Maintaining an old fashioned and Heritage Roses Collection
Maturing old fashioned type rose shrubs and climbers contribute much to the variety and complexity of our garden around our century old farmhouse. We have a small collection of old fashioned and heritage roses registered with the Garden Plant Conservation Association of Australia and our inventory is maintained on our website https://montvillegarden.com
Much has been written in the HRIA journal about the practical aspects of feeding, pruning and protecting roses from pests and diseases. We don’t intend to contribute any further to that topic except to mention two observations. In our elevated subtropical Queensland garden, on acidic basaltic soil, our successful roses are almost entirely grown from cutting. Secondly trial and error has demonstrated that some rose cultivars are easy to propagate from cutting and grow readily. Others have failed after trial and retrial. For example, roses we find easy to propagate and enjoy include Tea roses ‘Comtesse de Labarthe’, ‘1902 Peace’ and ‘G Nabonnand’. We also have no trouble with a repeat flowering multiflora hybrid ROR ‘Ally’s Rose’, a polyantha rose ‘The Allies’ and the climber ‘Souvenir de Mme Leonie Viennot’. These then form great building blocks for landscaping with rows and accents. We can’t manage to get any more than a year or two from grafted roses such those by David Austin or Delbard, except the ‘Maurice Utrillo’ which is great. We are retrialling ‘Graham Thomas’ from cutting so far so good.
In spite of best efforts we will occasionally lose a precious specimen to borers, weather or poor siting. So apart from essential horticulture our maintenance plan includes the following:
- Maintain a rose Inventory, and attempt to keep it up to date. We record losses. https://montvillegarden.com/?page_id=2
2. Maintain plant labelling in the garden as best as we can.Taking cuttings from our roses and growing on potential replacements. Preparing for the worst whilst expecting the best.
- Make the effort to source a cuttings grown replacement for any lost roses in our inventory, from a fellow rose gardener. We recently replaced Tea rose ‘Isabella Sprunt’ and ‘Gloire des Rosomanes’ with cuttings grown specimens from Leonie Kearney along with boosting our stock of ‘Rosette Delizy’.
- We try to expand our collection of happy successful roses recently adding ‘Camnethan House Cherry Red Tea Rose’. At the same time we may let some roses go without intending to persist with them e.g. ‘Mrs Reynolds Hole’ and our poor little specimens of ‘Reine des Violettes’
- Opportunistically trial the propagation both known and unknown roses from the ‘roadside’ or from the gardens of friends and neighbours.
In terms of a broader approach to maintaining our own old fashioned or Heritage rose collection we have tried to demonstrate the value of these plants to all of our visitors and to the wider community. We maintain a garden at the local Uniting Church which fronts a busy tourist street. ‘Comtesse de Labarthe’, ‘Spray Cecile Brunner’, ‘G Nabonnand’, ‘Souvenir de Mme Leonie Viennot’ and ‘Beauty of Glenhurst’ et al decorate the site along with Rosemary, Lavender, Salvia, Spiraea, Centrodenia, Plumbago, and much more including mature Camellias. Visitors to our many Open Gardens and from Bus trip groups over the last 16 years have taken way potted cuttings grown roses. The more that these old roses are known and appreciated the safer our own collection will be in the future.
We observe it’s the individual rose specimens which demonstrate which will become a ‘century rose’ and which need to be supported. The key message is to keep an accurate and up to date inventory of the complete garden not just the catalogue of roses.
Kyleigh ad Dr Michael Simpson 1992=2022
85 Western Avenue, Montville Q 4560