Old Garden Roses

Picture the classic double-flowered rose blooms and imagine that unforgettable fragrance – the old garden rose takes you back to another time. An old garden rose is defined as any rose belonging to a class which existed before the introduction of the first modern rose in 1867. Alternative terms for this group include heritage and historic roses. Some old garden roses date back to the time of the Roman Empire when they were revered for their beauty and fragrance. 

For many gardeners the thought of roses makes you think of diseased leaves and high maintenance. The benefit of the old garden roses is the highly disease-resistant foliage. These roses comprise a multifaceted group, that, in general, are easy to grow, disease-resistant and winter-hardy. 

Most old garden roses are classified into one of the following groups: alba, gallica, damask, Provence, moss, Portland, china, tea, bourbons, noisettes, hybrid perpetuals, hybrid musk, hybrid rugosa, and Bermuda “mystery”. 

The Lake Wilderness Arboretum has a variety of Old Garden Roses in the Perennial Garden and the neighboring Legacy Garden