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Selecting the first letter of the Topic in question will take
you directly to the appropriate section of the glossary below.


- A -


Here are some  abbreviations commonly used when discussing roses:

  • ARE - Antique Rose Emporium (mail-order nursery)
  • ARS - American Rose Society
  • DAs or ER - David Austin Roses or English Roses
  • FB or FL - Floribunda
  • HT - Hybrid Tea
  • J&P - Jackson and Perkins (mail-order nursery)
  • Min - Miniature
  • OGR - Old Garden Rose
  • RYT - Roses of Yesterday and Today (mail-order nursery)
Aphids: Aphids are tiny insects about a 1/16 to 1/8 inches long, usually light green, red or black. They come in the spring and damage tender new growth.

A hard spray of water from the hose will help remove aphid infestations. Aphids reproduce quickly and this may need to be repeated every couple days for a couple weeks.

Aphids have a mutually beneficial relationship with ants, so ants need to be controlled if aphids are to be controlled. Ladybugs are a natural predator of aphids and can be used to control aphids. If ladybugs are purchased, water the area well and release the ladybugs around sunset to discourage them from leaving.
Arching Shrub. A shrub in which the primary branches bend towards the ground. Roses with an arching habit are graceful, even in winter.

Armed. Bearing strong thorns.

Attar of roses. (also called Otto of roses, rose oil, or essence of rose) is made from the petals of roses, primarily Damasks and Gallicas. The term 'attar' is defined as a 'fragrant oil.' The attar of roses used in making certain perfumes is super concentrated. It takes two tons of rose petals to produce a pound of attar.


- B -

Balling. Blooms do not open fully, usually occurring in areas with cool, damp nights. Roses with many petals are more susceptible to balling, thus many old roses are liable to ball on occasion. If you live in an area where your roses ball more often that you would prefer, choose roses with fewer petals.

Bareroot. Roses sold in a dormant state, without soil around roots. This is the most common method of shipping roses, usually in fall, winter, and early spring.

Basal Cane. One of primary canes of a rose plant, originating from the base of the plant.

Bicolor. Rose bloom with two distinct colors.

 black roses: No true black roses exist. Some roses sold as black roses are actually dark red or maroon. The petals of many of these dark red roses tend to sunburn easily. To see that a rose is not truly black, hold it up next to a piece of black construction paper. To make a dark red rose appear blacker, put its stem in water that has black ink in it.

Below is an incomplete list of some roses that have been mentioned when black roses are discussed. Next to some of the roses a very subjective description of the color is given.

  • Black Jade: dark red miniature
  • Cardinal de Richelieu: dark purple Gallica
  • Chateau de Clos-Vougeot: HT, deep red blossoms, blackish highlights, poor growth
  • Francis Dubreuil: Tea rose
  • Guinee: very, very dark red
  • Ink Spots:
  • Mr. Lincoln: HT, dark red
  • Nuits de Young: purple Moss rose
  • Oklahoma: HT, deep crimson
  • Souvenir du Dr Jamain: Hybrid Perpetual, dark red/maroon
  • Sympathie: deep red climber
  • Taboo: Popular dark rose that has deep red flowers with darker edges. It reportedly has nearly black buds.
  • The Prince: English rose, very, very dark red/purple
  • Tuscany Superb: Gallica, deep maroon velvet

Blackspot. The bane of many a rose gardener, blackspot is a fungus that causes black spots about 1/16 to 1/2 inches in diameter to form on the leaves and sometimes stems. The infected leaves later turn yellow around the spots and eventually fall from the plant. In bad cases, blackspot can severely defoliate a rose bush. Blackspot thrives in warm, humid weather. Rather than constant spraying to control this plague, plant resistant plants and practice good husbandry (sun, water in the morning, burn diseased canes, periodic cleaning of shed leaves, and plant at proper spacing for good air circulation).

Here are some ways to combat blackspot. Most of these methods also apply to preventing and treating powdery mildew.

