Bourbon roses are the harbingers of modern varieties
Bourbon roses are a class of magnificent garden shrub roses and klimings that have always retained the status of a special group of varieties. They were the first step towards the fantastic variety of roses that are available to us today. Despite the fact that bourbon roses of all shapes and sizes became famous in the 19th century, in the new millennium they are again experiencing a period of glory. Fragrant, colorful, special, they bring elegant classics to the garden.
A Brief History of Big Bourbons
A separate class of roses called Bourbon roses (Bourbon & climbing bourbon) got its name not by chance. It directly indicates the origin of the garden princesses - the island of Bourbon, today renamed Reunion. The tropical paradise, lost in the Indian Ocean, gave the world one of the most legendary rose groups in many ways by chance: thanks to the efforts of Mother Nature, the legendary ancient rose Autumn Damascus crossed (Autumn damask) and then a new Chinese variety ‘Old Blush China’.
The new Sino-Damascus hybrid quickly became popular in Bourbon and the neighboring islands under the name "Rose of Edward". We owe the distribution of bourbon roses around the world and their future enviable career to the botanist Breon, who transferred the seeds of the rose to the Royal Botanical Garden and marked the beginning of the cross with Gallic roses. As a result of selection, a separate class was formed under the name Bourbon, which included at the peak of its popularity in the 19th century about 500 varieties.
Modern scientists, who have long revised the classification of roses and made it even more confusing, rightly believe that it is Bourbon roses that are the first step to modern varieties. They served as a kind of harbinger of the modern "pink revolution", became the first step to the familiar roses with improved characteristics. These are French roses, which formed the basis of the process of hybridization and selection of new repair and tea roses. And it was with them that the era of roses capable of repeated flowering began.
Pros and Cons of Bourbon Roses
The class of roses Bourbon & Climbing Bourbon is divided into two groups of garden princesses:
- large bush roses with a height of about 1.5 m;
- Kliming, which can be grown on pylons, and as bush roses.
Any rose representing the Bourbon class is pretty easy to recognize in a garden or park. It is no accident, after all, today, when the assortment of roses cannot be called anything but super diverse, they still retain the status of special plants. Large and beautiful flowers, a strong aroma, an ancient form and terry, as well as the duration of flowering, distinguish them from other roses. Bourbons also have other positive qualities:
- rose bushes of this class are powerful, highly branching, spreading;
- shoots of bourbons are arcuate or straight, large, thick;
- the palette of colors ranges from white to purple, red and pink, but most roses are still pink;
- the vast majority of varieties are terry roses;
- the leaves of bourbon roses are dense, more like tea-hybrid roses;
- all bourbons are able to bloom repeatedly;
- some varieties tolerate light shading.
But along with the "pluses", like almost every class of roses bred before the middle of the 20th century, the Bourbon beauties have their own negative characteristics:
- roses of this class are sensitive to powdery mildew and other diseases;
- frost resistance of roses is low, they are vulnerable to typical winters in the middle lane (freeze to cover soil level without shelter);
- repeated flowering is weak (especially in regions with severe winters);
- all bourbon roses are demanding care, in particular, for dressing.
Features of growing bourbon roses
Without exception, all bourbon roses in regions with harsh winters are best planted in sunny places. The soil must be selected carefully: bourbons are not the best candidates for landscaping poor-quality, depleted, poorly treated soil. Fertility of the soil, its drainage, light texture for these roses are extremely important, as well as water and air permeability. Bourbon roses need to be planted at a good distance from the rest of the roses, and climbing roses so that air circulates freely around the plants (arches and obelisks are better than planting against walls). Free air movement is the most reliable way of prevention.
Care, its consistency for all bourbon roses is very important. They are not so demanding on watering (although drought reduces flowering intensity), but top dressing can rightfully be called the main component of care. For bourbon beauties for the season, two top dressings are carried out:
- in early spring, during the start of growth they use full mineral or organic fertilizer in the form of mulch (compost is perfect for roses of this class);
- mandatory top dressing immediately after the completion of the first flowering wave (phosphate-potassium fertilizers).
Pruning is the key to powerful, plentiful and long flowering. The repeated wave of flowering of bourbon roses will be very scarce if the plants do not get the shortening of shoots they need in the spring. Bourbon trimming has two components:
- Sanitary and thinning cleaning, removal of dry and old shoots, as well as thinning the center of the bush to improve air circulation (removal of shoots growing inside).
- Pruning to stimulate flowering, including shortening the main, skeletal branches to a third of the height and pruning of the side branches to 3 buds.
