'Rose du Roi -- original' -- Damask Perpetual, 1812
First, a little preface about the "original" bit in the name -- there are a few roses going around as 'Rose du Roi' that aren't the real thing. Some are more Hybrid Perpetual in habit, showing the influence of China ancestry. There's also another Damask Perpetual which is similar to the "original", but not quite the same. My plant came from Vintage Gardens, and their plant was propagated as a reversion from 'Panachee de Lyon', which was a "parti-colored" sport of the original 'Rose du Roi'. According to Vintage Gardens, their plant of 'Panachee de Lyon' was a bit unstable, and would produce some blooms that were a dark smoky red, others were a medium to dark pink, along with the blooms with both colors that were typical. They assumed that the solid darker blooms were reversions to the original 'Rose du Roi', and managed to propagate those parts into stable plants that maintained the red color. This they listed as 'Rose du Roi -- original' to differentiate from the other Damask Perpetual they called 'Rose du Roi -- of commerce'. HelpMeFind doesn't differentiate, and so the file for 'Rose du Roi' contains several different roses -- some Damask Perpetuals, some Hybrid Perpetuals. I've also noticed that the rose going by this name in the UK seems to be pinker, and wonder if this might actually be another 'Rose du Roi' sport, since in all other respects those pics are identical to my plant. Unfortunately, it seems that no US nursery carries the "original" form, all seeming to carry one of the Hybrid Perpetual imposters.
Oh, and a quick definition of Damask Perpetual -- these roses originated from a cross of 'Quatre Saisons' with a Gallica -- possibly 'Officinalis' -- which were able to bloom again. 'Quatre Saisons' had many AKAs, such as 'Autumn Damask', and it was the only rose in Europe that rebloomed until the Chinas and Teas came over in the late 18th Century. They have a somewhat more Gallica habit but the Damask fragrance, as well as some of the Damask prickles and "stoutness of cane". None of these roses repeats as well as do Chinas and Teas, but for people in colder areas, ANY repeat bloom was cherished back then.
Here in central NJ, my 'Rose du Roi -- original' has one big flush from late May through mid June, then sends a wave of some new buds as hips from the first flush are forming. If I give a light prune along with dead-heading, that second flush is almost as grand as the first. Then I get some random flowers here and there during July and early August, then a moderate final flush from late August through September. With these roses, the more you trim, feed, and water after a flush, the grander the next flush will be. If you do nothing, you'll get a scattering of a few flowers here and there until hard frost.
This Damask Perpetual in particular grows much taller than the others I have -- though they may do the same as they mature, since some are still young. I've found that if left alone, it produces canes that become too top-heavy to stay upright without staking -- especially after rain. One year, when the rose was two years old and I first noticed this, I cut half of the canes back by half, and waited. They all sprouted side-shoots, leading to more weight below, and new shoots finished with blooms. Then I repeated it on the remaining canes. The rest of the season, it remained upright. The following year, I was tempted to leave it nearly unpruned for the first flush, and again it got top-heavy. So now I shorten all the canes by a third in late Winter, shorten side-shoots higher up, but leave side-shoots near the base longer. This works -- until a heavy rain. But all I've needed were some bamboo stakes tucked in to fix it until the blooms dry.
Here's my 'Rose du Roi -- original' from this year. Unfortunately, my old iPhone camera destroys roses in this color range, but you'll get an idea of its growth habit and profusion of bloom during the first flush.
And below are some pics from previous years. The fourth pic shows blooms in late October.
These last two were from 2014, a year after coming as an own-root band. The first shows the funky extra sepal that the true 'Rose du Roi' shows on some flower buds. This trait was passed on to its sports and some of its seedlings, but is not found among the "imposters", so it makes for a defining characteristic for the real thing. The second photo is about as close as I've ever gotten to accurately capturing this rose's true colors.