  1. Pick a variety of rose resistant to blackspot. For example, many Rugosas are quite resistant to blackspot.
  2. Use watering methods that don't get the leaves wet: drip watering, using a soaker hose, or just soaking the ground with a light stream from a garden hose. If overhead watering is used, do so in the morning so the leaves can dry off before evening.
  3. Remove ALL diseased leaves from the plant or ground immediately to prevent further spreading of the disease. Infected leaves never get better, they just spread the disease. Prune infected canes severely in late winter.
  4. Prune away crossing canes and open the center of the bush to allow sunlight and airflow to more of the plant.
  5. Blackspot is transmitted by water splash. Remove leaves close to the ground (the first 6-8 inches) which are more susceptible to getting water splashed on them. Mulch well to minimize water splashing onto leaves. If a plant had a lot of blackspot the previous year, remove the old mulch in early Spring, allow the area to dry and replace with clean new mulch.
  6. Keep the plant well watered. A weak or stressed plant is more susceptible to disease.

Preventative spray treatments for blackspot

  1. Chemical fungicides can be very effective in preventing blackspot and are usually applied every 7-14 days. It is most important to spray the undersides of the leaves. FOLLOW THE LABEL DIRECTIONS EXACTLY. Too much fungicide can cause leaf burn. It is best if rose plants are watered well before spraying. Spraying during very hot weather can damage leaves. Early morning and early evening are the best times to spray. Avoid spraying under windy conditions. READ THE PRODUCT LABEL carefully and wear proper equipment when spraying, such as eye, mouth and nose protection.
  2. Since a single fungicide may not completely wipe out all the fungi, using that fungicide over and over may actually cause fungus to build up a resistance to that fungicide. Alternating between two fungicides, such as Triforine (Funginex) and Daconil, is recommended to keep resistant fungi from building up. Fungicides generally can prevent blackspot, but do not cure an existing case of blackspot.
  3. Some gardeners wishing to avoid fungicide use have tried using baking soda to help prevent blackspot with mixed results. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoon baking soda and either 2 tablespoons horticultural oil or a few drops of Ivory liquid with 1 gallon of water. Mix as well as possible, and spray both sides of the leaves once a week. The Ivory liquid helps the baking soda stick to the leaves. Reapply after a rain. Baking soda changes the pH of the leaves, helping to prevent blackspot. Spraying with baking soda works for some gardeners, but others have found that baking soda is not effective enough in their climate.

Blind shoot. Stem which fails to produce a flower.

Blue rose. No true blue rose exists, but many lavender roses have been introduced. The reason that a, forgive the pun, 'true blue' rose may never be produced is that the blue pigment (delphinidin) is not present in roses.

blue roses: Though highly sought after, no blue roses exist yet. Some roses are advertised as blue, but they are actually lavender or something. Most lavender roses are difficult to grow and are quite susceptible to disease. Some of the bluer roses are Blue Girl, Blue Jay(HT), and Reine des Violettes(HP). A couple of true purple roses are Cardinal de Richelieu and Veilchenblau.

The genetics are just not there for producing a true blue color in roses. It will probably be necessary to use gene splicing to produce the first blue rose.

borers: Can enter the cane through the pruned tops. Prevented by sealing the canes with wax, white glue, or nail polish.

bud-pinching: When a Floribunda forms a bloom "spike" or "candelabra" - it is setting many little blooms on one stem. To prune Floribundas for quality of bloom, rather than the maximum number of blooms, pinch out the center, fat bud so the side buds have a better chance at developing at the same time. This encourages a big rounded mass of blossoms - a "spray." Floribundas like to do this so it is relatively easy to persuade them to flower in this manner. Once some of the blooms begin to fade, you can just cut out the few that are dying and let the spray continue to develop blooms. Once the entire spray is spent, or most of the individually blooms are finished, cut off the entire spray.

Buck, Dr. Griffith. Late professor at Iowa State University, Dr. Griffith Buck developed many beautiful and cold-hardy roses. Most of the Buck roses are hardy to Zone 5 (dieback hardy to Zone 4).

Budding. Method of propagating roses by grafting a leaf bud in to the neck of root stock.

Bud Union. The point where the grafted canes join the rootstock on budded (grafted) roses. Very easy to determine due to the swelled appearance of the union. Bud union is important for determining how deep to plant the rose (varies by region).


- C -

Callus. Scar which forms over a pruning scar.

Calyx. The green protective cover over the flower bud which opens into five sepals.

Cultivar. Short for "cultivated variety," the term refers to a variety which originated in cultivation rather than the wild.

cut roses: Cut flowers in early morning or after it rains, not when they are under water stress. Cut the stem about an inch longer than you need. After cutting, immediately place cut flower in warm water. If possible, with the stem under water, cut off the bottom inch or so of the stem at an angle. This keeps air from getting into the stem. Remove all foliage that remains under water and would just rot. Re-cut the stem underwater every day if possible. Some people add a small amount of bleach to the water to keep down fungus and bacteria. Sugar or soda can be used for food. Others use a commercial floral preservative.