In bourbon roses, it is necessary to remove flowers that begin to fade, preventing them from lingering on bushes for a long time.
Protection for the winter in the middle band for bourbon roses should be created necessarily. All fallen leaves are removed from shoots and from the soil around the plant. After the final wetting, the soil under the bush is mulched with peat, compost, and other available materials. Rose shoots need to be bent to the ground (most bourbons, despite the power of the branches, are well connected). In the future, the shelter strategy is chosen to your taste.
Bourbon roses winters better under the air-dry classic shelter, but they can also winter under the earthenware with dry leaves with a non-woven material fixed on top and spruce branches. During thaws and until stable frosts are established, shelter must be aired. In spring, protection is removed gradually, layer by layer.
The best varieties of bourbon roses
The most popular rose of this class, a kind of visiting card of bourbon roses, is rightly considered a variety bred in 1843 ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison ’. A very decorative rose about 1 meter high with a strong, but compact straight bush and beautiful foliage conquers both large, densely terry white-pink flowers and a sweet aroma with spicy notes. Even the fact that a beautiful woman wilts in bad weather does not diminish her popularity.
A more modern version of the variety, with improved flowering characteristics, but semi-double flowers ‘Souvenir de St. Anne’s ’ It appeared in 1950 and does not belong to bourbon itself, although it is often presented as bourbon at exhibitions, fairs and catalogs.
Today, the legendary rose does not leave indifferent gardeners Boule de Nege (Boule de neige), which flower growers lovingly call simply “Snowball”. This is a rose with a fragile, powerful bush, abundant flowering and stunningly beautiful elongated, glossy leaves. Branches of the "Snow globe" easily break off, the internodes are short, and the bush is compact and erect, up to 1.5 m in height.
Flowers with a diameter of up to 7 cm are painted in white and cream (pastel shades appear only in the center of the flower until it is fully blossomed), with a green eye, collected in inflorescences up to 5 flowers each. Thick terry gives the flowers a rosette or spherical shape, and a silky texture - an additional appeal. External petals beautifully bend back.
Fans of bright pink color and saucer-like, saucer-like flowers will also like the variety ‘Louise Odier’ (also known as ‘Madame de Stella’). Tall-growing, blooming without respite and producing luxurious flowers up to 8 cm, this old variety of bourbon roses has become famous for its sweet aroma, the gradual bending of the petals, which become flat over time and with relatively pale foliage. The shoots are long, drooping under the weight of massive flowers, creating the effect of a spreading fountain.
Vintage bourbon variety ‘Baron J.B. Gonella ’ forms a straight-growing bush of densely branched shoots up to one and a half meters high. There are almost no thorns on the branches, and foliage is more resistant to diseases than most bourbon varieties. Throughout the summer, this rose produces brushes of large, up to 12 cm in diameter double, cup-shaped flowers with a lilac-pink color and not very strong, but pleasant aroma.
Undeservedly rare today. ‘Comtesse de Barbentane ’. A medium-sized, up to 80 cm bush rose with a spreading crown shape and beautiful leaves is decorated with large, up to 8 cm in diameter, flowers that seem very densely, densely packed. A delicate pink color that appears white in the sun and a charming watercolor blush give the plant a special romance.
Also very modest in height of the bush and rose varieties ‘Eugene de Beauharnais ’ (other names are ‘Bourbon Beauharnais’, ‘Prince Eugene’, ‘Roi des Cramoisis’). Reaching a maximum of 1 m, this variety densely branches, flaunting spreading, thick and prickly shoots. The magnificent shape of the crown is constant due to the active release of branches from the very base of the bush. Dark foliage is decorated with a raspberry edge.
Flowers with a diameter of up to 9 cm are painted in a cherry-purple color, when fading into a raspberry pink tone. Wavy petals, sloppy shape and dense terry allocate a rose against the rest. Like her rose, which is unlike any other rose, a very strong aroma, color variability and formed around slightly drooping inflorescences of “collars” of leaves.
Vigorous Bourbon Rose ‘Emotion ’ with very dark foliage and a maximum height of about 2 m conquers with inflorescence tassels. In erect brushes, up to 20 flowers are collected, with a very beautiful cream color, gradually fading into a white, cupped shape and atypical flower spread, due to which "Emotion" received the nickname of "chrysanthemum rose." The delicate, light aroma is inferior to the rest of the Bourbon roses, but on the other hand, this beauty herself discards the petals after flowering.
the Rose ‘Bourbon Queen ’ (also known as ‘Queen of Bourbons’, ‘Reine des lles Bourbon’, ‘Shakespeare’) it got its name not by chance. The powerful rose-climer with a height of 180 cm to 4 m is distinguished by strong shoots and matte, dark leaves. Her terry flowers open wide, showing a bunch of stamens and change color from intense pink to lighter. Despite the modest size of the flowers (only 4 cm), they look massive and very fragrant. At the same time, the sweet notes of the aroma interrupt the typical pink scents of essential oil. The first flowering is long, the second is a little more modest. Flowers bloom not one at a time, but in the inflorescences (on one shoot - up to 15-17 flowers).
