top: Empress Josephine, Amiable Rouge, Pale Pink Gallica from l’Ha├┐
above: Agatha Incarnata, Cramoisi Picotee, Anais

The old French roses, or Roses of Provins, were at the center of the first great wave of rose breeding in the early 19th century. These were initially derived purely from European species and cultivars that were summer-blooming, and many, especially the old red Gallicas like Officinalis, have been in gardens since the Middle Ages. Richly colored in a pink and mauve palette, with intricate flowers packed with petals and perfumed, the Gallicas have no substitutes among modern roses.

We currently have no curator for the Gallicas. If you are interested in becoming one, please contact:


Of moderate to low stature, growing 3′ to 5′ tall, suckering densely, the Gallicas are the finest of ground-covering roses, for few plants can thrive beneath them. We group them roughly into two habits (left to right, above).

  • (E.g., Sissinghurst Castle) Low, suckering and dense, canes arching somewhat with the weight of their blooms. [G #1]
  • (E.g., Superb Tuscan) Stout caned, moderately suckering, arching with the weight of much larger blooms. This latter group represents the culmination of breeding efforts to produce larger, more dramatic flowers. [G #2]

Brackets refer to Explanatory Information page.
Gallica roses original Vintage Garden pages: VCG_Gallicas.pdf

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