Rose bushes of the Garden

The most eye-catching and important part of the Arese Borromeo park in Cesano Maderno is the expanse of the parterre running parallel to the wider side of the garden, delimited by two lines of white hornbeam trees and two lines of yews found in the internal part of the parterre. Of the eight flowerbeds that characterised the central walkway over the last centuries, today only six still remain, since the last two farther away from the mansion, were joined together to form a sole field that precedes a vast basin and the back of the big step-fountain adorned by a complex sculpture depicting two squatting camels.

Each flowerbed, strictly symmetrical compared to others, is defined by brightly coloured rose blooms and a hedge cleverly pruned to create geometric designs alternated with the Borromeo stems, as in previous practices. There was a widespread habit in the past to make the rose garden a place for flower collections surrounded by a particular architectonic environment. In fact, in the classic rose garden, rose bushes formed by a sole variety were arranged around a well cut grass carpet. This type of rose bush was inserted in huge gardens like that of Cesano Maderno or simpler but equally neat ones like that of Villa Visconti Borromeo Litta in Lainate.
Close to the Arese Borromeo mansion is the “garden of the Countess,” resembling in all ways the majestic parterre. It was achieved after the second half of the 19th century through the joining of the garden adjacent to the dining room with that of the “goldfish basin.” The walls that stood in between were demolished and the area was arranged according to flowerbeds with geometric designs and decorated with roses of pale hues, delimited by low boxwood hedges. Most probably roses were chosen as the plant essences to be grown in this part of the garden because of their symbolic value and their literary-cultural significance.
Roses are shrubs of deciduous leaves, with variable carriage and according to the species, the stems are wooden and almost always full of thorns. They have smooth green or brown barks when young, and which turn grayish and acquire longitudinal fissures upon aging. The leaves are borne alternately with one another on the stem and are of the uneven composite type, formed by a number of small leaves that are always uneven, and oval or elongated in shape with dented edges.
The flowers bloom at the tip of the branches and at the armpit of the leaves; the first one to appear is always in a terminal position. Other flowers or branches grow under it, at the leaves’ insertion point with the stem, after which branching out and production of other flowers occur. This is why roses have solitary flowers or inflorescences at the tips, in which the blooms always start at the apex.
The flowers are hermaphroditic. In many species, the floral corolla is formed in fives, free from one another. However, it can easily become double. A certain number of styles can in fact, transform themselves into petals. The fruits are small, dry and indehiscent (achenes) and are contained in a false fruit called a rose hip, that is fleshy, yellow, orange or reddish in colour.