Oldies But Goodies; Antique Roses

Erin Conant

They’re quintessential symbols of beauty and romance. They often represent some of life’s most intimate and cherished moments. And they’ve been the object of adoration in gardens all over the world for centuries. I’m talking about roses.

Although our hearts belong to the bluebonnets, Texans adore roses just the same and proudly lay claim as the originator of some of the most beautiful ones in existence.

Old roses, also called antique roses, are treasured for their characteristics of cold, heat and drought tolerance, as well as adaptability to a variety of soils. During drought while other plants are suffering, antique roses are unfazed. In fact, old roses are a maintenance dream.

  • Plant them in an area that receives at least six hours of sun and add a small amount of organic matter.
  • Give them deep but infrequent soakings. It’s not unheard of to water them only twice a month.
  • Prune dead and crossing canes; trim no more than one-third of the plant’s foliage and stems twice a year (around Valentine’s Day and Labor Day) to promote new growth.

You can find antique roses in most local nurseries. Several varieties, including Old BlushMutabilis, and Belinda’s Dream are featured in the landscape at SAWS headquarters.

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Monarch butterfly on Duranta