Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Understanding the kinds of roses we buy - a peek into the hush-hush

By simply taking time to understand the kinds of roses we have here in Malaysia, you will be able to choose the right roses for your garden, have higher chance for successful growing, and ultimately be able to better care for your roses.

The world’s classification of roses

You might’ve come across terms such as Hybrid Tea, Miniature, Old Garden Roses, Climbers, Ramblers, etc. These are old horticultural classifications of roses developed by the world’s rose societies not long ago but remain popularly used today.

Malaysians don't use these terms but class our roses in a whole lot different way. At least, this is what I am grown to believe these days. Our classes are silently used and understood only in the minds of small group of rose growers and lovers. Hence, you can never find these classes anywhere in any literature.

So with little knowledge I have with roses, I am prying into this little secret and will try to do justice in defining Malaysian rose classes the way I understand them. I hope by defining them, many will benefit from this and ultimately use it to better choose, grow and care for roses.

My indigenous classing and definitions

Instead of classing roses based on their growth habit and flower patterns, our roses are classified based on their accustomed nature and origin. This means, classification is by how the plants look and where they originally grown or cultivated.

To avoid confusion, I call these classifications as ‘categories’ instead of classes and there are 3 categories of roses altogether - low land roses, high land roses and old garden roses (OGRs) or better known locally as ros kampongs.

So here, I am sharing them with you.

Low land roses
·         You can buy these roses from any rose nursery or garden retailer in your neighborhood.
·         To recognize this type of roses, they are often sold in small black poly-bags, 6-inch white/black plastic pots or the 8 1/2 -inch terracotta pots.
·         You can also recognize them by the look of the plants. They have an average leaves size and matte medium green foliage.
·         You don’t have to worry about hardening these roses off as they are already accustomed to your local environment.
·         These roses have high survival chance when planted in your garden. Therefore are garden worthy for rose growing beginners.
·         What you buy is really what you get’. The flower quality doesn’t downgrade easily in your garden. You may notice slight differences after purchase but this usually depends largely on your gardening treatment.
·         Be careful when purchasing low land roses since most of them are cultivated under non-regulated nursery condition. Diseases and pests may be prevalent. Be sure to inspect the plants carefully before buying.
·         Most low land roses sold are hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas and shrubs. This means you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to varieties.

Low land roses are commonly sold in terracotta pots and white/black 8 1/2 inch wide plastic pot

A low land rose just purchased. Notice that it is grown in a black poly-bag and has this matte medium green foliage.

High land roses
·         You can buy these roses from any rose nursery or garden retailer but you can also find these roses in supermarkets, garden marts and grocery stores too.
·         To recognize this type of roses, most of them are sold in the brownish 5-inch plastic pots (marked “YG” or no mark at all).
·         You can also recognize these roses by the look of the plants. They have good healthy glossy dark green foliage. Since miniature roses are brought down hill before they bloom completely, you can see many unopened buds on miniatures. Meanwhile, for non-miniatures, they often carry huge blooms (more than 4 inch wide).
·         With hardening process, these roses can survive in your garden. Not a recommended choice for rose growing beginners.
·         Depending on types, flower quality of high land roses may reduce greatly when planted in your garden.  Others show negligible changes. If flower quality is your main concern, choosing the right high land roses can be a challenge.
·         Most of these roses are cultivated under good regulated greenhouse conditions so diseases and pests are less prevalent in these roses. However, that is not a merit to skip the inspecting routine altogether. Spider mites are a nuisance when it comes to high land roses.
·         Most highland roses sold are hybrid teas and miniatures. You’ll have limited choices when it comes to varieties. Good thing is the breeds tend to be quite recent.

One of the high land roses around. Foliage is healthy, visible as glossy dark green leaves with beautiful burgundy edges on younger tender leaves.

