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Heirloom Roses

The rose, one of the most loved and desired flowers around. There isn’t a person alive that doesn’t know about this gorgeous bloom, but have you thought about where they came from, and how the plant evolved into the modern roses we know today?


You may have heard the term ‘antique’ or ‘heirloom’ roses; these refer to the original blooms grown way back in the 1200’s. The earliest varieties of rose shrubs have been dated to as far back as 1700 – 2000 BC, I’ll bet you didn’t think they were that old!


Icebreaker Rose
Modern variety Icebreaker rose.


The domesticated rose varieties from which all roses have evolved or been cultivated from are those from the 1200’s; Albas, Centifolias, Damasks and Gallicas. These varieties were grown in the gardens of Europeans for hundreds of years; they would flower only once a year and range in colour from white to purples to pinks. It wasn’t until the 1700’s that rose breeding really took off with the introduction of imported Chinese roses. These were known as ‘Stud Chinas’, they flowered multiple times per year and expanded the colour palate to include reds and yellows.


As the popularity of roses increased, breeders started planning and using strategy to produce plants with desired features, such as bloom size and perfume, as opposed to leaving it to nature. This lead to the first hybrid rose developed in 1867 called ‘La France’, a cross between a hybrid perpetual and a tea rose. From there rose varieties exploded and made way for all our modern favourites today.


Juliet Rose
The Juliet Rose, a classic English variety.


Heirloom roses make a beautiful edition to any rose lovers’ garden. Don’t assume that because they are antique varieties they are difficult to grow, they are just as easy, or even easier, to grow as modern rose varieties. They flower multiple timers per year in a variety of bloom colours and sizes, mix well with other shrubs and plants, and are disease resistant and drought tolerant. If you are looking to liven up your garden, why not add a little bit of history in an heirloom rose shrub!


Or if you are looking for a gorgeous, classic gift for someone special in your life, head over to our web store or visit us in Wollongong to see the beautiful bouquets and arrangements we can design with a variety of stunning roses. We’d be more than happy to create something for you or your loved one!