Jane Falk Oppenheimer Heirloom Rose Garden
The Jane Falk Oppenheimer Heirloom Rose Garden offers a delightful collection of Heirloom and newer roses within an old-fashioned garden setting. Planted among the roses and along this garden’s borders are a host of popular perennials used to extend the seasonal interest of the garden. Named for Jane Falk Oppenheimer, who, along with her husband Arthur, donated the funding to initiate this garden.
What are old, antique or heirloom roses you ask? The most common definition given is “all roses that were in existence before the introduction in 1867 of La France”, the very first hybrid tea rose. In the Jane Falk Oppenheimer Heirloom Rose Garden, we feature roses bred and introduced before 1920, although a few newer roses are also present.
The Heirloom Rose Garden is designed to harmonize with its picturesque surroundings. Sandstone terraces reflect the contours of the Boise foothills and the rustic stone walls of the Old Penitentiary. Although it is one of IBG’s older gardens, opening in 1989 with more than 60 collections, the Heirloom Rose Garden was completely renovated in 1999. It is now home to more than 107 specimens (CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF PLANT SPECIES). You will find the rose garden north of the Garden Cottage past the brick plaza.
Our roses fall into the categories Alba, Bourbon, Centifolia, China, Damask, Gallica, Hybrid Perpetual, Hybrid Musk, Moss, English, Ramblers and Climbers, Polyanthas, Shrub, Floribundas, Hybrid Teas, and Miniatures. The following is a brief definition of each rose type:
Alba: Probably the original ‘White Rose of York,’ the original Alba may be a Roman rose over 2,000 years old. Commonly called the “White Roses,” they are the most hardy and disease resistant of all old roses. Most are very large, 4-5 feet tall, fragrant, and bloom in mass profusion in June for four weeks. Blooms range in color from white to medium pink. Heirloom.
Bourbon: Originated on l'Île de Bourbon (now called Réunion) off the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Most likely the result of a cross between the Autumn Damask and the 'Old Blush' China rose, both of which were frequently used as hedging materials on the island. These vigorous, frequently semi-climbing shrubs with glossy foliage and purple-tinted canes flower repeatedly. First Introduced in France in 1823. Heirloom.
Centifolia: Also called the ‘Cabbage’ or ‘Provence Rose’, these many-petaled roses are a complex hybrid, developed in Holland in the 15th century. Bloom colors range from white to deep burgundy/maroon. Most grow tall and lanky, so a fence or some structure is needed for good garden looks. Centifolias bloom in great abundance in mid-summer for about three weeks. Heirloom.
China: Grown in East Asia for thousands of years, these roses finally reached Western Europe in the late 1700s. Although Chinese roses had smaller, less fragrant, more poorly formed blooms on twiggy, cold-sensitive shrubs, they possessed the ability to bloom repeatedly through the summer and into late autumn, unlike their European counterparts. This made them highly desirable for hybridization purposes in the early 1800s. Four China roses were brought to Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This brought about the creation of the first classes of repeat-flowering Old Garden Roses, and later the Modern Garden Roses. Heirloom.
Damask: Found in Italy in 1580, these were the first repeat blooming roses in Europe. These roses were used for rose oil (Attar of Roses) production for centuries, and are used in the production of all great perfumes today (it takes 11,000 pounds of rose petals to produce 2 pounds of rose oil!). These very double blooms have colors ranging from white to deep maroon/purple. Heirloom.
Gallica: Also known as the ‘Rose of Lancaster’, the ‘Apothecary’ or ‘French’ rose, or the ‘Rose of Provins’, this rose was probably the emblem of the Lancastrians. It was grown in Persia in the 12th century B.C. These informal roses generally bloom once a season, and are probably the most popular of all old roses. Blooms range from very double, semi-double to single. Blooms are in colours of pale pink to deep purple. Heirloom.
Hybrid Perpetual: These roses bridge the gap between old and new rose types. They come only in white, pink, and red (no yellow). This is a more formal rose plant and usually goes well with the later Hybrid Teas. Heirloom.
Hybrid Musk: First appeared in 1904, these continuous blooming flowers are generally climbers or ramblers. They are available in shades from white to red and do include yellows. Heirloom.
Moss: This rose emerged as a sport from a Centifolia (sometimes from a Damask) prior to the mid-18th century. All are sterile with a distinctive mossy exudate on the stems and sepals that emits a pleasant woodsy scent. They are cherished for this unique trait, but have contributed little to the development of new rose classifications. Moss roses with Centifolia background are once-flowering; some moss roses exhibit repeat-blooming, indicative of Autumn Damask parentage. Heirloom.
English: Although not officially recognized as a separate class of roses by established rose authorities, they are often set aside as such. Development started in the 1960s in England by David Austin who wanted to rekindle interest in Old Garden Roses by hybridizing them with modern hybrid teas and floribundas. Austin mostly succeeded in his mission; his tribe of ‘English’ roses, also known as ‘David Austin’ roses, now number hundreds of varieties. They are still actively developed, but many are susceptible to the same disease problems that plague modern hybrid teas and floribundas, and many are not hardy north of USDA Zone 5.
Ramblers and Climbers: These plants have long canes, 12-15 feet long, and must be supported and tied to a trellis, fence, or wall. There are 2 types: ‘Bloomers’ bloom in spring and again in fall, and ‘Everbloomers’, which flower throughout the season.
Polyanthas: A 17th century rose, it has led to the more modern Floribunda. Their casual form and quality lend their use to informal perennial and shrub plantings.
Shrub: An increasing demand for shrub roses has prompted breeders to produce many varied tall varieties, all with long flowering seasons. Their color variety, hardiness, and fragrance make these shrub roses a compliment in any informal planting.
Floribundas: With the name meaning “many flowers”, these roses are small in diameter (3-4”) and are born in clusters. They are very colorful and are often used in gardens for color effect. A continuous blooming flower, they come in all colors and may be planted formally or informally.
Hybrid Teas: This beautiful and popular modern rose has large, well-shaped blooms, usually with only one per stem. It was originally a cross between a ‘Tea Rose’ and a ‘Hybrid Perpetual’. The growth and form is rather stiff and erect and lends itself to more formal plantings.
Miniatures: These are a separate and distinct species, NOT a dwarfed or stunted rose. They were very popular in the 1800s, then fell from fashion, but have recently gained popularity. Blooms come in all the hybrid tea colors.