- D -

David Austin Roses: see English Roses:

Deadheading. The practice of removing spent flowers. Deadheading is a good practice, since the plant will channel energy towards producing more flowers, rather than seeds.

deadheading: (see also hips) Deadheading is cutting off flowers as they wither or don't look as good. Old blooms left on the plant may have been pollinated and may begin to form seed pods (hips). The formation of hips requires a lot of energy from the plant and slows flower production. By preventing the formation of hips, deadheading encourages the rose bush to grow new flowers.

The choice of which spot to deadhead at is influenced by what shape you want the bush to take, and which direction you want a particular cane to grow. Usually, you will want to cut the stem at a 45-degree angle just above an outward-facing leaf. Make sure the high side of the cut is the side the leaf set is on.

To deadhead, remove the flower by making a diagonal cut just above the next 5 or 7-leaf branch down on the stem. The idea is to cut to a bud eye capable of producing a healthy cane. If this would cause too much of the cane to be removed, a 3-leaf branch can be chosen instead. The first year cut back to the first 3 or 5-leaf branch. In following years cut far enough down to get to a 5-leaf branch with a leaf bud that is facing outward. This will open up the plant.

Once blooming roses do not need to be deadheaded. They bloom once and then they are finished blooming for the year. However, once-blooming roses may be (in fact, should be) pruned after they are finished blooming. They should NOT be pruned in the fall or before they bloom because they bloom on the previous year's growth.

Stop deadheading as of September 1 in zones 4 and 5. It is a good practice to let the last roses on HT's produce hips because it makes them more frost hardy. It causes the plant to undergo chemical changes that slow down growth, inhibit blooming and generally prepare for dormancy by focusing its energy on 'hardening' the canes. The formation of hips tells the plant that it's "done its job" and can now rest from its labors.

Disbudding. Removing the side buds on a stem to send energy to the development of the flower growing at the tip of the stem. Primarily done in order to develop larger, high quality blooms used for exhibition purposes.

Double. Flower with twenty-four or more petals. (All roses have at least five petals). Some rose experts class roses with more than fifty petals as 'very double'.


- E -

Earthing. Piling dirt around the base of a plant to protect the bud union during periods of very cold weather.

English Roses: ( abbrev. ER, see also Modern Roses, Old Roses)

This new group of roses, often called David Austin Roses, was introduced in 1969 by David Austin of England. These roses are an attempt to combine the best traits of both Old Roses and Modern Roses. David Austin has attempted to produce roses with the classic flower forms and fragrance of the Old Roses on plants that repeat bloom like the Modern Roses. Some of the popular English Roses are Abraham Darby, Graham Thomas, Heritage, and Mary Rose.


- F -

fertilizer: Roses will perform much better if given adequate fertilizer. Use a well balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, N-P-K. The three numbers used to describe a fertilizer tell how much of the three major nutrients are in that fertilizer. The first number (N) is the Nitrogen content, the second (P) is Phosphorous, and the third (K) is Potassium. Nitrogen or Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium, (leaves, flowers, roots). Fertilize less during the first year while the plant is getting established.

When planting roses, it is recommended that you add long-term sources of Phosphorous and Potassium to the soil near the roots because these two elements move slowly through the soil. Bone meal and rock phosphate are good long-term sources of Phosphorous. Granite sand is a long-term source of Potassium.

Cottonseed meal (lowers soil pH.), alfalfa meal, and blood meal are organic sources of Nitrogen. Alfalfa meal also releases a growth stimulator as it decomposes. Many forms of inorganic Nitrogen leach quickly from the soil. Nitrogen also helps stimulate basal breaks.

Some rose growers fertilize with Epsom salts. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, a source of Magnesium. Being a sulfate, it will lower soil pH. Although the need to use of Epsom salts is frequently debated, Magnesium (along with Nitrogen) is supposed to stimulate basal breaks. Many gardeners use 1/4 cup of Epsom salts per plant in the Spring and/or Fall. Some use as little as 1 tablespoon per plant, others up to 1/2 cup.

Seaweed is a good organic source of trace elements.

Flore Pleno. Double Flower.

