A Rose Sanctuary

Old City Cemetery is home to the largest public collection of heirloom roses in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are over 425 different varieties planted throughout the grounds, representing all classes, habits, colors and fragrances of antique roses, or “Old Garden Roses”.

Our rose collection consists mostly of “Old Garden Roses”, and also includes roses introduced and popularized during the cemetery’s most active phase in the 1920’s through the 1930’s.  An “Old Garden Rose” (or heirloom rose) belongs to a class of roses that existed before 1867, when the first Hybrid Tea rose was introduced into commerce.

The original antique rose collection was planted in 1986 along the 800-foot remains of the Cemetery’s old 1860’s brick boundary wall. The first 60 varieties planted by famous rosarian Carl Cato, represent rose history from before 1581 through the 19th century, and include the full range of classes and colors exhibited by these ancestors of modern-day roses. These plants were gathered from all over the United States and Canada, as well as local gardens.

Since 1986 many other varieties of antique roses have been planted throughout the 27-acre cemetery.  Former Restoration Chairman and Cemetery Director Jane Baber White began planting an heirloom rose beside gravestones upon which a rose was carved.  Rosarian Margi Vaughn continues that work today.

The peak of rose bloom at Old City Cemetery is often in May, but we celebrate from mid-April to mid-May with our Antique Rose Festival.  Visitors will find continuous scattered flowers throughout the summer until late Fall frosts.  Even in Winter months, the great diversity of form and structure of many species is of horticultural interest,  appearing sculptural in the landscape.  Irrigation, compost, a regular feeding schedule and maintenance are provided as needed in season.

Most roses are botanically labeled at the site.  The large groupings of roses include the following areas:

  • Old Brick Wall (both sides)
  • Carl Cato Garden
  • Pest House Garden
  • Shrub Garden
  • Fourth Street Fence

Original Antique Rose Collection

This is the original list of roses planted inside the Confederate Section in 1986 by Carl Cato and Jane Baber White. They were planted in chronological order by their date of introduction.

No. Introduced Name Class
1. before 1581 Rosa Mundi (R. gallica versicolor) Species (Gallica)
2. before 1590 Austrian Copper (R. foetida bicolor) Species sport
3. before 1596 R. moschata plena Species
4. 1696 Common Moss (Old Pink Moss) Moss
5. before 1750 Celsiana Damask
6. before 1750 Suaveolens Alba
7. 1752 Old Blush (Parson’s Pink China) Chinensis
8. 1797? Great Maiden’s Blush (R. alba incarnata) Alba
9. 1804 R. multiflora carnea Species sport
10. 1811 Champney’s Pink Cluster Noisette
11. before 1814 Chestnut Rose (R. roxburghii plena) Species
12. 1817 Seven Sisters (R. multiflora platyphylla) Rambler (Hybrid multiflora)
13. 1827 Félicité et Perpetue Hybrid sempervirens
14. 1830 Jaune Desprez (Desprez á Fleur Jaune) Tea noisette
15. 1835 Mme Plantier Hybrid alba
16. 1835 (1850?) Sombreuil Tea
17. 1838 Stanwell Perpetual Hybrid spinosissima
18. 1839 Safrano Tea
19. 1840 Cardinal de Richelieu Gallica
20. 1840 Hermosa Chinensis
21. 1842 Celine Forester Tea noisette
22. 1842 Baronne Prevost Hybrid perpetual
23. 1843 Comtesse de Murinais Moss
24. 1843 Souvenir de la Malmaison Bourbon
25. 1843 Baltimore Belle Hybrid setigera
26. 1845 Paul Ricault Centifolia
27. 1850 Fantin Latour Centifolia
28. 1853 Général Jacqueminot Hybrid perpetual
29. 1853 Gloire de Dijon Tea noisette
30. 1857 Duchess de Brabrant Tea
31. 1860 Reine des Violettes (Queen of Violets) Hybrid perpetual
32. 1861 General Washington Hybrid perpetual
33. 1865 Gloire de Ducher Hybrid perpetual
34. 1867 Boule de Neige Bourbon
35. 1867 La France Hybrid tea (First)
36. 1868 Zéphirine Drouhin Bourbon
37. 1868 Baroness Rothschild Hybrid perpetual
38. 1869 Paul Neyron Hybrid perpetual
39. 1869 Catherine Mermet Tea
40. 1872 La Reine Victoria Bourbon
41. 1874 Perle des Jardins Tea
42. 1879 Mme Alfred Carrier Tea noisette
43. 1881 Mme Isaac Perriere Bourbon
44. 1884 Perle d’Or Polyantha
45. 1888 Mme Ernst Calvat Bourbon
46. 1888 Striped Moss (Œillet Panachée) Moss
47. 1890 Roger Lamblin Hybrid perpetual
48. 1893 Marchioness of Londonderry Hybrid perpetual
49. 1896 Aglaia Rambler
50. 1897 Gruss an Teplit Climbing hybrid tea
51. 1898 Mrs. F.W. Sanford Hybrid perpetual
52. 1898 Santa Rosa Chinensis
53. 1898 Mme Louis Lévèque Moss
54. 1898 Mrs. Anthony Waterer Hybrid rugosa
55. 1899 Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Hybrid rugosa
56. 1899 R. hugonis Species
57. 1899 Gardenia Large climber
58. before 1899 Charles de Mills Gallica
59. before 1900 Belle Amour Alba
60. before 1900 Soleil d’Or Hybrid foetida

Roses in the Cato Collection

Name Date of Introduction Class
Rosa Mundi Before 1581 Species (Gallica)
R. moschata plena (The Musk Rose) Before 1596 Species
Celsiana 1750 Damask
Old Blush (Old China Monthly) 1752 China
Champneys’ Pink Cluster 1811 Noisette
Tuscany 1820 (1597) Gallica
Marquis Bocella 1842 Hybrid Perpetual
Souvenir de la Malmaison 1843 Bourbon
Bella Donna 1848 Damask
Cecile Brunner (Sweetheart Rose) 1881 Polyantha
Mary Washington 1891 Noisette
Charles de Mills Before 1899 Gallica
Hansa 1905 Hybrid Rugosa
Aviateur Bleriot 1910 Rambler
La Marne (From his grandmother’s garden) 1915 Polyantha
‘Alex Mosby Pink’ (Study name for found rose) Unknown Unknown

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401 Taylor Street
Lynchburg, Virginia 24501

Office: (434) 847-1465
Fax: (434) 856-2004
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