The China Rose
We sell a standard-sized deck of playing cards featuring the China Rose on the back of each card. Here is a link and a picture of that:
At the end of the eighteenth century, as China Roses were extensively brought to the West, there was a huge shift in the world of roses. The emergence of the China Roses impacted the rose world tremendously. There are numerous profound changes that happened with the introduction of the China Roses including:
A China gene is hypothesized to be responsible for repetition of bloom. Up to their debut, the only cultivated roses with any repeat bloom were the Autumn Damasks. The increased productivity of bloom was strongly sought in the gene pool.
The Chinas provided another depth to the color spectrum of roses. The Chinas have a unique quality of defying the color standards typical with roses before that time. They have the remarkable feature of darkening with age. Most of the roses up to that time withered with age. A China Rose may open yellow, then mix to red through gradations of orange and pink. This is the situation with 'Mutabilis'. The Chinas increased the color spectrum to include colors of yellow and a deep red that were not known to European garden roses before that time.
The China Roses extended the fragrances of roses. New mixes were visible as the Chinas mixed with other roses. Helen van Pelt Wilson and Léonie Bell write in A Fragrant Year that Chinas have a faint fragrance of their own. 'Old Blush' has a peach scent, according to the reviewers. They went on to claim that some of the progeny of 'Old Blush' had a peppery fragrance, while others had a fruity smell. They don't think "Parson's Pink" and "Slater's Crimson China" had much of a perfume to them. When the Bourbons were bred with European scents, they developed a fruity perfume that may be identified by notes of nectarine or raspberry.
The shape of the bloom was altered by the China Rose. The shape of the high-centered show rose may be traced back to China. These delicate buds, which unroll upon opening, were also introduced by the China Roses.
The origin of the China Roses is unknown. Despite the fact that no one knows how they came to be, they are the result of a long history of inventive individuals. They hadn't been depicted in art or mythology until the ninth century, and nothing is known about their past. We do know that roses have been grown in China for many generations, but the Chinese did not regard them as highly as they did the chrysanthemum, which has been shown in Chinese art for millennia.
Rosa chinensis var. spontanea, a wild rose variation, is characterized as large, spreading, and like a climbing rose, although our cultivated plants are often tiny ('Mutabilis' is an example). We produce plants that are loose, airy, twiggy, and sparse in appearance. There are scarlet new growths and pointy leaves. They normally don't have much of a scent to them. The stems are flimsy and the petals are loose, making them prone to nodding. They don't do well in cold climates. Slater's Crimson China' and "Cramoisi Supérieur" are two examples of vases that may be used to display tiny plants. A gorgeous and dramatic rose, called 'Archiduc Charles,' serves as a good example of a massed-border rose. The delicate characteristics of these plants may be overshadowed by other plants if placed in a row of three or more in the border.
China Rose's worth cannot be understated. It is Graham Thomas' belief that contemporary roses are based on the China Roses. In his work, Dr. Hurst identified the origin of our China rose varieties to four garden varieties: 'Slater's Crimson China,' 'Parsons' Pink China, 'Hume's Blush Tea-scented China, and Parks' Yellow Tea-scented China' (the dates indicate what is generally accepted as an official date of introduction to Europe) (1824) The China Rose may have been known in Italy prior to the reported introduction dates. In the words of Dr. Hurst: "The National Gallery in London has a picture by Florentine artist Angelo Bronzino, dating from around 1529, depicting Cupid throwing Pink China Roses over Folly, who is hugging Venus, as the earliest evidence of the arrival of the China Rose to Europe (Bronzino, No. 651). Due to the petite, rose-pink blooms with transparent petals, incurved stamens, and reflexed sepals, we may safely assume that the Pink China Rose originated in Italy around the early sixteenth century." Venus, Cupid, Time, and Folly (to view a Bronzino link here: Bronzino, No. 651) When Montaigne visited Ferrara, Italy, in November 1580, he noticed a particular rose. That rose may have been a China since it flowered all year round, according to what he was informed.
