Many old rose species are represented in this category including: albas, centifolias, chinensis, gallicas, damasks, moss, and rugosas. Modern shrubs have been hybridized over so many generations that they are far removed from these original rose families, often losing the original charming characteristics of fragrance, variety of plant form, and bloom quality,BUT they do bloom more than once. Modern hybridizers like the Europeans Poulsen and Kordes have focussed on producing disease resistant varieties, so I have included a select few of them in my rose garden. In this shrub group one of the best choices for fragrance, health, ease of growing and repeat bloom are the Rugosa roses, which I will highlight with this color. They have a distinctive thick, crinkly textured leaf that apparently repels insects and diseases.
BLANC DOUBLE DE COUBERT A semi-double, gorgeous, white, horribly healthy rose. As with most Rugosas, it has a fine fragrance. Health is EX
BOTZARIS Has gorgeous, fully packed, richly textured flat-faced blooms of blush to pure white. A wonderful fragrance. Health is VG
CHARLES DE MILLS It's quartered form is a glory to behold! A rose to die for; it is of unknown antiquity. It grows as a fine stocky shrub to 5 feet and can be trimmed back to keep it from splaying out. Health is VG
COMPLICATA A very fine ancient Gallica. . Makes a large floppy shrub of about 6x5 feet. It's a rewarding rose to grow for the beginner because it's vigorous and so undemanding. Just give it enough room to grow if you want the canes to arch down, or give it some support (fence, cage, wall) if you want it tidier. It is not even fussy on where you site it. Health is VG
DUCHESSE DE MONTEBELLO An elegant old lady dating from 1829. Has a dainty double bloom of blush pink. A tidy upright shrub to about 7 ft., with a fairly strong old rose fragrance Health is EX
DUSKY MAIDEN As the name implies, this rose is a gorgeous dusky red tone on a strong plant with dark green foliage. Does best with some tying up or support and will bloom much of the summer. Health is VG
F.J. GROOTENDORST A vigorous shrub with clusters of small crimson doubles with ruffled edges. A tidy shrub to about 5 or 6 ft. Health is EX
FANTIN LATOUR Very old with abundant, gorgeous, fully double blooms. Looks best when you let it spill over. It's famous as the "Cabbage Rose" pictured in many an old Renaissance painting. It makes a fine relaxed shrub in the landscape. If you want it neater, cage and/or prune it. Health is G
FELICITE PARMENTIER Another healthy specimen of the Alba roses dated pre 1828. It forms a smaller plant than most in its class (about 4x3), but still has the same great fragrance. A beautiful rose with its intricately packed petals and delicate coloring. Health is EX.
FRITZ NOBIS The small gray-green leaves provide a nice foil for the lovely blush pink blooms. It is a dense bush abundantly covered in good-sized double flowers. Health is VG
FRU DAGMAR HASTRUP My favorite rugosa has it all: delicate shell pink blooms, tinted foliage and great huge hips in the fall, and a marvelous fruity/spicy fragrance. An upright shrub, with a usual height of 3 feet or so. Suckers readily on its own roots. Starts blooming for me in late May, then has 2 more flushes. Health is EX
GREAT MAIDEN'S BLUSH This rose is rose expert's Peter Beale's favorite Alba. It's original name of Cuisse de Nymphe (Nymph's Thigh) indicates the voluptuousness of its delicate flesh tones. Finding the original name a tad racy, the Victorians renamed it. More lax in its growth than most of the Albas but a joy in full bloom. Health is EX
HANSA A classic looking rugosa; vigorous and floriferous. Spreads rampantly by suckering, so it's great for covering wilder areas of your garden. Health is EX
JENS MUNK Dense, bushy growth and a strong pink semi-double bloom that has prominent yellow stamens. A lovely fragrance. Health is EX
HEBE'S LIP An ancient sweet flower. The crisp white petals have lip-shaped edges delicately tinged with pink. It forms a loose shrub about 4 feet high. Has a medium fragrance. Health is VG
HOT COCOA Deep rust buds unfurl into clusters of 4 inch smoky chocolate orange blooms. Mild fruity fragrance and repeat blooms. Health is VG
MME. LOUIS LEVEQUE Fully double "old-fashioned" looking rose with its silky petals in a mossy nest. The light pink blooms are of a good size and the plant will bloom twice. Some protection from the full blast of the rain is desirable as the petals wad up like tissue if soaked. Will droop if not caged or pruned down from its natural height of 4+ feet. Health is G.
MORNING MIST Great hot colors of deep pink, peach and yellow. A showstopper of a single on an attractive bush. The buds of this rose are particularly attractive, being fat and a vibrant deep pink. A recent D.A hybrid, and one of his better ones. Very fragrant. Health is VG