June 20, 2011

Sir Joseph Banks & Victorian Roses

Written by Rosa Morgan

As a naturalist, botanist, and prime developer of London's Kew Gardens, and the man who brought eucalyptus, acacia, and mimosa to the Western world, I feel eminently qualified to speak on the subject of roses. I've selected a few, which were bred in the Victorian times, and are currently termed "antique roses." These are carefree specimens, not needing tiresome pruning, nor noxious spraying. They are a delight that everyone should have in their gardens.

"Lady Banks"
Named after my darling wife, Dorthea. The Guinness Book of World Records lists a specimen growing in Tombstone, Arizona,
covering 8,000 sq. ft., as being the largest rose in the world.

"Archduke Charles"
sweet smelling, repeat bloomer; its petals change from pink to crimson. Named after Archduke Charles of Austria, military strategist and hero of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars.

"Souvenir de la Malmaison"

Chateau Malmaison was the home of Josephine, Empress of France and wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. It is here, she grew over 250 varieties of roses.

"Mrs. B.R. Cant"

Benjamin Revett Cant came from a long line of nurserymen; his grandfather starting a nursery in 1766. Benjamin was the king of exhibition roses in England, and named this fragrant cabbage rose after his wife, Elizabeth, who was 24 years his junior and gave him seven children.

I encourage you to plant one of these beauties in your own garden. It will surely delight all your senses.

But he that dares not grasp the thorn, should never crave the rose.
-Anne Bronte

Dear Gentle Reader, Please leave a comment on what your favorite rose is.


  1. My favorite rose has to be "Lady Banks". With a face like that one has to admire the ability to put on a happy face. As to the flower, I'm not quite sure.