Quiet Beauty: A Look at Endangered Roses

The obsession that keeps Harald Enders awake at night is this: What if there’s a rose lurking in your garden—or more likely, your grandmother’s garden—that is the last living example of a rare variety?

An example: A rose called ‘Bardou Job’ was found, after having been thought lost for decades, in the abandoned garden of the prison director on Alcatraz island. “I am still waiting for that to happen to me,” says Enders, a rosarian who has spent years trying to save old German roses from being forgotten. Of the 1,800 or so cultivars bred between the end of the 19th century and World War II, many are extinct. More than 300 survivors grow in Enders’ garden an hour’s drive from Hamburg. “I do not have a favorite—or perhaps, I have quite a few,” says Enders, author of Bourbon Roses (available, in German, from Amazon). At Gardenista, we see why it’s difficult to choose

Above: Blooming in Jestädt, Germany. Image by Travel Maria, via Flickr.

Above: The oldest known garden rose of German origin, ‘Perle von Weissenstein‘ dates to 1773. Inquire about availability at Vintage Gardens ($45 for a root). Image by Anne, via Flickr.

Above: The rambler Tausendschon, with blooms that range from bright pink to white. Bred by Hermann Kiese (1865-1923), a nurseryman in a little town called Vieselbach, it now is available seasonally, for $14.95 per plant, from Vintage Gardens. Image by Malcolm Manners, via Flickr.

Above: Rosel Dach, bred in 1906, has small, pink flowers and no fragrance; $45 for a custom root from Vintage Gardens. Image via Garten Pur.

Explore more flora on Gardenista by look at ways to add color to the winter garden.


Melanie Simon
Melanie Simon3 years ago

Rose stories always welcome :)

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W4 years ago

very beautiful, thank you

Sophienoemie Ranger

Merci mon Dieu pour les roses.

Hardik Shah
Hardik Shah5 years ago

thank you for sharing

Shanti S.
S S5 years ago

Thank you.

Hartson Doak
Hartson Doak5 years ago

This is the problem with monoculture thinking of agrabiz. When everyone had their back yard garden these plants like roses, potatoes, apples,etc, the list is every lengthy, had a chance to survive. We all can help. Start your own garden. Even if it is a small aquaponics system.

Tanya W.
Tanya W5 years ago

Best flowers int he world.

Bonnie M.
Bonnie M5 years ago

Thanks for sharing. Roses are beautiful.

Jennifer L.
Jennifer L5 years ago

I would never have guessed those are roses....

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener5 years ago

I'm not a rose person.