Rose societies and rose breeders associations each have their own classification system, sometimes with a slightly differing rose terminology. What we present here are the rose types that are considered Old Garden Roses by the majority of the authors and experts.
Albas (White Roses)
The roses in this groups are similar to, though more refined than R. canina. They are very ancient roses, but their origin and parentage remains uncertain. For more information about Alba roses and some of the best alba roses, see Famous rose types.
Bourbon and Climbing Bourbon
Bourbon Roses emerged from the cohabitation of the old China rose 'Parson's Pink' with the Damask 'Quatre Saisons' on the Ile de Bourbon (now renamed Ile de la Réunion) in the southern Indian Ocean. They were given their name by the head gardener to the Duc d'Orléans, M. Jacques. For the best Bourbon roses, see: Famous rose types.
Roses of this group have long been considered to descend from a cross between R. pendulina and R. chinensis, but chromosome studies seem to prove that this assumption was wrong. Rose experts like Beales, now consider them a separate group.
Some of the best Boursaults:
'Mme de Sancy de Parabère' (1874), L'Héritierana (pre-1820), the original Boursault rose.
Centifolias (Provence Roses)
Over 200 varieties of Centifolias were introduced by the Dutch between 1580 and 1710. Roses in this group are prone to mildew.
Chinas and their Hybrids
Descended from the old Chinese garden varieties, the R. chinensis first emerged in Holland in 1781 and was named 'Parson's Pink China' (now known as: 'Old Blush). Modern rose varieties owe the remontancy factor (repeat blooming, free flowering) to this group.
One of the smallest groups of Old Roses. It is said to have been brought back from Persia by Robert de Brie, somewhere around 1260. There are two groups of Damasks: the Summer Damask, flowering once in summer, and the Autumn Damask, which has a second flowering in autumn.
The 'Autumn Damask', or 'Quatre Saison' as it was originally known in France) was the first rose in Europe to produce two crops of flowers every Summer. For the best Damask Roses, see Famous rose types.
Gallica Roses (French Roses)
A very old race of rose which some date form the mid-twelfth century. The original Gallica rose, 'Rosa Mundi', a striped rose R. Gallica versicolor , supposedly first appeared as a sporting of the R. Gallica Officinalis. Given its very ancient ancestry we can never be sure that the specimens we call Gallicas today are indeed of these very old species.
Qualitatively and quantitatively one of the best flowering old roses.
From the thousand varieties of Hybrid Perpetual raised in the latter part of the 1800's only a hundred survive today. Their ancestors were the Portland X China Hybrid (1816) crossed with both Hybrid Chinas (Gallica X China crosses) and Bourbons.
The first Moss rose apparently was the result of a sport from a Centifolia at the beginning of the 1700's.
This type of rose developped from a hybrid between R. moschata and 'Parson's Pink China made by Champneys in 1802 in South Carolina and named 'Champneys' Pink Cluster'.
Portland roses were named after Margaret Cavendish Bentinck, 2nd Duchess of Portland. They stem from a hybrid between an Autumn Damask and R. gallica 'Officinalis', known since 1792.
Tea and Climbing Tea
A group of roses that were extremely fashionably around the French and Italian Mediterranean coasts during the latter half the the 1800s. Many have now become extinct and those that have survived are best grown in warmer climates. Teas are fragant forms of the China roses, with small leaves and stems, originating from crosses between R. chinensis and R. gigantea. One of the ancestral tea roses was 'Safrano', which was could be found in Antibes and Bordighera.
Note that English Roses and Hybrid Musks show similarities in form with Old Garden Roses and are considered classics among the roses, reason why they are sometimes mentioned together with the Old Garden Roses.