The present Rose Garden was opened in October 1989 and now includes areas for species, old fashioned and modern roses.
The Rose Garden is divided into three main sections - Species roses, Old Garden roses and Modern roses. Peak flowering time is from November to late February.
This bed consists of rose species and their simple hybrids. They have simple flowers compared to modern cultivated varieties and put on a beautiful display of deeply coloured hips from March until May.
There are about 150 species in the genus Rosa, all originating in the northern hemisphere mainly from Asia, but also from Europe, North America, and the northwest Africa. These are 'as found in the wild' roses and in a sense are the parents of all the modern roses. Most species are not commonly grown as garden plants, and only a small number have been used in the breeding or selection of the many cultivated varieties available today.
Old Garden Roses
The Old Garden side of the Rose Garden is made up of roses that have been cultivated and bred for hundreds of years. These roses are in general robust, informal in their growth habit and commonly have heavily scented flowers.
You may notice less colour in this side of the rose garden in late summer. This is because some of the older rose cultivar groups were bred before the inclusion of the modern characteristic of romontancy, or repeat flowering.
Alba, Hybrid Gallica, Centifolia and Damask roses are the oldest rose groups and have been grown for medicinal and spiritual as well as ornamental reasons. Other Old Garden rose groups include Hybrid Perpetual, Portland, China, Tea, Moss, and Bourbon.
Although not technically Old Garden Roses, as they were bred after 1867, Noisette, Polyantha, Hybrid Musk, English and Modern Shrub roses are grown in this area as they are more affiliated with the Old Garden Roses than with other Modern Roses.
Since the introduction of the first Hybrid Tea Rose 'La France' in 1867, the Modern Roses have developed multiple rose groups. The Modern Rose section of the garden has Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, Miniature and Climbing roses. They provide beautiful colour through multiple repeat flowerings, with peak flowering from November to late February.
Roses for this collection have been selected for their ability to perform well in Dunedin with preference given to New Zealand-raised hybrids.
Significant plants in the Rose Garden
Rosa 'Easlea's Golden Rambler'
'Easlea's Golden Rambler' is a large flowered climber, and has one copious early flowering in December, making a spectacular golden archway over the southern entrance to the Rose Garden. It was introduced in the United Kingdom by Walter Easler and Sons in 1932.
'Compassion', a large flowered climber, makes a beautiful archway over the western entrance to the Rose Garden, with large peachy pink flowers against glossy dark green leathery foliage. It was introduced in the United Kingdom by Harkness in 1972.
'Robusta' is a repeat flowering shrub Hybrid rugosa. It is very vigorous with healthy dark foliage that comes alight with luminescent Christmas red single flowers. 'Robusta' was introduced in Germany by W. Kordes and Sons in 1979.