Sunday, June 19, 2011

Damask Roses

Damask roses are named after the city of Damascus because they were brought to Europe from the Middle East by the Crusaders.

R. damascena versicolor "York and Lancaster" (unknown origin, before 1551)

These roses possess arguably the most refined fragrance of all, and were quickly turned to commercial use.

R. damascena trigintipetala "Kazanlik" (unknown origin, before 1612)

Kazanlik especially is still cultivated in Eastern Europe and the Middle East to produce the essence, or attar, of roses.

R. damascena bifera "Autumn Damask" (Quatre Saisons) (unknown origin, before 1633)

Most damasks are once-blooming (summer damasks) with the exception of Autumn Damask above, which is known as Quatre Saisons in France for its rebloom in autumn.

Omar Khayyam (unknown origin, before 1893)
Damasks suffered perhaps the biggest decline in popularity among all rose classes...


Blush Damask (unknown origin, 1759)


... and very few of them are available to a gardener today.

'Arcata Perpetual Damask' (Found)

This is perhaps because most damasks, older varieties especially, form large, sprawling shrubs that are not easy to fit into a garden.

Gloire de Guilan (discovered in 1949)
However, while the original damasks are mostly collector's roses, some of the later ones, such as Mme Hardy or La Ville de Bruxelles, remain popular and continue to grace many gardens with their lovely blooms and wonderful fragrance.

La Ville de Bruxelles (Vibert, before1846)

All pictures were taken at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden this spring.

40 comments:

  1. Красивые розы!

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  2. Masha - Thanks for enlightening us again on the subject of roses. The fluffy petals of the damask rose invite you to bury your nose in them. I'm going to reference your blog in my next post.

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  3. My one neighbor has an old Damask that is stunning in bloom. You are right, you see then less and less.

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  4. Masha, this is a wonderful post about the Damask roses! I am so glad that you wrote about them, which helps that they don't get forgotten. Hopefully your beautiful photos are tempting some people to grow them in their own gardens. Your post also emphasizes how important the San Jose Heritage Rose garden is to preserve these beauties and give the broader public the opportunity to still see and admire them in person. Your photography seems to get better and better. Thank you!
    Christina

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  5. Well, I must search out Gloire de Guilan and La Ville de Bruxelles, thanks Masha. But I must ask, no pictures of Madame Hardy?

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  6. Spasibo, Mari.

    B-a-g, thank you, it will be an honor to be mentioned on your blog.

    Donna, I am glad your neighbor has one, such a rarity.

    Christina, thank you. I hope rare roses will be seen more often, they deserve it.

    Professor, Mme Hardy is not the healthiest of roses here. Also I tried to include the less common ones assuming they will be more interesting to look at. Mme Hardy is pretty well-known.

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  7. Well, I need a Damask Rose in my garden. Will need to see if they will grow in my humid Louisiana Garden.

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  8. Just lovely! I love the smell of roses. Very enchanting pictures...

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  9. I hope they do, Jeannie, some of them are really lovely.

    Thank you, Sandra, I love rose fragrance too.

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  10. Różowy dzisiaj Twój różany ogród. Podoba mi się najbardziej Damask Blush. Śliczna. Pozdrawiam

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  11. Lovely roses. I am partial to the gallicas and centifolias. Probably because they will grow in my climate whereas the damask will not. I do however keep books with lots of photos of damask and other old roses.

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  12. Thanks for the tour. Interesting indeed. I love fragrance in the garden. I need more of it.

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  13. Thank you, Giga, I am glad you liked them.

    Patty, hello, and gallicas and centifolias are probably better choices for a garden anyway... I love reading well illustrated and well written rose books. There is nothing like a good rose book to make me order more roses for my garden :)

    Greggo, you are welcome. I am always looking for fragrance in the garden too. There are lots of choices fortunately.

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  14. Dear Masha, I can almost smell their heady fragrance! Wonderful posting. P. x

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  15. Beautiful blooms, Masha. I wish I had your green thumb when it comes to roses. What are some no fail suggestions for good varieties to plant? Carla

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  16. Thanks for this post. So many of our old varities are being lost. Posts such as this keep them alive! Especially love the Blush Damask and York & Lancaster rose

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  17. Thank you, Pam. I am so glad to hear from you again.

    Carla, it is hard to suggest roses for someone who lives in such a different climate. I will try to do a bit of research for you and get back with an answer :).

    RR, thank you. Blush Damask is beautiful, but York and Lancaster has blooms of an unstable color (sometimes pink, sometimes white, hence the name) and is an ungainly sprawling monster. Peter Beales says it is a collector's rose and it better stay that way :). On the other hand, you are definitely a collector and one of the few people who can appreciate a rose with a rich history.

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  18. Thanks so much for sharing these lovely images with us. My absolute favorite damask rose is Comte de Chambord.

    I can't tell you how many times people have asked why I keep a rose that only blooms once during the season! These are the same people who plant thousands of spring flowering bulbs, peonies, and lupines. Most of my old garden roses only bloom once and I savor each day they are in bloom.