High land roses on display with gorgeous orchid plants adding colors to the background

Old Garden Rose / Ros Kampong
·         You can buy these roses from any rose nursery or garden retailer in your neighborhood.
·         They are usually sold in small black poly-bags, small black plastic pots or 7-inch terracotta pots.
·         There are 4 kinds of ros kampongs that I currently know of – deep pink ros kampong, light pink ros kampong, white ros kampong and wild ros kampong.
·         No hardening process is necessary as they are already accustomed to the environment.
·         They are known to be hardy and worthy of any garden due to their easy to maintain quality. They definitely are the roses for rose growing beginners.
·         What you buy is really what you get’. You will have no trouble when it comes to flower quality with these roses. You may notice slight differences in flower quality after purchase but this usually depends largely on your gardening treatment.
·         Be careful when buying ros kampongs since they are cultivated under non-regulated nursery condition. Diseases and pests may be prevalent. Be sure to inspect plants carefully before buying.
·         Although ros kampongs can be a favorite to anyone, there are only 4 kinds available. Not many nurseries carry them these days so you may have to do a bit of searching. If you are a rose collector or a kampong kindred, having the entire line of this heritage rose is definitely a must.

Deep pink, or many often call this as 'maroon' ros kampong

Light pink rose kampong

Light pink ros kampong peeping through the wired fence

Now that the categories are revealed, I hope you are a step closer in growing the roses of your dream; that is choosing roses that suit you and your garden, planting and caring for roses that ultimately not just survive in your garden but present you with the satisfaction of continuous blooms.

Walking along this shaded stretch on Sunday morning with my husband and be presented with rows of flowers and plants of various kinds and colors, like the ones from this little hut, always is to me a great pleasure.

Author and copyright of:
Rough -Rosa


SF said...

Hi Rough! Glad to see your new post again! Before this, I could only classify my rose plants into Cameron Highland Rose, Local Rose & Imported Rose. Now I have a more clearer idea on the different rose plants in Malaysia.

I had the light pink Kampong rose when I was trying out on rose plants at the beginning and it died. I didn't know it was Kampong rose until I read your post. Would you know where I can find this rose plant? By the way, may I know where is this nursery in your last photo?


AaronVFT said...

Thanks for the informative post. I love roses, especially highland ones.

ROUGH.ROSA said...

Hi SF! Thanks for stopping by. Good point you have there.

Most of the recent roses that we've seen these days claimed to have arrived from Indonesia and Thailand but some claimed to have came from UK and Australia. When I form the categories, I decided to ignore the origins but focus on the nature or behavior of these imported roses. By nature, each will exhibit either the habit of low land or high land roses. So, treatment and expectation should go accordingly. To my best knowledge, I don't know of any local rose hybridization, so all roses I suspected may have been imported at some point after all.

The only place I know that has pink ros kampong is here http://mygreenfinder.blogspot.com/2009/06/hew-pang-keong.html. (Thanks Stephanie!)

The nursery is at the famous nursery spot near the Pusat Kawalan Kusta Negara.

ROUGH.ROSA said...

Hi Aaron! Glad you like the post. Highlands are my favorite too!

James Missier said...

I really enjoyed your detailed information about roses. Often times I give up with roses as they sometimes don't survive the climate in my region.
Lack of sunlight and often get the virus on them as the leaves shrivel and gets retarded.

Regardless, I got 2 types of roses growing in my garden. Feeling hopeful and inspired after coming across your rose blog.

ROUGH.ROSA said...

Hi James,

I believe we often give up when things got tough especially when we don't find much help & support anywhere. I felt that countless times and still feeling so once in a while with roses. But the more friends I make thru this hobby makes it so worth while for me to continue the journey. I got to share my challenges, triumphs, and warn others bout my mistakes...

In short, you inspire me. Not the other way around. So thanks.

Yup, the shriveling is the main challenge as it deforms the flowers, and the thrips is the culprit. If the pesticides (organic or not) don't always do the trick, my mantra always is 'we are not to grow perfect roses...'. It always calm me down.. :)

James Missier said...

Thanks for dropping by in my blog and comments. I see that you checked on my roses (lol).

When you mentioned thrips - what do you mean?

I have been eyeing on all the rose plant around my neighbourhood and found that most of them are rose kampong.
How strange, all of the roses have similiar deformation on the buds and the flowers looks exploded before blooming.
I guess there is a lot of study required in these experiments. Good thing is that you are working on it. I'm pretty sure that its really heartwarming to note that there are good support among gardener's bloggers who share their experiences.