Floribundas: (abbrev. FB or FL) Floribundas were created about 1909 by crossing the Polyanthas with Hybrid Teas. They produce flowers in clusters, not singly like the Hybrid Teas. Floribundas are usually shorter plants than Hybrid Teas and tend to produce more flowers and smaller flowers than Hybrid Teas on shorter stems. Although Hybrid Teas provide excellent cut flowers, Floribundas are well suited as good landscape plants providing lots of color. Many Floribundas are not very fragrant. 

bud-pinching Floribundas: When a Floribunda forms a bloom "spike" or "candelabra" - it is setting many little blooms on one stem. To prune Floribundas for quality of bloom, rather than the maximum number of blooms, pinch out the center, fat bud so the side buds have a better chance at developing at the same time. This encourages a big rounded mass of blossoms - a "spray." Floribundas like to do this so it is relatively easy to persuade them to flower in this manner. Once some of the blooms begin to fade, you can just cut out the few that are dying and let the spray continue to develop blooms. Once the entire spray is spent, or most of the individually blooms are finished, cut off the entire spray.

Floriferous. Free-flowering.

Fossil Roses. Fossilized roses estimated to be at 7 to 25 million years old have been discovered in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Fragrance. Fragrance is one of the traits which roses are bred for and is determined by the chemicals present in the plant, concentrated in the petals, and how these chemicals interact with each other and the atmosphere. Oils, resins, alcohol's, fatty acids, and phenols all contribute to the character of the scent. While there are generally held theories about which roses are fragrant, there are fragrant roses of every form and color, so the best practice is to smell for oneself (or read about roses which are fragrant).

fragrance: Fragrance contributes much to the enjoyment of roses. It is also one of the most subjective of topics when discussing roses. Fragrance or perceived fragrance depends upon many factors: variety of rose, time of day, weather, growing conditions, the person smelling the rose, living flower vs. cut flower, etc. Each person's sense of smell is different. A rose that is very fragrant to someone, may be not at all fragrant to someone else. Roses are most fragrant around mid-morning on a warm day with no wind and moderate or high humidity. Their can dozens of components in the fragrance of a rose, but rose scents are usually categorized with such descriptions as "spicey", "tea", "old rose", or "fruity".

Here is a list of some very fragrant roses as recommended by posts to the newsgroup rec.gardens.roses.

  • HT: Double Delight (mentioned most often), spicey, red-white bicolor
  • HT: Fragrant Cloud, reddish-orange
  • HT: Mr. Lincoln, dark red
  • HT: Crimson Glory, red
  • HT: Chrysler Imperial, red
  • HT: Papa Meilland, dark red
  • HT: Perfume Delight, pink
  • HT: Secret
  • ER: Gertrude Jekyll, pink
  • ER: Othello, dark red
  • Alba: Felicite Parmentier, once-blooming
  • Damask: Mme. Hardy, white, once-blooming
  • Tea: Sombreuil, cream-white
  • Bourbon: Souvenir de la Malmasion
  • HP: Souvenir du Dr Jamain

Many of the David Austin roses are fragrant. So are many of the Old Roses, such as the Damasks.

fungus: Blackspot, powdery mildew and rust are the three most common fungus problems that roses have. See blackspot for some ways of preventing and treating fungus problems. Planting disease-resistant roses in a sunny location with good air circulation will help prevent fungi.


- G -

Grades. Bareroot roses are graded #1, #1 1/2, and #2 according to the number and size of canes on a bush. #1 is the highest grade. Standards are set by the American Association of Nurserymen.

Genus. Sub-class of plants which have common characteristics. The genus name for roses is 'Rosa.'


- H -

Heeling In. Temporary planting of roses when conditions (temperature/soil condition/no time to plant!) prevent permanent planting.

High-centered. Having the center petals the longest. Attribute associated with the classic ideal of Hybrid Tea form.

Hip. Seed pods of a rose; considered a desirable feature for providing interest after bloom. The finest hips are set from 'Old Roses' (roses originated before the Modern Era which began with the introduction of Hybrid Teas).

hips: (see also deadheading: )

These are the rose seed pods that form after a flower's petals fall if the bloom was pollinated. Hips are the fruit produced by rose plants. Apple trees are members of the rosacae family and the apple is a hip. Some varieties such as R.rugosa produce large hips that turn brilliant colors in the fall.

Allowing the hips to develop will cause a rose to slow down or stop producing flowers. It also helps induce dormancy, helping prepare the rose plant for winter in colder climates. In contrast, deadheading will keep the plant from producing hips and encourage it to produce more flowers.

