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Garden RosesGarden roses are predominantly hybrid roses that are grown as ornamental plants in private or public gardens. They are one of the most popular and widely cultivated groups of flowering plants, especially in temperate climates. Numerous cultivars have been produced, especially over the last two centuries, though roses have been known in the garden for millennia beforehand. While most garden roses are grown for their flowers, some are also valued for other reasons, such as having ornamental fruit, providing ground cover, or for hedging.
It is believed that roses were grown in many the early civilisations of temperate latitudes from at least 5000 years ago. They are known to have been grown in ancient Babylon. Paintings of roses have been discovered in Egyptian pyramid tombs from the 14th century BC. Records exist of them being grown in Chinese gardens and Greek gardens from at least 500 BC. Many of the original plant breeders used roses as a starting material as it is a quick way to obtain results.
Most of the plants grown in these early gardens are likely to have been species collected from the wild. However, there were large numbers of selected varieties being grown from early times; for instance numerous selections or cultivars of the China rose were in cultivation in China in the first millennium AD.
The significant breeding of modern times started slowly in Europe, from about the 17th century. This was encouraged by the introduction of new species, and especially by the introduction of the China rose into Europe in the 19th century. An enormous range of roses has been bred since then. A major contributor in the early 19th century was Empress Josephine of France who patronized the development of rose breeding at her gardens at Malmaison. As long ago as 1840 a collection numbering over one thousand different cultivars, varieties and species was possible when a rosarium was planted by Loddiges nursery for Abney Park Cemetery, an early Victorian garden cemetery and arboretum in England.
Roses are one of the most popular garden shrubs in the world with both indoor and outdoor appeal. They possess a number of general features that cause growers and gardeners to choose roses for their gardens. This includes the wide range of colours they are available in; the generally large size of flower, larger than most flowers in temperate regions; the variety of size and shape; the wide variety of species and cultivars that freely hybridize.
Rose flowers have historically been cultivated in a diverse number of colours ranging in intensity and hue; they are also available in countless combinations of colours which result in multicoloured flowers. Breeders have been able to widen this range through all the options available with the range of pigments in the species. This gives us yellow, orange, pink, red, white and many combinations of these colours. However, they lack the blue pigment that would give a true purple or blue colour and until the 21st century all true blue flowers were created using some form of dye. Now, however, genetic modification is introducing the blue pigment. Colours are bred through plant breeding programs which have existed for a long time. Roses are often bred for new and intriguing colour combinations which can fetch premium prices in market.
There is no single system of classification for garden roses. In general, however, roses are placed in one of three main groups: Wild, Old Garden, and Modern Garden roses. The latter two groups are usually subdivided further according to hybrid lineage, although due to the complex ancestry of most rose hybrids, such distinctions can be imprecise. Growth habit and floral form are also used as means of classification. This is the most common method to classify roses as it reflects their growth habits.
Designed by Violet from American Violet Society