Flora: seu, De Florum Cultura (1665) pp. 26-33
John Rea


The Rose-tree is of divers excellent kinds, not known to former Ages, wherewith our English Gardens are now graced, and here in this place to be handled, together with our old store, which for many respects are not to be neglected; and first we will begin with the red Rose of England, the most common and best known of all others, and in order proceed to the rest.

Rosa rubra Anglica

The English red Rose, wherewith all persons are so well acquainted, that it needeth no description; we have observed some variety therein, the flowers of some to be of a deeper Red than those of others, and others to be much doubler and thicker of leaves than the commonest kind, whereof I have one that is of a deep red colour, and as thick and double as any Rose whatsoever: and of late we have another of this kind, with striped flowers, thence called

Rosa mundi

The Rose of the world in all the parts differeth not from this ordinary red Rose, but onely in the colour of the flowers, which in this are for the most part of a pale blush colour, diversly spotted, marked and striped, throughout every leaf of the double flower, with the same red colour which is in the ordinary red Rose, so that it is the most beautiful to behold of all the striped or variegated Roses we yet have seen; the scent, as the form of the flowers, is like unto that of the common red Rose.

Rosa Hungaria

The Hungarian Rose, for the manner of growing, is like the common red Rose, onely the Shoots are green; the flowers differ in that they are of a paler red colour, with many faint spots spread over the leaves of the double flower, which in shape and scent is like unto the ordinary red Rose; this is of small beauty, and onely received by Florists for a variety.

Rosa Provincialis flore rubro

The red Province Rose hath branches and leaves much like unto those of the common red Rose, but bigger and greener; the flowers are large, thick and double, spreading very broad, and laid open, of a paler red colour and sweeter scent than the ordinary red Rose; of this kind I have one whose flowers are constantly spotted and marbled with deeper and paler red.

Rosa Belgica, sive vitrea, flore rubro

The red Belgick Rose is in branches and leaves very like unto the common red Rose, but much taller; the flowers are exceeding thick and double, full of small leaves in the middle, and bigger on the outsides of the flowers, which when it is full-blown will turn towards the stalk; the whole flower is of a fine deep red colour, and inferiour to no Rose of one colour whatsoever; the sent is like to that of the common red Rose: this by some is called the Duke of Rowans Rose, as growing plentifully in his Garden. By our unlearned Florists and Nurcery-men, the Vitriol Rose, the African Rose, the Marigold Rose, are all one thing.

Rosa rubra humilis

The dwarf red Rose, by some called the Gilliflower Rose, groweth low, never riseth so high as the ordinary red Rose, like unto it, but with fewer thorns: the flowers are but small, yet thick and double, which in the bud before they open stand round and eaven, as if they had been clipt off with a pair of Cisers, but when they are fully blown, are fine round double Roses, of a pleasant Carnation colour, and of the sent of the ordinary red Rose.

Rosa holoserica multiplex

The double Velvet Rose hath the young Shoots of a sad reddish green colour, with few or no thorns thereon; the leaves are like those of the common red Rose, but of somewhat a sadder green; the flowers contain two or three rows of leaves, which are of a dark red Velvet colour, with some marks of a lighter red in them, and many yellow threds in the middle: this seldem beareth any store of Roses, neither hath it any better sent than the ordinary red Rose.

Rosa marmorea

The marbled Rose in the manner of growing doth much resemble the Velvet Rose, the greatest difference is in the flowers, for those of this are larger, very double, and of a light red colour, marbled, veined, and marked with a deeper and lighter bluish gray-decline, very variably, some more than others, and some sadder and more inclining to purple, so that many times all these diversities on one bush are to be seen blown together; for it is a very plentiful bearer, and, besides the beauty of the Roses, the sent is very good, like, but better than that of the red Province Rose.

