I think a passion for roses is part of being English. I have grown roses since I was a child. In many ways they are not the delicate plants that they are reputed to be, but there is no doubt that they reward care and attention. However most landscape roses are pretty thirsty. There are some species roses that are quite drought tolerant but they do not look like a classic rose.
In the last century the common garden roses were hybrid tea roses. These are the big, high centered roses that come in florists bouquets. Hybrid tea roses are good for cutting, with long single stems, however they are often awkward bushes, they can be prone to diseases and many have little or no scent.
For use in the landscape Floribunda roses have been, and still are, a good choice. These cluster flowered roses are generally robust and put on a mass display, and many repeat their bloom cycle through the Summer. This group includes the ubiquitous white rose “Iceberg” that is used so much because it is such a good rose for Southern California.
During the 1980s and 1990s several rose breeders began to develop roses that were more suited to landscape use, and there is now a wide variety of “shrub roses” that have excellent disease resistance and good form in the garden.
There are also many species roses, roses that are the wild roses on which the hybrid roses are based. There are even roses that are native to California. Many of these can make a good shrub in your garden, and are generally healthy and vigorous.