De geschiedenis van Hex is altijd een verhaal geweest van rozen: van de oudste rozensoorten van het landgoed – rozen die prins-bisschop de Velbrück in de 18de eeuw uit China liet importeren door de Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnieën – tot de rozen in ‘de kleine rozentuin’, waar gravin Nanda d’Ursel haar verzameling begon in de jaren negentig van de vorige eeuw. In de laatste halve eeuw is de rozencollectie van kasteel Hex steeds meer uitgebreid. Er staan naar schatting 1400 rozen verspreid in de tuinen van Hex, waarvan zo’n 500 verschillende soorten. De rozen zijn aanwezig in formele perken en in de mixed borders, als grote solitairen, of groeien over de hekken, werpen zich over de balustrade en klimmen tussen de muren en de bomen…..
THE ALPHABETICAL REGISTER: het werk van generaties…
The mapping of the historic roses of Hex Castle was done with passionate attention and dedication by the late Countess Nanda d'Ursel. She made sketches and described the most special roses in her garden script. Later she met Edith Dasnoy who, together with her watercolors, made the most beautiful species. Together they published the book "Roses from the Gardens of Hex" ... The book is still for sale during the garden days at the stand of Hex.
Wild roses occur throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic to Northern Africa, from the American plains and New Mexico to Yemen, Thailand, South India and China.
In the regions of Western Europe, species of the Dog Rose and the Hedgehog are native - about thirty species - but more than 200 wild rose species are known worldwide. On the flower meadow you will find the wild rose species that are characteristic of the flora of the region Limburg and Brabant.
Furthermore, numerous wild exotics are scattered throughout the Hex gardens. There are a number of species of the Chinese Rosa banksiae near the fig-garden and the species of the Scottish Rosa pimpinellifolia are in a row behind the tennis court. Nearby is also the Rosa sericea pteracantha, with its striking winged thorns, which originates from Nepal. Rosa Mutabilis stands at the door of the vegetable cellar. Later Rosa roxburgii - both also imported from China. Here and there you will see climbers of botanical origin climbing the garden fences, against the walls or in the trees: Rosa arvensis, Rosa multiflora, Rosa filipes 'Kiftsgate' and the impressive Paul's Hymalaian Musk at the front of the castle.
The botanical species with their wild clusters and their exuberant blossoms are almost unbeatable in charm and beauty. But thanks to the centuries-old culture of the rose, its exchange between the regions and the continents and the numerous crossings that this brought with it, we now know an almost innumerable number of roses in all possible variations.
It is difficult to say when the French rose (Rosa gallica) was introduced for the first time in our regions. It occurs naturally in France and further to the East in southern Europe to Turkey. In her long history of culture many variations have arisen from the French rose. They are all pink, flame red to deep violet, they bloom only once a year,
but they are very popular for their special perfume. In the gardens of Hex we see, besides the original wild form, some dozens of the most beautiful Gallica's collected, including Tricolor de Flandres, De la Maître d'École, Alain Blanchard, Charles de Mills and many others.
The white or soft pink Alba-rose was probably already cultivated with the Greeks and the Ancient Romans. It is a crossing of one of the dog roses with a Gallica or possibly a Damascener rose. The growth of the Alba's is different from that of the Gallica's. They throw long, flexible branches, which, incidentally, have few thorns. The leaves have a bluish appearance and the flowers smell sweet. The most beautiful specimens, represented in Hex, are Celestial, Königin von Dänemark or Great Maiden's Blush (also once called 'Cuisse de Nymph'). They only know one bloom in the year. The Alba's, together with the Gallica's, are largely grouped downstairs in the vegetable garden, in the long border that stretches alongside the sheep pasture, from the conservatory to the old well.
A third old family in the roses is the group of the Damascene roses. They are crosses of the Rosa gallica with other wild species from the Mediterranean Sea area such as Rosa phoenicea or Rosa moschata. The Herst-Damascene rose is special because it is the first to have a second bloom in late summer. The Damascene roses are significantly less hardy than the Gallica's. They grow tall and throw loose bunches of sweet-smelling large flowers in the colors red, white or pink.
The Centifola or Provenceroos was only born in the 16th century from a crossing of a Herst-Damascener with a Rosa Alba. The group was sterile for a long time and was propagated with cuttings, until in the 19th century a fertile species arose that could be further crossed. In addition to the original Centifolia we find Petite de Hollande and Pompon de Bourgogne in the garden of Hex. The rosebushes of the Centifolia family are characterized by their thick, filled flowers that are slightly closed - if they are also called Cabbage Rose in England. Other names for this rose are Dutch rose or Rose de Peintre, because of its success with the Dutch masters of the 17th century.