But other bourbon kliming also earned the status of legendary varieties. And the first applicant is inimitable ‘Zepherine Drouhin ’. Despite the fact that it appeared back in 1868, and today the variety is largely considered a reference and is found in the catalogs of any respected rose producer. Young twigs on a red rose. Beshipless, revealing beauty from the third year of cultivation, this beauty produces up to 5 bright pink, lollipops in color flowers on each shoot.
The hue is called either cherry, strawberry, or raspberry, but one thing is certain - it is very saturated and clean. Loose, nostalgic flowers are not very neat in shape, decorated with white spots in the center. Their beauty is perfectly emphasized by bright matte foliage. ‘Zepherine Drouhin’ begins one of the first flowering, and completes one of the last. The modern “versions” of Zeferin Druen, the ‘Kathleen Harrop’ and ‘Marthe’ varieties, were never able to outshine their more famous congener.
Grade ‘Climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison ’ - a climbing analogue of the legendary "Malmaison souvenir". Outwardly, it is more similar to Austin roses, but flowering easily reveals a bourbon origin.
‘Blairi No.2’ - one of the oldest bourbon climers, bred back in 1835, but no less beautiful. This is a once-blooming rose, producing on one peduncle up to 3 semi-double, light pink, with a rich aroma of flowers with a diameter of up to 4 cm. Powerful bushes with a height of 120 to 180 cm with matte medium dark leaves seem unusually lush.
Unpretentious and surprisingly fragrant variety ‘Catherine guillot ’ (also known as ‘Michel Bonnet’) produces two-meter climbing branches, which, without reference to the support, droop. The flowers are rosette, double, with a bright satin pink-raspberry color.
Not easy, sensitive to fungal diseases, but beautiful "Queen Victoria" (‘Queen Victoria’, ‘La Reine Victoria’) with drooping long lashes of shoots up to 2 m long, forms a very graceful, densely leafy bush. At the beginning of their development, seemingly marbles, cup-shaped, densely-terry pink flowers with increased aroma are considered particularly dense. Almost transparent petals, sensitivity to rain do not interfere with enjoying the effect of watercolor brightness of a lilac-pink hue. The most magnificent Queen Victoria blooms in early summer, then produces only a few flowers and in the fall rejoices only when the weather is nice.
The most fragrant bourbon climer is rightly recognized as reaching 2.5 m in height ‘Madame de Sevigne ’ (or ‘Madame de Savigne’). Powerful drooping shoots are densely leafy with medium green, dull and fairly large foliage. The flowers exude a thick aroma, medium-double, saucer-like, with a darker color in the center and muted medium pink on the main petals. In diameter, the flowers reach 12 cm.
On aroma, argues with the previous variety only limited to 2-2.5 m in height. ‘Madame Isaac Pereire ’. But a thick delicious aroma and amazingly lush flowers do not compensate for rare, often ugly-elongated and very prickly shoots, low resistance to diseases and variability in flowering. Moreover, from year to year, without any regularity, the number of flowers (from single to tens) and their color (from raspberry and fuchsia to faded lilac) change, and then the flower will be thick or with an unpleasant “emptiness” in the center.
Low climer ‘Honorine de Brabant ’ about 2 meters high can grow both on a support and in a bush with drooping shoots. They brought him out only in 1916, but by the outlandishness of color, even today, the rose does not know its peers. The bush is densely leafy, strong, almost without thorns. The variety is quite resistant to disease. But its main advantage is two almost equal waves of flowering and striped color of flowers. Reaching a diameter of 7 cm, they stand out with an ideal roundish-cup shape, dense terry and pale base color, on which raspberry stripes and spots brightly appear. Bright colors gradually fade to lilac.
A brighter contrast between raspberry stripes and snow-white petals is characteristic of the variety ‘Variegata di Bologna ’ Italian breeding. The bush up to 3 m tall is grown only on a support, the shoots are strong, numerous, the foliage is bright and large. Rose is susceptible to disease. The flowers are very dense, do not last long, but inimitably beautiful and variegated.