Saturday, January 22, 2011

New and Improved?

Did you know that roses are separated into two categories?  OGRs (Old Garden Roses) and Modern roses.  OGRs and Modern roses each have several classes in these two categories.  A Modern rose is any class of rose introduced after 1836.  Not very modern, huh?

You see, in the rose world, 1837 is a very important year.  That year is the year the first Hybrid Tea was introduced, and it started a whole new class of roses.

Just to get a little technical, the OGR classes include Alba, Centifolias, Chinas, Teas, Gallicas, and more.  In addition to the Hybrid Tea, newer classes of roses introduced after 1836 and considered Modern roses include Floribundas, Grandifloras, Miniatures, etc.

OGRs are not very popular.  They are not usually sold at Wal-Mart and Lowes.  However, I did snatch up the little beauty below at Home Depot:

An OGR, the Gallica 'Belle de Crecy'
It must have really felt out of place there.  It was the only OGR in the place.  I usually make a quick check every year at those stores and have never seen another OGR for sale yet.

When people start a rose garden, most will just pick up what's easily available, which is most of the time a Modern.  And even if they knew there were Old Garden Roses and Modern roses, people might assume that a Modern rose is improved in all areas.  But - hold your horses!  Let's see how improved the Modern roses really are:

Modern - most have no scent, though more are now being bred with this trait.  David Austin has become famous in rose circles by breeding modern roses with scrumptious scents.
OGR - most have a lovely scent, from the classic rose scent to citrus and even those that smell like tea leaves.  Some are slightly, others strongly, scented.

An interesting fact: People seem to smell different scents with varying degrees - I may be able to smell the citrus scent, but you may not, or vice versa.

Modern - some are quite disease free, others are a disease magnet with a pretty face.  The Modern class of Hybrid Teas, specifically, have a reputation for not being disease resistant.
OGR - same as the moderns - some are good, some are not.

FYI: The big three rose diseases are rust, mildew and blackspot.  Different areas are prone to different diseases, so knowledge of which disease resistance you desire is important.

Modern - most are bred to bloom continuously in the summer.
OGR - some bloom only once yearly, others bloom continuously in the summer.

Modern - while a few may be evergreen, most will lose their leaves during the winter.
OGR - some classes of OGRs are deciduous; others are evergreen.

One of my OGRs, a Tea, 'Mrs. Dudley Cross' full of leaves in January:

Who cares about OGRs?  Why do people like them?  Well, some for scent.  Others for their evergreen leaves.  And some for their bloom form.  A post of mine showing the different bloom forms between Teas (OGR) and Hybrid Teas is here.  

Who cares about Moderns?  People who love that specific bloom form.  And people may think Modern is better.  But as you can see, new doesn't necessarily mean improved.  You have to dig a little deeper with roses.

Whether you want an OGR, a modern rose, or just something pretty, there are so many different roses, with a little research you should be able to find a rose that has good disease resistance in your area, scent if you want it, continual bloom if that is important to you, and maybe even leaves in the winter!  But don't just fall for a pretty face.  :)

1 comment:

  1. I saw your profile on Blotanical and searched for your blog.

    Stuart is back from 6-months vacation. If you can't add your blog on Blotanical by clicking on the Join tab and following the prompts, send him a message asking for help.

    Happy gardening on warm days and blogging on cold ones.


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