The Centifolia-Mos roses originated as a spontaneous deviation on normal Centrifolia boxes. The first is mentioned in 1720. The Centifolia moss is characterized by the presence of numerous scented glandular hairs on the flower stalks. The growth method is somewhat stiff, but that is compensated by the special character of the flower. The roses are very aromatic and the colors are deep-violet or dramatically dark. Behind the double row of peonies in the vegetable garden are William Lob, Nuits de Young, Tuscany Superb and a dozen other exponents of this family.
In China, roses have been grown for centuries and have been crossed into new cultivars. The first Chinese roses came to our region in the year 1792. The Rosa chinensis multipetala, which is still in the prinsenhof, is one of the first to be transported from China by the Dutch East India Company - according to tradition - at the special request of prince-bishop the Velbrück. In addition, you will also find Rosa indica rubra and an 'Old Blush' at the prinsenhof from that time.
On the island of Bourbon, an important mooring place for merchant ships - halfway on the route between Europe and the Far East, members of the Herst-Damascerenroos family met the Chinese rose (Rosa chinensis) in the 17th century. From the necessary crossings that followed, the Bourbon rose, which later was bred by crosses with Gallica and Damascene hybrids. The family of the Bourbon roses has a good re-flowering in the late summer. The flowers are often half-filled and light-pink. In the garden of Hex you will find them mainly in the vicinity of the tennis court: Mme. Isaac Pereire, Louise Odier, La reine Victoria and others.
The Tea Box (Rosa odorata) is a Chinese rose that has long been in culture in China. She is called Tea Box because the flower smells slightly to tea. Intersections of the Tea Box with Noisette and Bourbon Roses yielded a whole new family of blooming Hybrid tea roses, which today is mainly known as a daisy. They are mainly in the beds in the conservatory in Hex.
At the conservatory is also the roses of the English rose grower David Austin. He has succeeded in uniting the best of two families.
The romantic view and smell of the old Gallica's, Alba'a, Centifolia and Boubonros with the blooming character of the modern Tea hybrids.
Louis Lens, Belgian arborist and rose breeder, was a good friend of the late Countess Nanda d'Ursel. Lens turned a goose new direction with growing roses for grasslands and public gardens. To be Moschata hybrids have been sold all over the world. On Hex one still finds copies of his tests, some of which have never reached the trade, for example in the row next to the caves. But also in the vegetable garden and in the so-called friend garden next to the terraces, you can find some of his finest creations.
Countess Nanda d'Ursel also had a weakness for the small bunches of roses Polyantha family. We find them back in the vegetable garden; in long rows for the peonies and in the beds around the basin. The Polyanthas (or miniature roses) are descendants from complex crosses of Chinese roses with Centifolias, Bourbon roses or old Tea hybrids.
Finally, there is the Geschwind-rosarium that was planted in 2012 at the old Cedar, at the back of the platanendreef. Besides the well-known 'Zigeunerknabe' the collection contains a few dozen unknown and forgotten ones rose varieties from Rudolf Geschwind from the beginning of the 20th century, collected from old gardens and the rosaries of Western and Eastern Europe. Geschwind roses are characterized by their natural character and resistance to all weather conditions. This rose collection is intended as a gene bank for future breeders.
NEW ROSES THAT REFER TO HEX:
Hex is particularly proud that in June 2013, due to the 20th anniversary of the Garden Days, a number of loyal exhibitor breeders named new rose selections and winnings after Hex.
- Rosa 'Gardens of Hex' - Lens Roses
- Rosa 'Kasteel Hex' - Peter Beales Roses
- Rosa 'Rebel of Hex' - Beer Creek
- Rosa 'Spirit of Hex' - Vierländer Rosenhof
In 2016 a new rose was christened to countess Stéphanie d'Ursel, hostess and protector of the historic gardens of castle Hex:
– Rosa 'Countess Stéphanie d'Ursel' - Lens Roses
- The Classic Roses of Peter Beales (England)
- The newest rose varieties of Lens Roses (Belgium)
- Old varieties Daniël Schmitz (Belgium)
- Organically grown roses from De Bierkreek (The Netherlands)
- The endless assortment of Vierländer (Germany)
- The own varieties of Oreye Roses (Belgium)
watch here: the alphabetical register of rose names from Hex.