The importance of Rosa chinensis in the Rose story cannot be under-estimated. Without the parent genes of this species we would not have roses that have the ability to repeat bloom from spring until autumn. Sadly, the original species is now thought to be extinct but with China being such a huge country I, for one, am hopeful that it will be re-discovered growing happily in some little sheltered spot being cared for tenderly by an unassuming gardener. It's entirely possible (if not a little romantic) as the Chinese have cultivated Roses from about 3000BC. Confucius (551 - 479BC) recorded that a large number of roses had been planted in the Imperial Gardens in Peking and roses are certainly depicted in Chinese art from the 10th century onwards though the rose were was never as revered as the prestigious Chrysanthemum.
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The first descendant of Rosa chinensis to reach Europe is thought to be the hybrid "Old Blush" AKA "Parson's Pink" which was planted in Holland in 1781 and no doubt transported to England from there. 8 years later a red form was found growing in Calcutta and brought to England by Gilbert Slater of the British East India Company, this rose is known today as "Slater's Crimson China". These 2 humble roses are responsible for the remontancy in all the many and beautiful roses that we grow today. "Old Blush" is also an important forbear of Miniature Roses.
China. A compact little rose that has a slightly sprawling habit. Fully double, pure white, fragrant blooms that are very globular in shape. The blooms are borne in profuse clusters from spring through summer. A little sweetie really. France - 1880.
Colour: White Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 90cm
China. The perfect little buttonhole rose which is simply charming. Almost always in flower with small perfect pink blooms that open from long pointed buds. The fragrance is sweet and spicy. Relatively few thorns and healthy foliage. Quite vigorous. 1881. AKA The Sweetheart Rose, Maltese Rose and Mignon.
Colour: Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m x 0.6m
China. The perfect little button-hole rose which is simply charming. Almost always in flower with small perfect pink blooms that open from long pointed buds. The fragrance is sweet and spicy. Relatively few thorns and healthy foliage. This climbing sport is quite vigorous and will tolerate some shade. 1894.
Colour: Pink Habit: Climbing Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 3m
China. This is such a pretty rose bred in France in 1902. The almost single blooms are shades of soft orange and pink highlighted with red. And oh the perfume. Flowers from summer to autumn. Lovely. Assume named after Zoe Talon AKA Comtesse du Cayla and mistress of Louis XVIII.
Colour: Pink / Orange Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
China. An unusual China rose in both it's habit and colouring. Wonderful soft apricot colour with deeper orange tones at the heart of the bloom. Flowers eventually fade to ivory, and have a very pleasant, but not particularly powerful fragrance. Great disease resistance, a wonderfully reliable rose. Deciduous.
Colour: Pink / Apricot Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 90cm x 70cm
China Rose. An exceptionally graceful rose which bears masses of slender pointed buds of vivid red opening to soft yellow then changing to coppery tones of pink and later in the season crimson tones. A continuous, spectacular and unusual display. One of my firm favourites. Bred prior to 1896.
The name Mutablis means 'changeable' which is what really describes the flower colour best. This rose is also described as the 'Butterfly Rose' as the single flowers float and dance above the foliage like a - you guessed it - a butterfly.
Colour: Pink / Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 90cm x 60cm
China. This important heritage rose has been cultivated in China for centuries and was introduced to Europe around 1750. It has been used extensively as a 'parent' breeding rose. Small semi-double blooms of pink that fade as they age. Nicely fragrant with light green foliage and few thorns.
'Old Blush' will flower for months and will grow quite happily in light shade, tolerant of poorer soils. It does not like to completely dry out in summer.
Colour: Purple Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.8m x 1.2m
China. Beautifully shaped small flowers that are shaded a creamy buff-yellow with hints of pink. Nicely fragrant. The foliage is dark green and quite twiggy with almost thorn-less stems. A sweet little rose with buds that are perfect for a button-hole. 1884.
Sometimes referred to as yellow Cecile Brunner.
Colour: Pink / Cream Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m x 90cm
China. Known as the green rose, this unusual variety has flowers that look like leaves. Is mostly green with brown markings. Very easy to grow and few disease problems. Flowers from early summer through to autumn. A popular and interesting rose for floral work. It is happiest when pruned lightly. 1833.
Colour: Green / Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm