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Hip Old Roses for Sustainable Landscaping

Updated on December 6, 2014
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For years, Yvonne has been developing a sustainable homestead complete with chickens, food plants, on-site water, solar power, and more.

Easy to Grow Old Antique and Heirloom Roses

Old and Antique Roses are making a big come back as homeowners want to grow attractive, low maintenance, sustainable rose bushes to add to their landscape. Many of the old varieties of roses have survived, unattended for years in cemeteries and on old homesteads all through the United States. Both native roses and old roses will continue to bloom fragrant flowers for years with little or no care.

These plants are being rediscovered and propagated by rose societies and also by Texas A&M University Agriculture System who has launched the "EarthKind" list of hardy, low maintenance, disease and insect resistant roses. Photographs, names and descriptions, growing tips and information about old, antique and EarthKind Roses can be found in this lens.

You CAN Grow Roses in a Sustainable Landscape

Old and Antique Roses are the New Rage!

Believe it or not, you can grow roses in a sustainable garden. Many old or antique roses and native roses are low maintenance, require no pesticides or frequent watering.

Texas A&M University Agriculture System has been conducting a hardiness study of many kinds of roses. In the study they plant many rose varieties out in a field in the hot Texas sun. Once they are established, the roses are left on their own and receive no watering, spraying or pruning. It's sink or swim for them. After 3 years, the ones that survive are designated "EarthKind" Roses. These roses possess the high level of landscape performance coupled with outstanding disease and insect tolerance and resistance required for this special designation. Very few (if any) of these trademarked EarthKind roses are hybrids. Almost all of them fall into the old rose category. These rose cultivars retain the resilience and fortitude that was programmed by nature.

Rose Hip of Cherokee Rose

This means that these roses will not require the use of harmful pesticides or fungicides so they are perfect for sustainable and eco-friendly landscaping. Unlike modern, hybrid roses, these beauties do not require hours of devoted attention. Old rose varieties will give the rose loving homeowner a rest from heavy fertilizing, spraying and nurturing that their hybrid cousins demand. Some old roses prefer a minimum amount of pruning. Many specimens were found living on their own in old cemeteries and home sites, untouched by human hands for years.

The new modern hybrids were bred for the size and shape of the individual flower, with little or no attention to the shape or form of the bush, so frequent pruning is necessary to make them look nice. Old roses have a natural beauty of form, a quality which does not diminish over the years. The colors of old roses are a little more muted that the more showy hybrids, but we prefer the soft pinks, yellows, whites and beautiful reds of the older varieties. And the fragrance of the old roses beats the modern hybrids, hands down.

Many of the old roses also have interesting foliage and colorful hips. These hips are a source of vitamin C and are quite delicious in tea, jelly and many other foods. Rose petals are also edible and have been used in aromatherapy for hundreds of years.

References: Chamblee's Rose Nursery and the Antique Rose Emporium. Both offer free catalogs which contain valuable information about old roses and their care.

EarthKind Rose Types

Dwarf Shrubs

Mairie Daly - pink double blooms from April through November; mature HxW: 3'-4' x 3'- 4'; Category: Polyantha

The Fairy - light pink semi-double blooms from April through November; mature HxW: 2'-4' x 4'; Category: Polyantha

Small Shrubs

Caldwell Pink - Lilac Pink double blooms from May - November; mature HxW: 3'-4' x 3'; Category: China

Perle d'Or - Apricot Yellow, semi-double blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 3'-6' x 3'-4'; Category: Polyantha

Medium Shrubs

Belinda's Dream - Pink, semi-double blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 3'-6' x 3'-4'; Category: shrub

Carefree Beauty - Pink double blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 4'-5' x 4'-5'; Category: shrub

Ducher - Pure white double blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 3'-5' x 3'-4'; Category: China

Duchesse de Brabant - Rose pink semi-double blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 4'-6 x 4'; Category: Tea

Else Poulsen - Pink single blooms from April-November; mature HxW: 3'-5' x 3'-4'; Category: Floribunda

Georgetown Tea - Pink blend double blooms from April- November; Mature HxW: 3'-5' x 4'; Category: Tea

Knock Out - Cherry red single blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 3'-6' x 3'-6'; Category: Shrub