Hybrid. Bred from two parents. Most roses are indeed hybrid roses, whether Bourbon or Floribunda or Hybrid Tea. Hybrids, while not always bred by humans (hybrids can result from natural cross-pollination in the wild), are selected for characteristics such as flower form, disease resistance, fragrance, and repeat flowering (remontance).

Hybrid Teas: (abbrev. HT)

Hybrid Teas are easily the most popular class of roses today. Hybrid Teas as a group have large flowers with a high-pointed bud. They are excellent repeat bloomers, often blooming almost continually. They bloom one flower per stem on long sturdy stems making them excellent for cutting. Hybrid Teas come in a large variety of colors. Hybrid Teas are upright shrubs.

The rose "La France", bred in 1867, is classified as the first Hybrid Tea rose.


- I -



- J -

Japanese Beetles: A shiny copper green beetle that can eat entire flowers as well as foliage. Can be controlled by milky spore.


- K -

Knees. Terms used to describe the bare underside of many roses, usually later in the season and almost always unflattering. Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras are especially prone to bare knees; planting perennials or annuals which grow 12-18 inches in front of the roses is an effective way to cover bare knees.


- L -

Lateral cane. Secondary branches originating from the basal cane. Shrubs with strong lateral cane growth tend to be bushy, whereas shrubs that do not create many lateral canes tend to have an arching form.

leaf cutters:

Leaf cutter bees cut semi-circle shaped holes in the leaves of roses. They pose no real threat to rose health, but they drive exhibitors crazy.


- M -

La Malmaison. The gardens (and home) of Empress Josephine (wife of Napoleon I) and in it's heyday the home of over 250 species of roses. Although the gardens are in ruins today, La Malmaison re-introduced the rose as an ornamental plant. Empress Josephine may be considered the first true rosarian.

Meilland. Well-known French family of breeders. Their most famous introduction was the legendary Hybrid Tea "Peace".

Mildew. See Powdery Mildew.

miniature roses: Miniature roses grow to only about 6"-18". The plants, leaves are all miniatures of the larger roses. Miniature roses tend to be quite hardy and can be grown in containers.

mites: Spider mites are a tiny arachnid that appear like dust under the leaves. They occur during hot, dry weather. They can be controlled by spraying the plant every 7-10 days with water to destroy the webs and knock the mites off the leaves. Be sure to thoroughly cover the underside of the lower leaves. They can also be controlled with the miticides Avid or Kelthane.

Modern Roses: Refers to roses introduced since 1867 when the first Hybrid Tea was created. Usually refers to Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, or Grandiflora roses.

Morden Research Station. Home of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Branch, a pioneer in breeding cold-hardy roses. Most famous introductions are the Explorer and Parkland series.

mosaic virus: see virus

mulch: Roses benefit from a 2-3 inch deep organic mulch such as pine bark, pine needles, leaf mulch, etc. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the stem of the plant.

Benefits of proper mulching:

  1. Reduced watering requirements and less water stress due to
    • milder soil temperatures and
    • reduced evaporation.
  2. Less disease from water splashing on the lower leaves of plant.
  3. Fewer weeds because the mulch blocks some of the sunlight to weed seedlings.
  4. Better soil as the mulch breaks down and adds organic matter to the top layer of soil.
  5. Good soil structure because mulch will help stop soil compaction.

Myrrh. Aromatic gum resin derived from several trees and shrubs of the genus Commiphora of India, Arabia, and eastern Africa. Used in incense and perfume.


- N -



- O -

Old Roses: ( abbrev. OR, OGR, see also English Roses: , Modern Roses: )

Sometimes called Old Roses, Old-fashioned Roses or Antique Roses, these are the varieties of roses that existed before 1867 when the first Hybrid Tea was introduced. Some of the classes of Old Roses are the Albas, Bourbons, Boursaults, Centifolias, Chinas, Damasks, Gallicas, Hybrid Perpetuals, Mosses, Noisettes, Portlands, and Tea roses. Some of the Ramblers and Rugosas are considered Old Roses.

As a group, Old Roses tend to be once blooming, though some are repeat bloomers. They tend to be more disease-resistant and require less maintenance than the Hybrid Teas which accounts for some of their popularity. There are exceptions to this, especially the China and Tea roses. The China and Tea roses are tender and disease prone, but are very important because they provide the repeat blooming genes to many classes of roses (notably Hybrid Teas). This FAQ contains a document with more information about Old Roses.

once blooming: (see also repeat blooming: )

Roses that bloom once a year, usually in the spring. Since, they bloom only once a year, when they do bloom they usually put on an excellent show. They flower on old wood, so most pruning is done just after they have finished blooming, not in the winter.

