Rose Highlights of BBG - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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Rose Highlights of BBG

With more than 5,000 rosebushes of nearly 1,400 different species and varieties, the Cranford Rose Garden is home to one of largest and most diverse rose collections in the country.

Below are five not-to-be missed highlights to look for on your visit. Chosen for their scent, color, and style, these are some of the best roses at BBG.

Rosa ‘Harison's Yellow’

As spring approaches, this wild rose, often referred to as the Yellow Rose of Texas, fills the garden with splashes of semi-double butter yellow blooms with fern-like foliage providing a handsome foil. A wealthy New York lawyer on the lower west side of Manhattan bred it in 1824.

Rosa ‘Kazanlik’

The fragrance of many wild and old garden roses has often been a casualty of modern breeding programs. The damasks are the most fragrant of the old garden roses. 'Kazanlik' has extremely fragrant pink flowers that have long been used to make perfume.

Rosa ‘Basye’s Purple’

This hardy, disease resistant Hybrid Rugosa shrub rose was developed by Dr. Robert Basye in 1968 and encompasses beauty beyond its deep purple single flower. The canes of this freely suckering and shade-tolerant rose are a deep purple as well, providing an alluring structure for the brilliant orange-yellow leaves in autumn.

Rosa ‘Felicia’

The Hybrid Musks were developed in the early 1900’s by Rev. Joseph Hardwick Pemberton. These fragrant roses are highly disease resistant and somewhat shade-tolerant, making them garden worthy beyond the beauty of their petal alone. Felicia was introduced in 1928 and is applauded for her sweet citrus fragrance, free flowering habit, and need for little pruning beyond occasional thinning and trimming of winter die-back.

Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis'

China roses brought new colors to the rose world. Before they were introduced into Europe, roses were pinkish red, fading to mauve. Chinas are scarlet red, sometimes infused with yellows and apricots. This China rose starts out creamy white, and then goes through several color transformations before finally becoming vivid scarlet.

Rebecca Bullene is a former editor at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She is the proprietor of Greenery NYC, a creative floral and garden design company that specializes in botanical works of art including terrariums, urban oasis gardens, and whimsical floral arrangements.

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Image, top of page: Antonio M. Rosario