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Rose de Rescht. Exact origin unknown. Rediscovered in Persia in 1945.

Rose de Rescht

Rose de Rescht  is a wonderful Portland Damask rose that was rediscovered in Persia in 1945 by an English gardener by the name of Nancy Lindsay, who brought it back with her and introduced it into commerce. I have seen two other references to this rose that indicate that it existed in culture in both Persia and North America prior to Miss Lindsay's discovery of it. One account places it as having grown on a ranch in Idaho in 1922. It was not known by any name at that time, but years later it was identified as being the same as existing plants of Rose de Rescht.

The second account of this rose prior to Nancy Lindsay comes from one of the two volumes of Ellen Wilmott's work, The Genus Rosa published in 1912. On page 39 there is a brief mention of a rose that the Persians know as Gul e Reschti, or Rose de Rescht. Although the entry is erroneously placed in the section on R. moschata, it is almost certainly describing the rose we know as Rose de Rescht.

Apparently, the 1843 catalog of William Rivers of London, England describes a rose called "Bernard" or "Pompone Perpetual", which Leonie Bell* felt was describing our very same Rose de Rescht. Catalog descriptions of that era are notorious for their exaggerated and sometimes intentionally falsified descriptions, so that we can only speculate as to their meaning. If, however, there is any truth to this catalog entry, then we can place the introduction of this rose in the early 1840's under the name "Bernard", or "Pompone Perpetual". Historically, it would certainly fit as the Damask Perpetuals were being developed during this period. As I say, though, it is all just speculation, and one of the wonderful mysteries of the Old Garden Rose history.

Being of the Portland group, Rose de Rescht is capable of several flushes of repeat bloom throughout the season. It does not repeat constantly like a Hybrid Tea though, but repeats in distinct cycles. It blooms, pauses briefly, then makes a new burst of growth, and flowers again. It is actually a very nice habit. You have to wait a bit between cycles, and I find that it is just long enough to make me long to see another bloom.

In growth, this shrub is much like a Gallica in form, reaching a height of about 3.5 feet, always remaining a tidy, domed bush, well foliated and neat looking. It requires little pruning, except that apparently it performs best when old wood over 5 years old is periodically removed. It is quite disease resistant, and healthy. It does not tend to sucker like a Gallica though, which is best for most gardeners.

The bloom is not very large compared to some of the roses we know; about 2.5 to 3 inches across. It is a beautiful opening bud, that quickly grows to reflex into a pompon form. The scent is exceptional in quality; pure sweet Damask, but not always the strongest.( for me, anyway)

This is the rose that is often recommended to people who are contemplating buying their first Heritage Rose, as it is trouble free, well behaved, and very rewarding. Try it and you will not be disappointed!

* Leonie Bell, in the American Rose Annual, 1974, p.47  

ARS merit rating: 8.9
Personal merit rating: 9.0
Hardiness: USDA zones 5 to 8, possibly zone 4 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 3 to 5 feet tall X 3 feet wide

Fragrance: 4.0 Intense Damask fragrance.

Blanc de Vibert Marbrée seedling #5
Botzaris Marbrée X The Prince, 2002
Comte de Chambord Mme Hardy (Felicité Hardy)
Crested Damask Marie Louise
Hebe's Lip Portland from Glendora
Indigo R. damascena bifera (Autumn Damask)
Jacques Cartier R. damascena semperflorens
La Ville de Bruxelles Rose de Rescht
Marbrée Rose de Rescht X Tradescant
Marbrée seedling #1 Rose du Roi
Marbrée seedling #2 Stanwell Perpetual
Marbrée seedling #4

Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2006. All Rights Reserved.