Old English Climbing Roses

Updated February 21, 2017

Many people believe that English roses, also sometimes called old English roses, are heirloom varieties from the Old World. However, these roses are actually relatively new. English roses are the descendants of hybrid perpetual, hybrid tea, tea, noisette and Portland damask roses. Bred by David Austin Roses to produce an old-fashioned look, these primarily shrub roses can also be trained to climb.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles

This English climbing rose has bright-crimson petals and a full, double flower. It's a short climber, reaching only about 7 feet high, but is hardy to cool climates and has a medium-strong old rose-type fragrance. The flowers are large, abundant and deeply cupped when they first open. In time, Tess of the d'Urbervilles roses flatten, the petals turning back, creating a less formal-looking flower.

Crown Princess Margareta

Crown Princess Margareta is a short-climbing variety that grows from 6 to 8 feet in height when properly supported. It produces large, double blooms with apricot-to-orange petals and is hardy in climates with cool winters. This rose has a strong, fruity smell and neatly formed flowers similar to those of tea roses. David Austin Roses recommends this variety for rose pillars, trellises, arches and wall plantings.

St. Swithun

This rose variety climbs a little higher than most English climbing roses, reaching about 8 feet in height. It produces flat, rosette-shaped flowers in soft pink, with a button-shaped eye in the centre. St. Swithun is a vigorous grower with plentiful grey-green leaves resisting most rose diseases. The flowers turn outward and have a strong myrrhlike scent. St. Swithun roses repeat readily, blooming regularly in the course of the season.

Gertrude Jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll is a hardy, short, climbing rose in bright pink. It produces a strong rose scent and repeat-blooms throughout the season. The flowers begin as small, scrolled buds, opening into large rosette-shaped flowers. The bush produces upright, vigorous growth, and can be used as a tall shrub or a climbing rose up to 6 feet.

Graham Thomas

This rose has received a number of awards, including the World Federation of Rose Societies' World Favorite Rose award. It climbs from 6 to 8 feet, producing a vigorous, hardy bush with large, bright-yellow, double flowers. Graham Thomas has a strong tea rose scent and does well grown against walls. It repeat flowers in several flushes in the course of the season.

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About the Author

G.D. Palmer is a freelance writer and illustrator living in Milwaukee, Wis. She has been producing print and Web content for various organizations since 1998 and has been freelancing full-time since 2007. Palmer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and studio art from Beloit College in Beloit, Wis.