Rosa sine spinis

The Rose without thorns, or the Virgin Rose, is in shoots and leaves like unto the marbled Rose, but greener and smoother, without any thorns at all; the flowers are not so thick and double, spreading their leaves and standing forward from each other, of a pale red colour, with part of them on the faces of a pale blush, and the backsides of every leaf wholly of a whitish pale colour, so that the Roses when they come well (for sometimes they will seem as blasted) are fair and very sweet.

Rosa Francofurtensis

The Francford Rose hath strong reddish shoots full of thorns, with large thick whitish green leaves, the button under the Rose being bigger than that of any other; the flowers are thick and double, many times breaking in the bud, and seldom opening fair or spreading their leaves smooth, but curled and crumpled, of a bluish red colour and sweet sent, like (but stronger) to that of the red Rose.

Rosa Cinnamomia

The Cinnamon Rose, as every one knoweth, (it being as common as the first ordinary red Rose) riseth up with tall red shoots, bearing in May many small double Roses, of a pale red colour and faint sent, a little like unto that of Cinnamon, from whence it took the name.

These are all the kinds of red Roses that hitherto have come to our knowledge, and now we shall proceed to the varieties of Damask or paler-coloured Roses, proper to be handled in the next place.

Rosa Damascena vulgaris

The common Damask Rose, although it be not so ancient an inhabitant of England as the common red Rose, yet it is so well known, and all the parts thereof, so that it needeth no further description.

Rosa Damascena versicolor

The party-coloured Damask Rose, or (as it was commonly called) York and Lancaster, differeth onely from the ordinary Damask Rose, in that the flowers are parted and marked, with a pale blush almost white upon the Damask Rose colour, from which in no other thing it differeth.

Rosa Crystallina

The Crystall Rose is in all parts thereof like unto the last, the onely difference is in the marking of the flowers, which in this are much fairer and better than in those of the other, being usually striped, spotted, and marked with pale white upon the Damask Rose colour, throughout every leaf thereof, not differing in sent or other respects from the two former.

Rosa Damascena variegata elegantior

The elegant variegated Damask Rose is something like the last described, onely the shoots are shorter and redder, and the leaves smaller, the flowers something doubler, and often better marked than either of the former: this is by some called Mrs. Hearts Rose.

Rosa Damascena Provincialis

The Damask Province Rose hath longer shoots and leaves than any of the former, and of a reddish green colour; the Roses are somewhat of a deeper blush colour than those of the ordinary Damask, but three times as large, thick, and double, as all know that have any acquaintance with flowers, being now too common; but were it as scarce and hard to be obtained as some others are, it would be of as much esteem as any whatsoever, the Roses being very fair, and the sent good.

Rosa mensalis

The monethly Rose is in all the parts thereof very like unto the Damask Rose; it is said that in Italy it beareth seven moneths in the year, but I could never find or hear of any truth that it ever bore flowers in England above three, that was, in June, about the middle of August, and towards the end of September; the Roses are very like the Damask, but something more double, and not all things so sweet.

Rosa Belgica, sive vitrea, flore rubicante

The blush Belgick Rose hath bigger branches and fuller of thorns than any of the former, the green leaves thicker, stiffer, and of a whitish green colour, the flowers grow many together on the ends of the branches, which are about the bigness of the ordinary Damask Rose, but very thick and double, and of a fine pleasant pale blush colour and sweet sent: this is the greatest bearer of all the Roses, and the distilled water thereof is as good as that of the Damask: some call it the white Province Rose, and some the Batavick Rose.

And these are the diversities of the Damask or paler-coloured Roses; we shall now proceed unto the yellow Roses, and set down such diversities of them as are come to our knowledge.

Rosa lutea simplex

The single yellow Rose groweth as high as the Damask, the young shoots are full of small hairy prickles, and of a dark reddish colour; the leaves are small and the flowers single, containing but five leaves, of a pale yellow colour: it is but a wilde Rose, and onely entertained in Gardens for variety.

