Gallica and Damask Roses
The Gallica rose is one of the earliest cultivated species of roses. This rose was cultivated by the Greeks and the Romans and was commonly used in medieval gardens. It is native to central and southern Europe including France. It is a compact rose lacking a strong fragrance. The Gallica rose blossom ranges in color from rich pinks to purples.
Charles de Mills is one of the Gallica roses that we have in the Rose Garden here at the Idaho Botanical Garden. It is a stunning rose with an abundance of petals giving the flower blossom the look of a carnation. It is a beautiful rose but lacks a fragrance.
The Damask rose is derived from Rosa gallica and Rosa moschata. Damask roses are renowned for their fine fragrance. Their flowers are commercially harvested for rose oil used in perfumery. The Damask rose is also a popular flavor or spice in Mediterranean cuisine. There are two varieties of Damask Roses, Summer Damasks and Autumn Damasks. Summer Damasks have a short flowering season, flowering only in summer. Autumn Damasks have a longer flowering season with some repeat blooms throughout the summer into autumn.
Here at the Idaho Botanical Garden we have a variety of Damask roses including the York and Lancaster rose. During the War of Roses in England from 1455 to 1485 the houses of York and Lancaster had white and red roses for their emblems of the war. The York and Lancaster rose, Rosa damascene versicolor, is a white rose flecked with pale pink and it symbolized the union of the house of York and Lancaster. It was first written about in 1551.
Leda was developed in the early nineteenth century. It is also known as the painted Damask rose. The petals are a light pink with dark pink tips. Leda is a very fragrant rose.
Rose de Rescht is another stunning rose. It often gets classified under Damask roses but its parentage is unknown. It has a fragrant deep pink blossom with an abundance of petals. Rose de Rescht is a prolific spring bloomer with repeat blooms throughout the summer.
For more information about these and other Old Garden Roses visit the website http://web.csulb.edu/~odinthor/oldrose.html . Check back next week for more information on the varieties of Old Garden Roses that we showcase here at the Idaho Botanical Garden.