In June I got two antique China roses from Rose Petals Nursery, 'Old Blush' and 'Slater's Crimson China'. These two varieties are believed to have been the first cultivars of Rosa chinensis to reach the West from China sometime in the 18th century. They were a great novelty due to their ability to flower continuously as long as the weather permits and became important ancestors of all the modern classes of roses that possess the ability to bloom repeatedly or continuously, from the fantastic Bourbons to the hybrid teas, polyanthas, and floribundas which have unfortunately come to define for most people what a rose is and should be. 'Old Blush' has yet to bloom but 'Slater's Crimson China' has been flowering for a while now and has a delicate charm all its own, quite distinct from many of its descendants.
Rosa 'Slater's Crimson China'
The color of the flowers is difficult to capture adequately in pictures; newly opened flowers like the ones at the top of the picture have a pinkish sheen and are slightly lighter towards the center, while older flowers like the one at the bottom darken somewhat. Some flowers also have a bit of white striation on the smaller innermost petals. The blooms have a light fragrance, very much a typical rose scent but only perceptible at very close range.