The quintessence of romantic imagery, the Bourbon rose!

There is an unspoken consensus among rosarians that roses are the crowning glory of botanical creation. No other plant was capable of achieving this status and no one ever will, even though many classic perennials, such as peonies, clematis and chrysanthemums have their fair share of fans.

You don't understand the roses' charisma until all of a sudden the light hits them just the right way or their multitude of velvety petals unfolds shyly under the raindrops. This one hypnotic image changes your detached appreciation to a devotion that spans a lifetime.

They are magical, the roses, especially the old ones, going back to the nineteenth century, the ones with one hundred petals or more and a pure heavenly scent. Bourbons are among the precious few that bloom in flushes all throughout summer, with the delicacy and high maintenance of a Victorian lady. They originated on a small island in the Indian Ocean, Ile Bourbon (now Reunion), as a natural hybrid of China and Damask roses, from whom they inherited the best qualities: the repeat blooming of their China ancestor and the exquisite flowers and arching growth of the Damasks.

I couldn't list the newer varieties, which are too many to count, but will remind you of the original Bourbons that still hold the standard for rose perfection: Souvenir de la Malmaison, Zephirine Drouhin, Louise Odier, Madame Isaac Pereire, Honorine de Brabant, Boule de Neige.

Their care is not for the faint of heart, since they are susceptible to black spot and generally difficult. If you do manage to keep them happy they will grace an arbor or a fence with the most surreal flush of color and perfume you can get in this world.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: and, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.