The results are fabulous. Few roses are grown as easily as these ones. The roses are a large, dense, thorny shrub with deeply veined leaves and the blooms are large too, opening wide either single or fully double. Many have delicious fragrance and repeat bloom well into Autumn although some may have large hips at the same time. Free from diseases, tolerant of cold and even do not mind growing by the coast.
Climbing Roses courtesy of David Austin

Climbing Roses easily create the quintessential charming, English cottage look. There is a climbing rose suitable for every position you could wish for or imagine in the garden. An old tree trunk, a trellis, arbour, arch, obelisk, wall or garden shed make terrific bases for roses to grow over. Climbing roses produce long, arching canes that can be attached to fences, arches, arbors, trellises or walls. The effect is a vibrant, They will bloom continuously in Summer and Autumn although a few styles bloom just once. Most of the classes of roses both modern and old roses do have a climbing form where the canes grow longer and become more flexible than the normal plant. These have come about by spontaneous mutations. Although, with climbing ‘old garden roses’ it may be just a characteristic of that particular rose. Climbing roses are in three main categories; Climbers, Ramblers and Pillar roses.

Graham Thomas Climbing Rose courtesy of David Austin
  • Climbers are modern roses with stiff canes that repeat bloom. They will grow to 6 metres. The blooms are available in a multitude of colours and are grown as single blooms or in clusters. Climbers happily growing in particular spots in the garden are Crepuscule, Kiss Me Kate, Renae, New Dawn, Soaring Spirits, Jeannie La Joie, Westerland, Wollerton Old Hall, Pinkie, Blossomtime, Bantry Bay, Nahema and Florentina,
  • Ramblers have long, flexible canes and an ability to grow 6-10 metres tall with small to medium sized blooms. Ramblers are often the style that bloom only once a season, but may be repeat or be continuous. If there is not enough support for ramblers they will grow along the ground and cover anything in their path so watch out. If tied up correctly they will easily cover pergolas, arbours and arches due to their vigorous nature.
  • Pillar Roses are less rampant so more suited to small arches, veranda posts or trailing along a fences. The growth is to about 2.5 metres high and these roses will be a bit more manageable than ramblers or climbers yet will produce a lovely display of blooms over the entire plant. Joseph’s Coat is my favorite along with Shropshire Lad, Pierre De Ronsard, Pierre Gagnaire, Soaring Spirits, Twlight Glow and Wedgwood Rose.

According to Treloars rose growers ‘For best results espalier the long canes into a horizontal position to promote lateral growth. Do not prune for the first two seasons and then only to remove dead wood and unproductive growth’

Pillar Rose Shropshire Lad courtesy of David Austin

Miniature roses are delicate, tiny bloomed roses that are a replica of other roses and grow to 30-35 centimetres approximately. They are compact so suitable for pot plants inside and out or rockeries and garden borders.

Grandiflora Rose ‘Queen Elizabeth’ courtesy of David Austin

Grandiflora Roses in contrast to miniature roses are a combination of Hybrid teas and Floribundas with some having clustered blooms and some single. In 1954, a rose was introduced, bred from crossing the Hybrid tea ‘Charlotte Armstrong’ with the Floribunda ‘Floradora’ The result was a rose with the characteristics of a Hybrid tea but could cluster and were more upright, larger and vigorous.  Thus began the type called Grandiflora, first started by a nurserymen, to describe the Queen Elizabeth rose in 1954. The term Grandiflora still remains today. Gold Medal, Fragrant Plum, Lagerfeld, Apricot Nectar and Madame Anisette are some of the Grandifloras.

Photo by Daphné Be Frenchie on Unsplash

Landscape Roses are new release, easy care, hardy roses developed on their own root stock for landscaping. One of the great attractions in growing this type of rose is that they require less pruning, have fewer thorns and the flowers self clean so do not need deadheading. There is less need to spray and fuss over them as with classic roses because the new breed of roses are tough, winter hardy with beautiful blooms and good disease and insect resistance. Once landscape roses bloom in Spring the flowers are continuous, blooming all season long and well into the end of Autumn. Examples in the garden include The Knockout series of roses, Seafoam, Bonica, Many Happy Returns, Our Rosy Carpet, Diamante, Busy Bee and Drift Groundcover roses.

Photo by Pret Basu on Unsplash

First and Second Image Di Baker Image 2019 Nice France

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