La Marne - Pink/White semi-double blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 4'-6' x 4'-5'; Category: Polyantha

Mme. Antoine Mari - Pink Blend double blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 3'-5' x 4'; Category: Tea

Souvenir de St. Anne's - Light Pink single blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 3'-4' x 2'-3'; Category: Bourbon

Large Shrubs

Mutabilis - Yellow/Pink/Orange single blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 4'-10' x 6'; Category: China


Climbing Pinkie - Rose Pink semi-double blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 8'-12' x 6'; Category: Climbing Polyantha

New Dawn - Blush Pink semi-double blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 15'-20 x 8'-20'; Category: Shrub

Sea Foam - Creamy White double blooms from April-November; Mature HxW: 2'-8 x 4'; Category: Shrub

Hardy Roses: Growing Frost Free and Disease Resistant Varieties

EarthKind Environmental Practices

  • Practice enlightened methods of bed preparation prior to planting flowers and woody plants.
  • Get your soil tested. Contact your local County Agricultural Ectension Office for more information..
  • Base choice of fertilizer on current soil test..
  • Ensure 50 percent of nitrogen is in the slow-release (controlled release) form..
  • Based on soil test, eliminate unnecessary, environmentally detrimental nutrients. That is, only add what your soil test says that you need..
  • Practice year-round mulching using organic materials, preferably those that are on-hand..
  • Practice good irrigation, using drip irrigation whenever possible and making use of on-site water..
  • Change programming of overall irrigation system from automatic to manual..
  • Modify irrigation system so that turf areas and landscape beds are in separate irrigation zones..
  • Water thoroughly, but less frequently..
  • Dramatically reduce pesticide usage by using it only as a last resort..

Many of the photos seen here can be purchased in Naturegirl7's Zazzle Shop as print-on-demand products such as posters, cards, apparel, mugs, etc.

Louis Philippe

Hardy and Old Roses That We Grow

Old Roses

Louis Phillipe - Fragrant Crimson red double blooms from April-November; Mature: 3 to 5 feet, China Rose

Pink Noisette

Noisette Roses - Cottage Rose that could be Champneys' Pink Cluster or Blush Noisette - pink semi-double blooms from April-November; Mature: 4 to 8 feet

Cherokee Climber

Cherokee Rose - White single flowers in spring followed by large golden hips; This climbing rose from China has naturalized all over Southeastern Louisiana; Mature 5 to 15+ feet.

The Fairy

The Fairy - Light pink semi-double clusters blooming from April-November; Mature HxW: 2'-4' x 4'; Category: Polyantha and EarthKind

Uknown Found Near Jessie's Cabin

Jessie's Rose - Found near Coushatta, La on an abandoned homesite. Unknown very fragrant purplish-pink draping bush Rose that could be a form of Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris scandens) or "Maggie" (William C. Welch, Heirloom Plants of the South) It blooms in spring.

Old Red Rose

Duchess de Brabant - Fragrant Light Pink repeat blooms from April to November; Mature: 4 to 6 feet; Tea Rose and EarthKind

Caldwell Pink - Pink blend clusters repeat bloom from April to November; Mature: 3 to 4 feet, found Rose and EarthKind

Unknown Hardy Red Rose - Very fragrant, deep red double rose that was on the property which blooms from April to November; bright red rose-hips

Caldwell Pink

Old Heirloom Antique Own Root Rose Caldwell Pink, Pink Pet, Summer Carnation
Old Heirloom Antique Own Root Rose Caldwell Pink, Pink Pet, Summer Carnation

Hardy antique rose that will thrive with little or no care.


Small red cluster that I got at Albertson's 25 years ago. It is probably Happy, a polyantha Rose, Currant red tiny semidouble blooms from April-November. Mature: 2 to 3 feet.

Native Carolina Rose

Native Roses

Carolina Rose (Rosa Carolina)- single pink flowered shrub that grows in groups and is seldom over 3 feet tall.

Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) - More leggy shrub rose with pinkish-purple semi-double fragrant flowers.

Swamp Rose

Do you think you may want to try growing old-fashioned roses?