Rosa Austriaca flore phoenicio

The scarlet Rose of Austria is in all the parts thereof like unto the last described, the chiefest difference is in the colour of the flowers, which in this on the inside of the leaves is of a fine scarlet, and on the outside of a pale brimstone colour; and although this Rose be but single like the former, yet in respect of the colour so different from all other Roses, it is esteemed by all lovers of flowers.

Rosa lutea flore pleno

The double yellow Rose in the manner of growing doth something resemble the single kind; the shoots are small and not so red, the leaves are rather smaller, and of a pale yellowish green colour; the flowers, when they come fair, (as they seldom do) are very thick and double, containing a multitude of small pale yellow leaves, often with a great thrum in the moddle, but when it cometh well it hath no thrum at all, but the leaves are folded in the middle like unto those of the Damask Province Rose: the sent is not considerable, its glory consisting in the form and colour onely.

These are all the varieties of yellow Roses that as yet are come to our knowledge, and now in the next place we will take a view of the diversities of white Roses, beginning with the most common.

Rosa alba vulgaris

The common white Rose is so well known unto all persons, that it needeth no description; there are two sorts of ordinary white Roses, the one much doubler and fairer than the other, the best kind beareth fine double pure white Roses, and setteth off others very well, so that although it be common, yet we may afford room for one bush among the rest to increase the number of varieties.

Rosa incarnata

The blush Rose differeth in nothing from the ordinary white Rose, but onely in the colour of the flowers, for those of this are at the first opening of a fine pleasant blush colour, which after grow somewhat whiter, in all other respects agreeing with the former.

Rosa moschata flore pleno

The double Musk Rose riseth very high with many green branches, and dark green shining leaves, armed with great sharp thorns, the flowers come forth on long foot-stalks at the ends of the branches, many together in a tuft, most of them flowering together, being small whitish or Cream-coloured Roses, not very double, the first row of leaves being much bigger than the rest, which are small, and stand loosly, not forming so fair a double flower as the ordinary white Rose. There is another of this kind that beareth single Roses, of much lesser esteem than this; the flowers of both are chiefly valued for their scent, which is sweet like unto Musk, from whence they took the name: commonly they flower in August, after all others are past, but their usual time is in September.

Rosa Moschata alter

The other musk Rose of some called the Damask Musk Rose, and of others the white Cinnamon Rose, is in leaves and branches like the other, but groweth not so high, the leaves larger, and of a whiter green colour, the flowers bigger, whiter, and more double than of the former, but not altogether so sweet; this flowereth before the other in the end of other Roses, or presently after them.

Rosa Canina flore pleno

The double Dog Rose in leaves and branches is like the lesser white Rose, or wilde kind hereof; the flowers are double, for which it is esteemed, of a faint whitish blush colour, and weak.

Rosa semper virens

The ever-green Rose groweth like the wilde Eglentine, the leaves fall not away in Winter as those of other Roses, which property hath imposed the name, but stay on untill they are thrust off at the Spring by new; the flowers stand four of five together at the ends of branches, which are single, containing but five leaves, which are of a pure white colour, and something in scent resembling the Musk Rose.

Rosa Hispanica Moschata

The Spanish Musk Rose riseth as high as the last, with great green branches, and bigger green leaves; the flowers are single, containing five large white leaves, with an eye of blush in them, like in scent to the last described.

Rosa Pomifera major

The great Apple Rose hath a great stock and many reddish branches, with green sharp thorns; the leaves are like those of the common white Rose, the flowers small and single, standing on prickly buttons, bearded like other Roses, which after the flowers are fallen, grow great, red, and of the fashion of a Pear, which red berries or apples are the chiefest ornament of this kind.

Rosa Eglenteria flore duplici

The double Eglentine onely differeth from the common single wilde kind, in that the flowers of this are double, composed of two, and sometimes three rows of leaves, of a pretty reddish colour, the scent both of the green leaves and flowers is the same with the wilde kind.

All these several sorts of Roses do bring forth their fair, sweet, pleasant, and profitable flowers in June, and continue flowering all that moneth, and most part of July, except such onely whose time is expressed in their Descriptions.

