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Class: Hybrid Perpetual

Centifolia Mosses
Damask Perpetual
Hybrid Perpetual
Old Hybrid Tea
Reine des Violets
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Photo © Barrie Collins (www.barriecollins.net)
used with permission

"As the breeding work continued in the late 1820's with the Hybrid Chinas, Hybrid Bourbons, and Hybrid Noisettes, they were crossed with the hardiest re-blooming roses they had on hand, the Damask Perpetuals. Thus was born the race of Hybrid Perpetuals, which soon grew to encompass as well any re-blooming progeny of the Hybrid Chinas, etc. A first, very obscure, reblooming hybrid, `Hybride Remontant a Bois Lisse', peeks at us from 1829, another eight or so show up over the next decade, and soon the floodgates opened, thousands being released over the next sixty years. They were crossed with each other and with the Bourbons and Damask Perpetuals until a nearly full range of color from blush white to deepest red and purple was obtained; only purest white and yellow eluded them for a time, spurring interesting experiments (as we shall see). Typically, a Hybrid Perpetual will have big, cabbagey blossoms at the top of a long, often arching cane. As HP's were developed simultaneously with the rise of rose shows and competition, the forms became increasingly refined over the years from the original muddled or quartered look (now back in fashion!) to a rather fulsome version of what we might expect in a rose of today. Many HP's show a tendency towards fungal diseases, requiring a careful program of spraying. The thrill of a garden full of big, fragrant HP's in full bloom is something not to be forgotten; many will think of this and be quick to forgive them their often miserly rebloom. They began to fade from the scene with the advent of the Hybrid Tea. `Baronne Prevost', `Victor Verdier', `Charles Lefebvre', `Jules Margottin', `American Beauty', `General Jacqueminot', `Frau Karl Druschki', `Georg Arends', `Mrs. John Laing', `Souvenir d'Alphonse Lavalle', `Reine des Violettes', `Tartarus'."
- Brent C. Dickerson odinthor@csulb.edu, author, "The Old Rose Advisor"

Hybrid Perpetual roses are especially interesting from a historical perspective since they provide a link between the past and present of rose breeding. During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, rose competitions were at their height. Breeders focused much of their attention on developing plants which would produce exhibition-quality buds. Developed from a Portland X China hybrid crossed with hybrid Chinas and Bourbons, Hybrid Perpetuals offer fragrant red, mauve, white and pink blooms. Bred on a commercial scale, other qualities were sacrificed for remontantancy and quality of flower. While retaining some qualities of the old roses, Hybrid Perpetual roses tend to be coarser with long shoots which respond well to pegging. As shrubs, many hybrid perpetuals are stiff and upright in habit, lacking much of the grace of their ancestors. Hybrid Perpetuals are remontant yet cannot compete with Hybrid Teas or Floribundas with regard to consistency or quality of bloom. However, for those interested in growing a rose that perhaps no one else in your community has, which is easy to grow once established, and produces wonderful flowers, there are still some beautiful Hybrid Perpetual Roses offered commercially.
(-Adapted in part from Barrie Collins, Timeless Roses. Used with permission. www.barriecollins.net)

(zone 5, some slightly hardier)



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