Old roses, the antiques, are tough. They come to us from the days before water hoses and pesticides and will survive a lot of neglect. When they are not in bloom, which is not often, they are attractive shrubs, as they have a fairly dense form and good foliage.
I strongly recommend the following four varieties of antique roses:
- ‘Martha Gonzales,’ two feet in height and width, is effective in groups of three or as a low hedge. It has a profusion of single-layer red flowers.
- ‘Cremoisi Superier,’ also red-blossomed but with more petals, is a good single specimen and is effective mixed with white “iceberg” roses. It grows four to six feet in height.
- ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ is an excellent single specimen. Its blossoms are pale pink and large, with thick petals. It usually remains at around three feet tall.
- ‘Mrs. B. R. Cant’ needs to be in its own flower bed with room to spread, reaching eight feet in every direction if not pruned. The blossoms are dark pink, full and cupped, with a nice aroma. These blossoms make good cut flowers.
These four old roses bloom almost continuously, are resistant to black spot, and, once established, require little watering.
Rosemary Moyers, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service