"He who would have beautiful roses in his garden, must have beautiful roses in his heart" S. Reynolds Hole
Wild Roses have given much to the world. From these simple flowers came all of our modern and old garden roses.Their 5 single blooms with brightly colored and scented petals attracted insects, who with the winds, spread their pollen throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Their prickly thorns protected them from predators and their blossoms, early shoots and hips were sweet to the taste. Even today, their hips are a prized source of vitamin C and their petals are used to make delicious syrup.
Today, about 150 species grow throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Their colors range from different shades of pale and dark pink to white.
Some of the more prolific are the rugosa, canina (the dog rose), the pimpinellifolia (the Scotch rose) and chinensis. You can see them growing in the wild and you can also buy many of them for your garden.
Living on the Edge
Roses were here long before the first reptile left the sea for land. We think of dinosaurs as old but they are relatively young compared to plants.
At one time on the first continent, Pangea, all flora and fauna grew in relative close proximity to each other. Over the millennia Pangea broke into pieces. Those pieces became our continents. As the continents divided and drifted, so to were the flora and fauna divided.
About 2.5 million years ago, the Ice Age spawned another shift in the locations of all surviving life on earth. Many species were wiped, literally, off the face of the planet by glaciers that grew over much of the Earth.
Through all this, the rose survived. It is pure chance that all of its surviving species ended-up in Europe, Asia, northern Africa and North America.
As trade routes were established amongst the continents, the wild roses were introduced into commerce and spread to new land.
Their root stock made it possible for rosarians to cultivate new and beautiful heirloom old garden roses such as centifolias, one hundred petal roses, Bourbons and hybrid teas, just to name a few.
The great artists of the Renaissance made these hybrids famous in masterpieces that hang in renowned museums around the world.