Fossil records show the rose itself to be over 35 million years old, and roses have been cultivated and bred for at least the last 5,000 years starting in China, and Asia. The practice of cross-breeding came into vogue starting with the importing of cultivated roses to Europe from China at the beginning of the late eighteenth century, resulting in the thousands of colors and sizes of blooms seen today. The varieties dating from the eighteenth century tend to have much smaller, daintier blossoms than the modern hybrids and have always appealed to me. The extensive rose gardens at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, are always inspiring and offer a beautiful cross section of roses from antiquity through the present day.
Closeup photograph of a classic antique rose by Mark Barclay. Available as a wood print (shown here), canvas print, framed print, metal print, and greeting card. Click here for more!