Wonderful to see a feature on Old Roses on the BBC Gardeners World programme this week. Nick Bailey gave us a brief introduction to the Gallica, Alba and Damask groups from the wonderful Mottisfont Abbey gardens, who we supply, which was laid out by Graham Stuart Thomas and now holds the national collection of pre 1900 roses.
In ancient times roses were grown not only for the beauty of their flowers but also for their medicinal properties. Attar and rose water are still produced today using many of the old varieties such as Quatre Saisons, Kazanlik, Alba Maxima and Officinalis. Their virtues are many and varied and not only include antimicrobial, antioxidant and analgesic benefits but also ward off depression, diabetes and inflammation.
With their exotic scents, pastel tones and matt foliage they afford a calmer and more relaxed demeanour. They also make excellent garden plants, being far more tolerant of poorer conditions than many modern varieties. Although some are only summer flowering this tends to be very prolific over several weeks and should be savoured while it lasts.
For further reference see links bellow:
Nick Bailey’s favourite roses
See the episode of Gardener’s World on BBC iplayer here, clip on old roses at 36:40.