Organic Fertilizer. Fertilizer made from natural substances rather than chemicals. Examples of organic materials include compost (excellent!), alfalfa, blood meal, fish emulsion, manure, bone meal, and kelp.

own-root roses: An own-root rose is a plant whose rootstock (the roots) is the same variety as the top of the plant.

Grafted roses, commonly referred to as budded plants, are plants where the desired rose is grafted or budded onto a rootstock of a different type. The point where the desired variety and the rootstock meet is called the bud union.

Own-root roses are usually recommended for those in very cold climates. This is because an own-root rose that dies back to the ground during the winter can grow back the next year from the roots. If a grafted rose dies back to the ground, what will come up next Spring is the rootstock variety, usually an undesirable variety of rose.

Even if a rose doesn't die back to the ground. Sometimes a shoot will emerge from the rootstock. If the rose is grafted, this shoot is called a sucker, and will be the same variety of the rootstock, not the desired plant. When this happens with own-root roses, the shoot will be of the desired variety.

New canes can emerge each year from the bud union of grafted roses. After many years, the bud union of grafted roses can become large and knobby and eventually run out of places for new canes to emerge from. This is not a problem for own-root roses, since they lack the knobby bud union of grafted roses. Therefore, grafted roses may not last as long as own-root roses.

Most roses are sold as grafted plants, since it is more economical than selling own-root plants. A common rootstock is "Dr. Huey", used by J&P and Roses of Yesterday and Today and other nurseries in the western US. It does well in alkaline soils. "Dr. Huey" has a dark red bloom about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. R. multiflora is commonly is in the eastern US. It prefers acid soil. Wayside uses "Manetti" rootstock.

There has recently been some discussion about R. fortuniana rootstock. It is primarily used in Florida where its root knot nematode resistance is important. Its fine, spreading root network is good for sandy soils. It is not considered to be freeze hardy, so it is only recommended for mild climates.

Don't confuse own-root roses with bare-root roses, the terms refer to different things. Roses are usually sold either bare-root (no soil around the roots) or potted in containers. Bare-root roses can be either own-root or grafted. Bare-root roses tend to be less expensive than potted roses. Since they are lighter (no soil) than potted roses, most mail-order roses are bare-root.


- P -

patented roses: A rose variety may be patented just like any other plant. A patent grants to the holder exclusive rights to distribute and propagate that variety of rose. Of course the patent holder can license others to distribute and propagate that rose. A patent lasts for 17 years, so most older roses aren't currently under patent. After the patent has expired, anyone can distribute and propagate that particular variety.

Some nurseries divide their roses into patented roses and non-patented roses, with the patented roses costing more. This is because they may freely propagate the non-patented varieties, but their is usually a fee for propagating patented varieties.

It is illegal to asexually reproduce a patented plant, even for personal use. It is, however, legal to use a patented rose in hybridizing.

Peace: Peace is the most popular rose in the world. It is a Hybrid Tea that was smuggled out of France just before the Nazi occupation and introduced just after the end of the World War II. It produces large blooms of yellow blending to pink on the edges. It is not very fragrant.

Pemberton, Joseph. Before David Austin, there was the Reverend Joseph Pemberton, one of the most famous rose hybridizers of the 20th century. Pemberton developed the Hybrid Musk class of roses, which are characterized by graceful arching form, clusters of delicately colored flowers, and some shade tolerance.

Pegging. Securing of long flexible canes (usually with old rose varieties) to the ground. The benefit is that canes with flowers will grow from the laterally growing pegged canes.

Pillar Rose. Indicates a form, not a class of roses. Roses grown as pillars have flexible canes of five to twelve feet which may be trained around an upright support (it does not have to be an actual pillar). Roses suitable for use as pillars are moderate in growth so that they will not overwhelm their support.

Pistil. Female organ of a flower. The pistil includes the stigma, style, and ovary.

Powdery Mildew. A fungus disease, powdery mildew strikes under cool, humid conditions. Leaves will become covered with a whitish residue and may be curled and distorted. Powdery Mildew is not normally a serious affliction in that plants do not normally succumb to the disease. However, it is certainly unattractive. To prevent, water in the morning so that leaves dry during the day (also a good preventative for blackspot).

planting:  Bare-root: Roses that are shipped in their dormant state with no foliage. Bare-root roses are planted during Winter or very-early Spring.