The best and most esteemed are, first, of the red Roses that called Rose mundi, the Rose of the world; Vitriensis, the red Belgick Rose, the marbled Rose, the Rose without thorns, and the red Province Rose: of the Damask Roses, the crystal Rose, Mrs. Hearts Rose, the blush Belgick Rose, the monthly Rose, and the Damask Province Rose: of the yellow Roses, the scarlet Austrian Rose, and the double yellow Rose: of white Roses, the blush Rose, and the Damask Musk Rose. These are all excellent Roses, and none of them would be wanting in any good Florists Garden.

Roses are increased either by inoculating the buds of them in other stocks, or by laying down the branches in the earth: the best stocks to be inoculated upon are the Damask, the White, the Francford, and the wilde Eglentine; the best time about Midsomer, or as soon as good buds can be gotten.

All stocks of budded Roses must be carefully kept from Suckers, and if the Buds be placed near the ground, after one years growth the budded lance may be laid in the earth to root, whereby it will become a natural Tree, one of which is more worth than three that are budded, for that every Sucker that comes from them will be of the same kind, whereby they may be increased; but all Roses are not apt to yield Suckers, and therefore the speediest and most certain way is, to lay down the branches, putting some old well rotted Dung about the place where they are laid, which will make them root the sooner.

All Roses are hardy enough, and will endure the Frosts in Winter, and the better the soil is you set them in, the better they will thrive, and the fairer will be the flowers; they are usually disposed up and down the Garden in bushes, and under walls, and set in rows or hedges, supported and kept in on either side; the several coloured Roses intermixed and well placed, blowing together, will make a most gallant and glorious prospect. After they have done bearing, they must be cut with the Garden-shears something near, and toward the Spring each branch cut again with a knife close to a leaf-bud, and what is dead or superfluous taken away. Now there are some Roses that are not fit to be planted in a hedge; as the Musk Roses, which will not bear at all unless they grow to some high wall or house-side, where they may have liberty to grow to their full height, which will be commonly eight or nine foot high; also the double yellow, which is the most unapt of all the others to bear kindly and fair flowers, unless it be ordered and looked unto in an especial manner; for whereas all other Roses are best natural, this is best inoculated upon another stock; others thrive and bear best in the Sun, this in the shade; therefore the best way that I know to cause this Rose to bring forth fair and kindly flowers, is performed after this manner; First, in the stock of a Francford Rose near the ground put in a Bud of the single yellow Rose, which will quickly shoot to a good length, then halt a yard higher than the place where the same was budded, put into it a Bud of the double yellow Rose, which growing, the Suckers must be kept from the Root, and all the Buds rubbed off except those of the kind desired, which being grown big enough to bear, (which will be in two years) it must in Winter be pruned very near, cutting off all the small Shoots, and onely leaving the biggest, cutting off the tops of them also as far as they are small; then in the Spring, when the Buds for leaves come forth, rub off the smallest of them, leaving onely some few of the biggest, which by reason of the strength of the stock affording more nourishment than any other, and the agreeable nature of the single yellow Rose from whence it is immediately nourished, the Shoots will be stong and able to bear out the flowers, if they be not too many, which may be prevented by nipping off the smallest Buds for flowers, leaving onely such a number of the fairest as the Tree may be able to bring to perfection, which Tree would stand something shadowed, and not too much in the heat of the Sun, and in a standard by it self rather than under a wall. These Rules being observed, we may expect to enjoy the full delight of these beautiful Roses, as I my self have often done by my own practice in divers Trees so handled, which have yearly born store of fair flowers, when those that were natural, notwithstanding all the helps I could use, have not brought forth one that was kindly, but all of them either broken, or as it were blasted.

And now after this long walk it will be time to retire, where we may sit in some shady Bower, and behold the several flower-bearing and climbing woody Plants, wherewith the same is covered and adorned, which with others of like nature, but more rarity, shall be the subjects of our next discourse.