Fragrant hybrid tea roses in the Centennial Garden

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What could be more disappointing than poking your nose down into a sumptuous rose, taking a deep sniff, and coming up empty? No fragrance!  – You might as well be growing dahlias (no offense to you dahlia growers).

When people learn that you have been growing roses for 30 years, as I have, they often comment: “…these modern roses are not as fragrant as the roses I remember when I was young”. Any honest Rosarian will have to admit that there is some truth to this statement. The Old Garden Roses, the ones your grandmother nurtured in her garden, possessed an overpowering fragrance. This fragrance to die for was part of their immense charm. In fact in olden times roses, and the valuable perfume they contained, were often important objects of commerce and even conflicts such as the “War of the Roses” in 15th century England.