In May 2004, in the former garden of the monastery, at the southern fasade of the Kostanjevica monastery near Nova Gorica, there was opened for the public a collection of Bourbon roses. It is one of the biggest and most complete collections of Bourbon roses in the world. In May and June there are thousands of them in bloom.
Bourbon roses, the roses of the 19th century, have become mostly extinct in the world. In Nova Gorica, the city of roses, the last preserved representatives were given a special place and became the second largest public collection of the original Bourbon roses in Europe (the only larger one is at Roseraie de l'Haÿ near Paris). They flourish in the approximate vicinity of the resting place of the last French kings, the Bourbons, in the garden of the Franciscan Monastery at Kostanjevica.
Bourbon roses are truly special among roses, as they represent an important step in the development from old to modern roses. They were named after the island Ile de Bourbon in the Indian Ocean, which is today called Reunion. This means that the name is only indirectly connected to the last French kings, the Bourbons. The first were created by accidental cross-fertilisation of two old varieties of roses, the Old blush China and the Quatre saisons damask rose. Famous French and other gardeners raised about 1,500 varieties, which over several decades literally flooded Europe. Only about one hundred have been preserved to this day. They put an enticingly fragrant stamp on their time, when they adorned the residences of the wealthy. From them they created new, modern roses, which slowly ousted the antique roses from gardens.