Rose Cuttings – July, 2012

‘Chrysler Imperial.’ Photo courtesy of the Antique Rose Emporium.

Scent-sational Roses

“The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose.” A fitting quote for those who share their roses with those they love. But, what about fragrance? Unfortunately, many of our modern roses have no fragrance. What a tragedy to receive a beautiful rose and find it without a fragrance; you might as well be viewing a picture of a rose in a book, as there is little difference between the real thing and the picture. Fragrance of a rose elevates it from its visual beauty to that of an emotional one. Fragrance often evokes memories of the past and thus ties an emotional element to the past. Gardens full of fragrance can either stir up memories or create new ones.

At a recent display of roses noted for their fragrance, I was bewildered by the infinite nuances evident in each rose’s fragrance. Tables were organized with roses imparting similar “notes” of these fragrances: citrus, fruit, musk and spicy. On each of these tables were dozens of examples, each with this common thread, but all distinctively different from each other in other values. ‘Chrysler Imperial’ had a definite citrus fragrant note (lemon); in others were detected notes of parsley and linseed oil that no other rose shared. ‘Archduke Charles’ smelled like banana pudding, and the ‘Green Rose’ smelled like cracked pepper. No one rose smells exactly like another, which makes the rose infinitely more compelling.

So remember, when giving a rose, to select for fragrance as well as beauty, because as Robert Lewis Stevenson said, “It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.”

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit his company’s Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit

Posted by Mike Shoup
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