clicking on this icon will always return you to this page

What's new

English Roses
Hyb. Bracteatas
Hyb. Musks
Hyb. Perpetuals

Hybrid Teas
Modern Shrubs
Moss Roses

Site Index


R. damascena semperflorens. Ancient, Damask perpetual.

Rosa damascena semperflorensI have acquired this rose from Heirloom Old Garden Roses in St. Paul, Oregon, and there is some doubt as to its identity. There are two roses they sell under the name of R. damascena semperflorens, this being one, and the other is the traditionally accepted Four Seasons Damask, with pale pink, informal blooms on a tallish lanky plant. (R. damascena bifera) This rose, however, bears no resemblance to that. For a time, I wondered if this was actually 'Rose Du Roi', for it is very similar to that rose in appearance.

Its growth is every bit a Portland Damask, growing in much the same way as does 'Rose de Rescht', with the blooms placed immediately on top of the foliage, sometimes sunk down in. It reblooms quickly, branching from the first bud below the previous bloom. It appears to be quite disease resistant as well. The scent is a very pleasant rich, tangy, sweet Damask fragrance. So far the shrub has grown no taller than 2.5 feet, but I suspect it will easily reach 4 feet in height.

While its true identity is uncertain, I will think of it as some form of the Four Seasons Damask until I have reason to think otherwise. It seems that there were a great number of variations of the Quatre Saisons bred, mostly by J. P. Vibert of France. Could it not be that this is one of those roses, having lost its true identity? I have reason to doubt its relationship to R. damascena bifera in that it is so unlike bifera/Quatre Saisons in every aspect of its habit. This rose clearly exhibits the Portland style of growth. To see these two roses growing side by side, you too would have some doubt as to their relationship. I expect to post more pictures of detailed aspects of this rose in the near future, in the hopes that someone might recognize it and contact me! It is a perfecly beautiful shrub that is well behaved, reblooms regularly, appears disease free, and has a nice scent and rich colour. Whatever it's identity, this is a first class shrub!

ARS merit rating: 8.2 (uncertain whether this applies to semperflorens, bifera, or both!)
Personal merit rating: 8.5
Hardiness: USDA zones 5 to 9, possibly zone 4 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 3 to 4 feet tall, by 3 feet wide
Fragrance: 3.5 Moderate tangy Damask fragrance, a somewhat acrid scent present, but pleasant.

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.