Container grown: Nurseries will often take bare-root roses from the rose growers and place them in containers. Container grown roses can be planted any time of the year although it is better to plant when temperatures are moderate, usually Spring or Fall.

powdery mildew: This fungus forms a powdery white or grayish coating on the upper surface of young leaves and sometimes on the buds. Infected leaves crumple and become distorted.

Unlike blackspot, wet conditions actually inhibit the development of powdery mildew. It can not reproduce in water. It thrives during high humidity but forms on dry leaves. Warm dry days, cool dry nights are ideal for powdery mildew.

One of the best ways to avoid powdery mildew is to keep things as airy as possible. Roses planted too close to a wall may not get enough airflow. Prune away crossing canes and open the center of the bush to allow sunlight and airflow.

Also, spraying the foliage with a mixture of 1 T. baking soda per 1 gallon of water can be effective.

See blackspot for other treatments of powdery mildew.


- Q -

Quartered. A flower in which the center petals are folded into four quarters.


- R -

Recessive gene. Genes are either dominant or recessive. A dominant gene's characteristics will predominate when paired with a recessive gene. For a recessive gene to show, it must be paired with another recessive gene. For example, in humans, blue eyes are recessive and brown eyes are dominant; thus, a person who has blue eyes must have received the recessive blue eye gene from each parent. Of interest perhaps, two blue-eyed parents can have only a blue eyed child; two brown- eyed parents can have either a blue or brown-eyed child.

Reverse. Underside of the petal.

Redouté, Pierre Joseph. Court appointed painter to Marie Antoinette and Empress Josephine, Redouté's credo was, "one does best what one loves most, however humble the pursuit." He is best remembered for his paintings of plants, especially roses and lilies. His paintings from Empress Josephine's garden at La Malmaison provide modern gardeners with an invaluable visual documentary of the roses grown two hundred years ago.

Remontant. Flowering more than once in a season. Species roses tend to bloom once a season. Roses which are remontant may bloom continuously or in regular waves (for example, floribundas or hybrid teas or some older classes), whereas others may have a two waves, one in spring and one in fall.

Rootstock. Host plant to which selected rose varieties are grafted. Most commercial growers propagate new plants by grafting cuttings to a rootstock. The advantage of rootstock is that many roses, especially modern cultivars, have weak root systems. The primary rootstocks used are Rosa multiflora, 'Dr. Huey,' with 'Fortuniana' recommended for very warm climates. The issue of whether 'own root' roses or grafted roses are better is one of the enduring debates of rosarians, and each technique has its advantages. Cold hardiness is the primary benefit of 'own root' roses, while grafted roses are often attributed with greater vigor.

Rugose. Leaf veins which are deeply etched into the leaf. Rugosa roses are so-named for this specific characteristic.

Rustling, a.k.a. rose rustling. The practice of searching for Old Roses in the hopes of taking cuttings (or if the bush is in imminent danger, rescuing the entire plant). Favorite haunts of rose rustlers include abandoned properties, cemeteries, and roadsides. Always ask permission before taking cuttings.


- S -

Scion. The leaf stock or shoot which is grafted to rootstock.

Semi-double. A rose with 12 to 24 petals.

Single. A rose with 5 to 12 petals.

Species Rose. Roses which are self-fertile, and if self-pollinated will come true. Another term used is 'wild'; species roses are those which have evolved naturally to adapt to their native habitat.

Sport. Genetic mutation in a plant. Sports in roses are not unusual, and many new introduced varieties are sports as opposed to hybrids. Sports may be evidenced in different flower colors, flower form, and growth habit. For example, Souvenir St. Anne's is a semi-double sport of Souvenir Malmaison, and Climbing Souvenir Malmaison is a sport of this relatively small Bourbon.

Stamen. Male organ of flower. Pollen comes from the anther.

Substance. The amount of moisture in the rose's petals. While it is difficult to ascertain how much moisture is in a particular rose's petals by touch, thickness and firmness are keys to determining substance. A rose with substance will last well after being cut, thus, it is important that exhibition roses (or roses you would like the family to enjoy in the house) have good substance.

Sucker. Stem or shoot growing from the rootstock instead of the grafted variety. Suckers should be cut off at their base.


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- This glossary is a joint effort between Morrison Gardens and Timeless Roses.


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