Last month, we discussed China Roses and their enormous impact on rose breeding in the West. The other oriental rose of note was Rosa gigantea, which when crossed with Rosa chinensis, produced two of the Stud Chinas:
Humes’ Blush Tea-Scented China R. odorata odorata and
Parks’ Yellow Tea-Scented China R. odorata ochroleuca (photo below), both introduced to the West in 1810 and 1824 respectively. While possessing the positive attributes of prolonged flowering and yellow blooms, they were not robust in the cooler English climate and very susceptible to weather damage.Hybridization of these two roses with Dwarf Chinas, Bourbons and Noisettes produced a new race of Teas, with a wide colour range (red, pink, blush, white, yellow and pale orange) and a bud with a high pointed centre, different to other roses of the day. Crossing Parks’ Yellow Tea-Scented China with Fortune’s Double Yellow (R. odorata pseudoindica), another old Chinese garden rose with few thorns, dark green glossy foliage and loosely-formed double, buff-yellow fragrant blooms with tints of orange (photos below), produced the early yellow Teas of the 20th Century.Originally called Tea-Scented Chinas, the name of these new roses was abbreviated to Tea Roses. There is much conjecture over the fragrance and origin of the name – some say these roses have the faint fragrance of fresh China tea, while others attribute the name to the fact that the roses were stored with the wooden tea containers during their voyage from China to Europe in the tea clippers of the East India Company. Despite their slender weak stalks and tenderness in the cooler climate, they quickly became popular with Victorians, who wore the blooms in their buttonholes. In cooler climates, most Teas were grown in greenhouses or against a warm, sheltered wall, but they thrived in the warmer climates of the Mediterranean areas; South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and warmer parts of America like California. Their heyday was from 1882 to 1910, with over 250 Tea Roses introduced between 1830 and 1840. Many were produced by French breeders like Gilbert Nabonnand (1829-1903), based at Golfe Juan on the Cote d’Azur, who specialized in breeding Chinas and Teas, producing 78 Teas between 1872 and 1903. Tea Roses remained popular through the Edwardian Era, but the outbreak of the First World War meant that there was no longer the time, money or staff to maintain these tender roses in heated glass-houses. The new Hybrid Teas, as well as climbers, ramblers and Polyanthas were gaining in popularity and competed for space in gardens. Sadly, most of the Tea varieties, known to the Victorians, are now extinct, many killed off by severe frosts in Britain.
The Climbing Teas were much hardier with large, vigorous, thick stems and healthy glossy foliage. We are very lucky in Australia to have a large collection of Tea Roses at Rustons’ Nursery, Renmark, South Australia. The warm climate is very suitable for Tea Roses. In fact, there is a whole book written about them by 5 Western Australian authors:
‘Tea Roses: Old Roses for Warm Gardens’ by Lynne Chapman, Jenny M Jones, Billy West, Noelene Drage, Di Durston and Hillary Merrifield 2008 (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3225298-tea-roses).
The famous Australian rose breeder, Alister Clark, crossed Tea Roses back with R. gigantea to produce some very vigorous famous old Climbing Teas like Lorraine Lee 1924 (photo below) and Nancy Hayward 1937, perfect for the hot dry Australian climate, but I am devoting a separate post to him at the end of this month!While we are lucky to still be able to appreciate their nodding slightly fragrant blooms here in Australia, their big claim to fame in Europe is their major role in the development of the modern rose, being one of the parents (the other being Hybrid Perpetuals) of Hybrid Teas.
In warm climates, Teas form large, vigorous, densely-foliated bushes with a branching habit and often a twiggy growth pattern. The new leaves are greeny-bronze to copper-brown, dark red or purple, while the elongated shiny mature leaves are often evergreen.
Recurrent-flowering with subtle colours and a unique Tea fragrance, the blooms are generally cup-shaped, opening out flat, with a wide range of petal arrangements from cupped, globular, imbricated, quartered or muddled. The petals are silky and translucent.
Tea Roses display cymose inflorescences : each shoot ends in a bud, which is the largest and opens first. Many Tea Roses have nodding heads.
The hips are medium to large in size, yellow or orange, deepening to red with cold weather, and usually globular in shape with a flattened top.
Needs a warm frost-free climate or environment (glasshouse or warm sheltered wall) and well-drained fertile soil. Like China roses, they also resent hard pruning, so only prune lightly to maintain the shape of the bush, thin out old growth or remove dead wood.