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In the Language of Fowers

Kate Greenaway

During Victorian times young ladies and gentlemen made bouquets called "tussie mussies" which used the "language of flowers" to express their feelings about another. In 1884, Kate Greenaway published, "Kate Greenaway's Language of Flowers". It is a remarkably complete listing of flowers, with their symbolic meaning, made more remarkable by Greenaway's illustrations. The following is an excerpt from Kate Greenaway's Language of Flowers.

The Rose in the symbolic meanings of flowers:


Rose, Austrian...Thou art all that is lovely.

Rose, Bridal... Happy love.

Rose, Burgundy... Unconscious beauty.

Rose, Cabbage... Ambassador of love.

Rose, Campion... Only deserve my love.

Rose, Carolina... Love is dangerous.

Rose, China... Beauty always new.

Rose, Christmas... Tranquillize my anxiety.

Rose, Daily... Thy smile I aspire to.

Rose, Damask... Brilliant complexion.

Rose, Deep Red... Bashful shame.

Rose, Dog... Pleasure and pain.

Rose, Guelder... Winter, Age.

Rose, Hundred-leaved... Pride.

Rose, Japan... Beauty is your only attraction.

Rose, Maiden Blush... If you love me, you will find it out.

Rose, Multiflora...Grace

Rose, Mundi... Variety.

Rose, Musk... Capricious beauty.

Rose, Musk, Cluster... Charming.

Rose, Single... Simplicity.

Rose, Thornless... Early attachment.

Rose, unique... Call me not beautiful.

Rose, white... I am worthy of you.

Rose, white (withered)... Transient impressions.

Rose, Yellow... Decrease of love. Jealously.

Rose, York and Lancaster... War.

Rose, Full-blown, placed over two Buds... Secrecy.

Rose, White and Red together... Unity.

Roses, Crown of... Reward of virtue.

Rosebud, Red... Pure and lovely.

Rosebud, White... Girlhood.

Rosebud, Moss... Confession of love.

Knock Out Roses Video - One of the EarthKind Roses

The Fairy Mug

Old and Wild Roses on Zazzle

Relax in your rose garden while drinking rose hip tea from an old rose mug designed by naturegirl7.

Duchess de Brabant

Antique Roses Are Sustainable

Most old roses will thrive without synthetic pesticides and/or fertilizer. Organic fertilizer like rabbit food in pellet forms and well rotten manure and other natural methods will keep these roses healthy and disease free.

Miniature Rose Plants - If you only have a windowsill or patio

Potted Pink Miniature Rose Plant
Potted Pink Miniature Rose Plant

This small rose would make a lovely gift. It can be enjoyed indoors or transplanted outdoors.


Heirloom Roses YouTube vid

© 2008 Yvonne L. B.

Tell Us What You Think About Old Roses

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    • profile image

      boutiqueshops 7 years ago

      Roses are my favorite; I have a Mister Lincoln and a knock-out rose that delight me all year round. Amazing for Mister Lincoln. I also have miniature, climbing and other bush roses. I see several here that I may just have to add! Favorited & featured on my June Is National Rose Month page

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Love the old roses that I see growing in the wild. There is a simple beauty to them.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 7 years ago

      I like the older roses. They've always been my favorites.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very interesting lens. As always, love you photos. The Zazzle mugs are great too!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      This is a great lens and so full of valuable information. Blessed and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust

    • profile image

      aishu19 7 years ago

      I love the pictures ...great lens...

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      I simply adore hip old roses.

      My parents had them at their cottage

      and my sister has them at her house

      located near the St.Laurence River

      in La Belle Province of Quebec.

      They smell "divine".


    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 8 years ago from La Verne, CA

      We have nesting bluebirds this year for the first time. All we did was put up a bird house.

      The juveniles from the first clutch are helping with the second set of chicks. They are very entertaining.

    • profile image

      heipet 8 years ago

      Blogged about your great lens!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 8 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I absolutely must get more roses into my flower beds! You have a beautiful lens here. Angel blessings and 5*.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      I love the roses, but its so hot and humid here in the summer. Rather than plant my own, I enjoy my mother's when I head north in the summer.

      Great lens


    • Orphie G profile image

      Orphie G 9 years ago

      Thanks so much for featuring my "Old Roses" photo....This is a great lens about the old roses....5*****