The Bourbon rose, is one of the old roses that was introduced before 1901. Here is a brief history of the Bourbon roses and how they came to be.Bourbons got their name, not from whiskey, but from the fact that the very first ones were discovered growing on an Island in the Indian Ocean, named Reunion.
However a new French owner of the island re-named it the Island de Bourbon.
Most likely the roses were the product of a chance crossing of "Autumn Damask" and "Old Blush".
Both of which were proven to be growing on the Island as hedges in the early years of the nineteenth century.
Seeds and plants were sent to France, where nurserymen quickly discovered their potential for hybridizing.
Below are some of the most popular bourbons and my own favorites as well.
I have inlcuded the American Rose Society (ARS) ratings. 10 being the absolute best rating.Louise Odier Rose
Madame Ernst Calvat Rose
A bourbon from 1888
ARS rating 8.1.
Madame Isaac Periere Rose
A bourbon from 1880
ARS rating 8.5.
Madame Pierre Oger Rose
A bourbon from 1878
ARS rating 8.1.
Reine Victoria Rose
A bourbon from 1872
ARS rating 8.3.
Souvenir De La Malmaison Rose
A bourbon from1843
ARS rating 8.7.
Zephirine Drouhin Rose
A bourbon from 1868
ARS rating 8.0.
For the most part bourbons are large, open-growing shrubs and climbers.
The long canes have fairly large, deep green leaves and thorns.
Flower colors range from white to deep pink, and the scent is usually a strong old rose perfume fragance.
The bourbons are quite winter hardy in most regions of the USA, and are strong repeat-bloomers.
There are only a few short-growing bourbons probably the product of back-crossing with China Roses which some label as bourbon/China roses.
The bourbons were the first repeat-flowering roses from Chinas.
This cross happened naturally on the Isle of Bourbon, so that's why they are called bourbons.