May is considered the month of roses par excellence. It is exactly during this period that this type of plant reaches its full-blown stage, a world apart within the vast panorama of gardening. Anyone who loves ornamental plants knows very well that it is almost impossible to know them all. Therefore, knowing all the roses is also a difficult task.
A first classification among the several categories of roses is the one that distinguishes modern roses from antique roses. The first ones have been created by man from the end of the 19th century onwards, and the second ones were created prior to this period. To complete the picture, regarding the type of origin, botanical roses are the ones that come exclusively from nature and not from human intervention.
Modern roses are normally characterized by re-flowering whereas antique roses, with rare exceptions, have a single bloom in May and June, which varies depending on the species. Included in the modern roses are the ground cover plants, plentiful blooming plants that need little maintenance and the hybrids Tea, commonly known as “cut flower”. The so-called “English roses”, a group of roses created by David Austin, an English hybridizer from the seventies, are also modern roses. They combine the elegance, the refinement and the fragrance of an antique rose with the generosity of a modern rose. Although my preference would normally go to antique roses, these English roses, exceptions aside, are the ones that I prefer the most among all modern roses.
I love their heady fragrance and the refined disposition of the petals.
My most favorite rose is the Maiden’s Blush rose, an Alba rose from the 15th century, which produces an abundant blossoming of pale pink and delicately scented flowers. The rose is also suitable for hedging. It is rustic and has a beautiful foliage, something rare for the roses that often don’t have a nice “bearing”. Someone said: “the rose is a beautiful flower on a very ugly shrub”. Exceptions aside, I find this definition quite appropriate. For this reason, I always prefer to frame the roses in the garden with a low growing evergreen shrub.