Riverbanks’ Old Rose Garden incorporates old roses with the perennials, annuals, vines and shrubs that complement them. Old roses have special ties to South Carolina’s culture. One class of “old” roses, the Noisettes, was the first class of roses bred, evaluated and introduced to the world by the United States. All of the work took place in this state, so their point of origin is considered South Carolina.
Antique roses are noteworthy not only for their ties to the state’s history, but also because of their ease of maintenance and lush, fragrant blooms throughout the summer. Old roses are disease- and pest-resistant and require very little care. As a conservation-oriented organization, this is extremely important to Riverbanks, and as a result, we never spray our roses with fungicides or other chemicals. The Old Rose Garden features a comprehensive collection of Noisettes - one of the largest public collections in the world. Two other classes of “old” roses—Chinas and teas—are also featured in this garden. Representatives of other roses are grown here as well.
In the spring, the Old Rose Garden is in full, magnificent flower, and its sweet perfume permeates the air. Visitors can sit and relax in one of the wooden swings, enjoying the shade provided by climbing roses and clematis. While the roses bloom all summer long, after their peak in April and May, the rose garden offers many other delightful blossoms as butterfly bushes, salvia, and gaura take center stage. Chrysanthemums and goldenrod provide bursts of color in the fall, and a variety of other plants offer pockets of blooms the rest of the year.