    I love peonies as much as the next person does, but for sheer beauty and fragrance, give me a damask rose any day!

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  19. Not only a beautiful fragrance, but the clear shade of pink is amazing too. Beautiful post.

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  20. Cathy and Steve, thank you. Once-blooming roses are certainly worth garden space, and there are many advantage, such as ease of care and disease resistance that make them so wonderful. Comte de Chambord is probably a hybrid perpetual rose Mme. Boll, but there is quite a bit of confusion in the classification...

    Sweetbay, thank you. Some of them would probably look good in your woodland garden...

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  21. Masha, despite their lack of popularity these days Damask Roses are very beautiful. Omar Khayyam is magnificent.

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  22. I am aware of the confusion between CdC and Mme Boll; however, we are confident that our Comte de Chambord is who she claims to be.

    Our rose came from a cutting propagated by a master rosarian who, before his death, forgot more about old world roses than I will ever know. He gave me a rose propagated from one of his own roses.

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  23. Thank you, Alistair. I am glad you agree with me.

    Cathy and Steve, it is great if it is indeed so. Perhaps it could be re-introduced into the commerce one day.

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  24. Perhaps it will, either by us or by a botanical garden or rosarian who also has stock.

    We are actually having it's identification verified, but honestly, it has extreme sentimental value to me and I won't part with it. I moved it from my former home to where we are now (quite the production!).

    We are not in the business of propagating roses now, although perhaps we might consider that following retirement. Given the concern about mis-identification, if we did decide to take cuttings and sell them commercially, we would only do so if we were able to unequivocally confirm authenticity.

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  25. I understand. I was not suggesting you do it yourselves by any means, but there are other knowledgeable rosarians around who are good at ID and at starting roses from cuttings (so you wouldn't have to part with the mother plant). Rose cuttings are often sent by mail.

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  26. We're aware. We do belong to the ARS as well as our local regional RS and we do know a lot of experts in the rose community (who are always pushing us to do more than we are prepared to do at this stage in our lives ). I suspect that if we think we're busy now, it's going to be nothing compared to how busy we are once we DO retire! Right now we are trying to get prepared for a huge garden tour taking place next weekend, and then it's back to funding college educations for two kids and vet care for three special needs dogs!

    Have a great week. I keep coming back to this post to drool some more over these luscious roses! Damasks are hands down my favorites. ;) (Although my Zephirine Drouhins are also right near the top of the list!)

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  27. Beautiful roses. I would love to smell one. I'm thinking of adding some sprawling roses. I'll keep Autumn Damask in mind (I want repeat!).

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  28. Oszałamiająco piękne róże... jeśli by jeszcze poczuć zapach, było by cudownie... pozdrawiam...

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  29. Thank you for featuring these beauties, they are ageless!

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  30. Cathy, good luck with the garden tour! I hope it goes well and I am looking forward to pictures of it on your blog. I like ZD too for thornlessness and fragrance, but it does mildew here :). I am glad it does well for you.

    Holley, thank you, and good luck with Autumn Damask.

    Gabi and klaraau01, thank you, I am glad you liked them.

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  31. This year, for the FIRST TIME EVER we have mildew on one rose. I could scream.... it's a bud I've been nurturing for a flower show on Sunday! (We have the tour on Saturday and district wide rose show on Sunday). My husband asked if it was possible that it might be something other than mildew. I squirted that sucker with backing soda and water but I think it's going to be out of the running.

    We'll definitely post pix from the tour and the show! I'm thinking of that Autumn Damask as well LOL.

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  32. I am sorry about your ruined bud... Mildew is ubiquitous here, and my only consolation is that it doesn't actually kill a rose the way blackspot does. Good luck with the tour and show, and I hope you get Autumn Damask - there is nothing like the joy of getting a new rose!

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  33. Thanks for your empathy! They are having a rose sale and I need two more so I hope they have an Autumn Damask available. Otherwise, I'll be on a hunt to get it from one of the heirloom rose suppliers the ARS recommends!

    Have a great rest of your week!

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  34. Thank you, Cathy, same to you.

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  35. I think I almost catch a whiff of those wonderful roses. The photos really bring them to life; they could hardly be more real.
    Thank you for sharing them!
    Sandra

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  36. Thanks for another insightful post. The photos leap off the page. Wish I could smell the roses!

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  37. Thank you, Sandra, for the compliments. I appreciate them.

    GirlSprout, thank you. I am glad you enjoyed the pictures.

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  38. I love these roses! I think the big, sprawling rose bushes are far prettier than the stiff forms of many hybrids. If I had more sun, i would have lots of them in my garden, and Blush Damask would be #1.

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  39. I love the smell of roses,lovely pics!
    Have a nice evening,Monica

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  40. Thank you, Deb, you are right, they are very different, but they do need more room...

    Grazie, Monica. I am glad you liked them.

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I am so glad you have stopped by!