Rosacea chinensis was originally referred to by Gronovius as 'Chineeshe Eglantier Roosen', but was renamed by Jacquin in 1768. If you believe the name, you're wrong. This rose was a cultivar, not the natural species. According to Graham Thomas, our Four Stud Chinas may all be crossbreeds between the Tea rose, Rosa gigantea, and the Rosa chinensis species of the rose family. As far as he is concerned, he feels that the 'Old Blush' and 'Slater's Crimson China', which is also known as Rosa chinensis, are closely linked to the Tea Rose. It was revealed by Dr. Hurst that he was familiar with the Pink China and two variants of "Old Blush," according to him. In contrast, one kind was regarded as "common," while the other was highlighted for its larger petals, brighter color, and a pleasant aroma. 'Old Blush' may be blended with Tea Rose, according to Graham Thomas, although his pink variation may be practically unadulterated China. There are many variants on the 'Crimson China.' In the Gravereaux collection at La Roseraie de l'Ha, Dr. Hurst saw an elegant, short climber that he believed to be a direct offshoot of the wild 'Crimson China', with solitary cherry red blossoms. Rosa chinensis var. spontanea, the real species rose, has had a major effect on modern rose breeding. Augustine Henry discovered and gathered this rose in Central China in 1885, according to Hurst. In 1983, Japanese botanist Mikinori Ogisu discovered and photographed the rose in the Yangtse Kiang River's Ichang Gorge. Rich single pink blooms grow into deep red ramblers, and the rose is called as such. (The rose is depicted in Phillips and Rix's The Quest for the Rose and in The Graham Stuart Thomas Rose Book.) "The flowers were not only the deepest red, but all shades of pink and buff through to nearly pure white, the plants both climbing high into trees, and forming arching shrubs in the open," wrote Martin Rix of Mikinori's discovery in other parts of the same area (Sichuan) where the rose was first discovered. (from the Roses Anciennes in France newsletter, Autumn 1998)." The Chinas, according to Peter Beales, have chameleon tendencies. A single bloom, occasionally pink, has been observed on the semi-double "Slater's Crimson China" with two or three rows of petals. No matter how you slice it, the terms "Slater's Crimson" and "Old Blush" are intertwined.
Known as Rosa indica, it's a mind-boggling concoction. Rosa indica was found by Peter Osbeck, a student of the famed Swedish botanist Linnaeus, in 1750 when he was in Canton. Rosa indica 'Blush Tea China,' as stated in Linnaeus' handwriting, was his personal specimen plant. Redouté's depiction of Rosa indica as a solitary crimson China is not the blush-colored rose shown by Linnaeus. Lindley's Rosa indica is the same rose as Rosa chinensis. Graham Thomas and Dr. Hurst, however, do not cite Redouté's Rosa indica as a chinensis rose. Redouté's rose, according to Krussman, is Rosa chinensis sanguinea, or "Bengal Crimson." The origin of this rose remains a mystery to Graham Thomas. That it is either a sport or an old hybrid of Rosa chinensis, he speculates. An individual Chinese rose known as Rosa chinensis sanguinea, often known as 'Bengal Crimson,' has petals that range in hue from light to dark red. Rosa chinensis spontanea or 'Slater's Crimson' do not have the same color gradations as this variety. Rosa indica, La Bengale bichonne, was also painted by Redouté. 'Slater's Crimson China', also known as Rosa chinensis semperflorens and Le Rosier du Bengale, may be the source of this double rose, according to Graham Thomas. Old Blush' is usually accepted to be the name of Redouté's Rosa indica vulgaris, or Common China. In any case, owing of its route to Europe via Bengal, many Chinas were given the name "Bengal Roses." According to Roy Shepherd, Slater even sold his Crimson China under the brand name "Bengal Rose" when distributing it. We're still trying to figure out the connection between these Bengal or China roses and their ancestors. The arrival of these people may eclipse their roots, which have been kept secret or lost through the years.