Rose Varieties, Old & New

There are lots of Rose varieties from the past that we no longer produce. Why is this?

Many of the favourite roses of our parents and grandparents from the 1970s or earlier no longer feature in the Harkness Roses catalogue.

There are many reasons, but those were very different times. The major change made by our generation that differentiate us from previous generations is our ecological conservation.

In the past gardeners were happy to use powerful chemicals to keep plant diseases at bay, also there used to be significant air pollution containing Sulphur which helped to keep a healthy plant as it acted as an effective fungicide.

This means when we grow favourites from the past many of them don't perform very well using modern cultivation or gardening methods without copious doses of fungicide. In just the same way that a 2017 Ford is a better performer in every way that a 1970 Ford, including fuel efficiency. These days you would only buy the 1970s version Ford as a keen enthusiast or for your museum. Roses are the same, modern ones will nearly always perform better than their older cousins.

Our philosophy at Harkness Roses for many years has been to work with our environment, not to fight it or bombard it with needless chemicals. To this end globally we became one of the first Rose Breeders to stop the use of fungicides in our breeding work. All our trials of new roses since the 1994 season have been carried out without the use of any fungicides. This allows us to identify and progress with the rose varieties with greatest resistance and tolerance to disease attacks.

To get the best out of rose plants, good culture, food, water and top quality soil are all very helpful. Selecting the right varieties is important, and if you need help with this, please contact us.


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