Rose Families Explained

There are many different rose families, each with its own characteristics from clusters of small flowers to large shapely blooms and a variety of scents which vary in strength. Below we give a brief description of the many rose families we have available within our extensive rose collection.


Alba Roses

A very old race of roses. The Albas flower in early summer, are almost invariably scented and extremely resistant to disease. Foliage is grey-green and produced abundantly on an upright, vigorous plant which never outgrows its welcome in any garden.


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Rosa arvensis, ‘The Field Rose’ can be found growing wild in the countryside. Its hybrids have inherited the same vigour of their parent.


Shop Arvensis Ramblers


Bourbon Roses

The Bourbons first emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. They are most diverse, both in habit of growth and colour of flower. They were very popular in Victorian times when their repeat flowering characteristics were much appreciated, as indeed they are today.


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Not a large family but an interesting one. Thornless, arching growth is of unusual colouring from pale green to plum. The flowers, attractively ragged in appearance are all in pink to red shades and are slightly scented. The foliage is attractive and usually provides good autumn colour.


Shop Boursalt Ramblers


Centifolia Roses

Centuries old, these “roses of the hundred petals”, make superb shrubs. The more vigorous forms usually produce large flowers of exquisite shape and perfume, with the shorter types producing very double flowers almost invariably in perfect proportion to the size of the plant.


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China Roses

These roses first appeared in the mid-eighteenth century and their long flowering season encouraged breeders to raise many varieties throughout the nineteenth century. It is difficult to generalise but the bush forms are seldom taller than 4ft in our climate. They all have shiny foliage. Where climbing forms exist they are usually reliable.


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Damask Roses

Some of the members of this group probably date back to Roman times. Amongst their ranks can be found some of the most beautiful of all roses. They are usually healthy and without exception are blessed with the distinctive Damask perfume. Some are remontant.


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Floribunda Roses

Floribundas produce their flowers in clusters, usually continuously.


Shop ALL Floribundas


Gallica Roses

Amongst the Gallicas are some of the oldest cultivated roses. This group embraces a wide range of colour from purple-maroon to pink. They make compact plants with ample foliage. They are usually scented and vary from single to very double. We list quite a few varieties here, but it is said that the Empress Josephine had a collection of over 150 at Malmaison at the beginning of the 19th century.


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Hybrid Musk Roses

This useful group of roses evolved early in the 20th century. Their healthy, free-flowering habits make them useful, versatile shrubs. The flowers are borne in large clusters and are usually scented. Good for hedging, specimen and group planting.


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Hybrid Perpetual Roses

This group emerged in the mid-nineteenth century and evolved to eventually supersede the Bourbons in Victorian times, as the most popular race of roses. They vary from high-centred, very double flowers to blowsy blooms with varying degrees of perfume. Their growth habits are also variable from short, compact plants to vigorous shrubs, most will give a repeat flowering in autumn.


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Hybrid Tea Roses - older varieties

These are the older Hybrid Teas. They are usually perfumed and are of complex ancestry.


Shop ALL Hybrid Teas


Modern Climbing Roses

A broad and varied group, all introduced in the 20th century or later. Most are repeat flowering and versatile.


Shop Modern Climbers


Modern Floribunda Roses

A bedding rose, where they can give prolonged colour from June until October. Many varieties also make good hedging roses or can be grown individually in a pot on a patio. They have good health and disease resistance, as well as their often brightly coloured blooms.


Shop ALL Floribundas


Modern Hybrid Tea Roses

Hybrid Teas are easily recognised by their large flowers and pointed buds. They tend to produce just a single flower on the end of each stem. This is the type of rose that most people first visualise when thinking about roses.


Shop ALL Hybrid Teas


Modern Shrub Roses

Modern Shrub roses are of mixed parentage and are often continually flowering, many with old style flowers.


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Moschata Roses

Rosa Moschata date back to the reign of Henry VIII. Most of its descendants have flowers borne in clusters and produced from mid-Summer well into the autumn.


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Moss Roses

A group usually of Centifolia origin with mossed buds and stems. In some cases the moss completely covers the stems and in others just the calyx. Varying in height from 3ft. to as much as 6ft. or more. Usually scented these roses are available in most colours.


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Multiflora Roses

Multiflora hybrids have few thorns and their foliage varies from bright green to grey in colour. They flower once only each Summer, usually in great profusion. The taller varieties are good for tree climbing etc.


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Noisette Roses

These are very beautiful climbers. Highly scented and free flowering. They have a range of uses from wall plants to arches.


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Patio Roses

These type of roses are smaller, compact, healthy and very floriferous, providing good colour impact. Ideal for smaller gardens, balconies and containers. They are also useful for defining edges of beds and borders.


Shop Patio Roses


Pimpinellifolia Roses

Scotch Roses ~ (Previously Spinosissima also known as Burnets). These roses were almost as numerous at the beginning of the nineteenth century as Floribundas are today, losing their popularity only when superseded by roses with a longer flowering season. They are particularly good for hedging.


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Polyantha Roses

The Polyanthas are useful little roses. They are compact in growth and they produce clusters of small flowers throughout the season.


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Portland Roses

Amongst this group are to be found not only some of the finest of old roses but also some of the most useful. They are all continuous or repeat flowering and of accommodating proportions. They can fulfil a variety of roles from mass bedding to hedging and most do very well in pots or urns etc.


Shop Portlands


Rugosa Roses

These must rank as the healthiest of all roses. They make excellent shrubs and hedges with well-armed stems and leathery, dark green foliage. Both the double and single varieties are highly scented and several types bear large, ornamental hips.


Shop Rugosas


This is a very useful group of rambling roses for in all but the severest winters they will retain their leaves. They are healthy, vigorous and bear clusters of semi-double flowers.


Shop Semperviren Ramblers


These are vigorous shrubs most but not all with scented foliage, usually armed with numerous, sharp thorns which make them ideal subjects for covert work and informal, tall hedges. The single forms usually bear abundant hips in late summer and autumn.


Shop Sweet Briars & Canina Hybrids


Tea Roses

The early Teas were not fully hardy and were more often grown in greenhouses and conservatories than as garden plants. They are very beautiful roses and several of the hardier varieties can make good garden plants if grown in sheltered, warm situations or in pots, etc.


Shop Teas


Wichurana Roses

These Ramblers owe their vigour and pliability of growth to Rosa wichurana. Left alone to ramble, they make ideal covering plants, be it on ground, building or trellis. They usually have scent and their foliage is shiny rich green.


Shop Wichurana Ramblers

Rose Families