Who can resist the traditional beauty of an old-fashioned rose garden? Certainly not I!
One aromatic brush with the sweet smell of an heirloom rose variety sends me drifting back through time with its perfumed petals.
It can be a challenge to find as many richly scented roses nowadays as were once growing in front of our great-grandmother’s front porches, or climbing their trellises.
These days, roses with gorgeous names and luscious colors deceptively beckon our noses to sniff their blossoms, only to leave us feeling tricked upon realizing their utter lack of fragrance.
If you have a weakness for old-fashioned flowers like I do, then you’ll probably want to look into adding some old cabbage roses to your garden.
Known by their Latin name of Centifolias, meaning 100 petals, cabbage roses are among the oldest varieties, and are believed to have been providing scent and beauty to gardens for centuries — even before the time of Christ. They are also sometimes known as Damascena, or Damask roses.
According to HeirloomRoses.com, “(Cabbage roses) are some of the oldest of roses and have great historic importance. The Centifolias with their often large and many petaled blooms became very popular in Dutch gardens and therefore with the Dutch Masters. These classic Old Garden Roses are often reproduced in the prints popular today.”
To further extol the virtues of the old-fashioned cabbage rose, it should be pointed out that they are among the most common varieties traditionally used in making rose water, or rose perfume.
If you’re tired of the showy, but fragrance-free varieties of roses at your local home improvement store, perhaps it would be worthwhile to visit a local nursery or garden center.
If you have trouble finding what you’re looking for in your town, you can always go online. Probably the best known purveyor of old rose varieties is David Austin Roses, based in the United Kingdom.
Now, go take time to smell the roses!
BONUS: I thought it would be fun to include this video of Donna Dewberry teaching how to paint a cabbage rose using acrylic paints.