Rosa xanthina f. hugonis (Hugo rose)

Rosa xanthina f. hugonis (Hugo rose)

Can you smell them through the screen? A nostalgic favorite and certainly a tried-and-true garden classic, roses are now in bloom in the gardens! These flowers reach their peak in June and have bloom times ranging from 6 to 8 weeks. However, many species and hybrids will continue to put on a show through early fall. Modern hybrids have been bred for their extended bloom times and most do so in cycles, meaning several blooms throughout the season.

Rosa 'Gartendirektor Otto Linne' (shrub rose)

Rosa ‘Gartendirektor Otto Linne’ (shrub rose)

Roses are a type of perennial shrub, of which there are over 300 accepted species and more than 30,000 cultivated varieties. Roses have been cultivated for thousands of years, and the first rose garden was thought to be created about 5,000 years ago in China. Many roses are cultivated for their beautiful, fragrant flowers, which range in color from white, yellow, and pink to peach, orange, and red. This plant comes in a variety of forms, including shrub, miniature (perfect for containers), and climbing (ideal for walled gardens, trellises, and arbors). Many roses are celebrated for their fragrance, and some produce small berry-like fruits called rosehips when spent flowers are left on the plant. These fruits are high in vitamin C and are a valued resource in the cosmetic, natural supplement, and food industries.

Rosa carolina (pasture rose)

Rosa carolina (pasture rose)

While most rose species are native to Asia (fewer native to Europe and Africa), some are native to eastern North America, including the pasture rose (Rosa carolina pictured above) and Virginia rose (Rosa virginiana). North American wild roses have a simpler, but beautiful, shape with typically 5 outstretched petals instead of the traditional cup shape. On the other hand, traditional cultivated roses are descended hybrids from fewer than 10 species of Asian roses. These flowers have multiple sets of petals outstretched from the center, forming a cup shape. Both wild and cultivated shrubs are known for their thorn-covered stems and deep-green leaves with toothed edges.

Rosa 'Francis E. Lester' (hybrid musk rose)

Rosa ‘Francis E. Lester’ (hybrid musk rose)

Over 200 specimens spanning 50 different cultivars and hybrids will bloom throughout the summer in various garden areas in the Arboretum. The primary rose collection at the Arboretum lives in the Rose and Fragrance Garden, including a diversity of taxa such as the hybrid musk rose (Rosa ‘Cornelia’), miniature rose (Rosa ‘Tinresist’ Irresistible™), large-flowered climbing rose (Rosa ‘Wekprimsoul’ Sky’s the Limit™), and the shrub rose (Rosa ‘Ausquest’ Crocus Rose™), among many others. Multiple cultivars of shrub rose (such as Rosa ‘Radcor’ Rainbow Knock Out® and Rosa ‘Bucbi’ Carefree Beauty™) are also planted in the Strolling Gardens. Those native to Pennsylvania, including the Virginia rose and pasture rose, can be found in the Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden as well as the Pollinator and Bird Garden.

Rosa 'Wekprimsoul' Sky's the Limit™ (large-flowered climbing rose)

Rosa ‘Wekprimsoul’ Sky’s the Limit™ (large-flowered climbing rose)

Be sure to visit the Rose and Fragrance Garden to witness these timeless and elegant blooms and experience their intoxicating floral aroma, happening now through October!

Rosa 'Cornelia' (hybrid musk rose)

Rosa ‘Cornelia’ (hybrid musk rose)