NOTE: The height and size of Tea Roses is very dependent on the climate. Most Tea roses in the United Kingdom are less than 3 feet tall, while their counterparts in warmer climates are much taller.
Varieties of Tea Roses
Tea-Scented Rose: Rosa gigantea :
Tall climber, over 2 metres high, with evergreen foliage and the largest flowers and hips of any rose.Large single primrose blooms 7 – 14 cm across, fading to white, in Summer.
Originally found in the Shan Hills, North Burma in 1882, but later also in North-Western China. Performs poorly in cooler Northern climates, but very well in California, Australia and Mediterranean regions.Adam
Also known as The President and bred by Adam, United Kingdom, 1833 Unknown parentage.
Credited as being the first Tea Rose and named after its breeder, its pioneer status is erroneous, according to the ‘Tea Roses’ book mentioned above, as it was actually bred in 1838, and in fact, there were many other extinct Teas bred before 1833. It is best used as a climber, which reaches up to 2 metres in height.Plentiful large dark green leaves and large, fully double, often quartered when fully open, blooms of buff, amber and apricot with pink tints deep in the centre. I love the warm colours of this beautiful rose and am growing it on the northern end of the main pergola, where it flowers well throughout the season.Safrano (Aimé Plantier)
Bred by Beauregard in France 1839 of unknown parentage (according to Peter Beales, though Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix suggest it is possibly a cross between Parks’ Yellow Tea-Scented Rose and Mme Deprez, the Bourbon of 1831), Safrano is one of the oldest Teas still in existence and was considered as one of the best cut roses in France until 1900, being sent in vast quantities from the Mediterranean area to Paris. It was very popular as a buttonhole rose.Its high-centred buds open out flat to large, semi-double, fragrant, apricot-yellow to saffron blooms. Very floriferous, it has plentiful mid-green foliage and will grow to 2 metres tall in a warm climate.Triomphe de Luxembourg
Bred by Hardy, France, 1839, it also is of unknown parentage.Less than 1 metre tall, with dark green foliage and clusters of fully double salmon-pink blooms, fading to pinkish-buff with age.Devoniensis (the Magnolia Rose)
Bred by Foster, United Kingdom 1841 of unknown parentage, it also has a climbing sport from 1858. A very hardy Tea, it will climb to 3 metres in height, especially if grown in warm climates, though it does better in British conservatories. The stems have few thorns and ample light green foliage and it repeat-flowers well with large, fragrant, creamy, occasionally blush-pink, flowers. One of my favourite Teas, I am growing it opposite Adam on the northern end of our main pergola. I first saw it over an arched pergola at Walter Duncan’s Heritage Garden, where its beautiful nodding heads were shown off to perfection.Souvenir d’Un Ami
Bred by Bélot-Defougère, France, 1846, of unknown parentage.A vigorous bush with a branching habit, rich green foliage and fully double, cupped, very fragrant rose-pink and salmon blooms.
A very hardy Climbing Tea, bred by Robert in France in 1850, it grows to 4 metres tall, has ample lush green foliage and repeat-flowers well with fully double, sweetly scented, flattish pure white flowers with a hint of cream in the base. In my garden, it forms one side of the arch opposite Cornelia, at the gate into the chook yard.Duchesse de Brabant (also known as Comtesse de Labarthe; Comtesse Ouwaroff; and in Australia, Countess Bertha)
Bred by Bernède, France, 1857 of unknown parentage.
A vigorous, spreading, well-foliated, free-flowering bush, up to 1.5 metres tall, with large, shapely cupped and very double, clear-pink to rose-pink blooms with a strong Tea fragrance. There is also a climbing form, up to 4 metres tall. Very hardy and disease-resistant, it is one of the Earth-Kind Roses (see: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkindroses/cultivars/duchesse-de-brabant/).Said to be a favourite of Teddy Roosevelt’s, it is certainly one of mine. I first grew it as a cutting, taken from an old garden belonging to Ross’s uncle, which has since formed part of the Gold Coast Botanical Gardens. I grew the climbing form in my old Armidale garden and now have the bush form here in Candelo, though it is still a bit of a weedy specimen and needs to pull it socks up!Catherine Mermet
Bred by Guillot Fils, France, 1869, of unknown parentage.
Once widely grown for the cut flower trade, this rose is best grown in glasshouses in the United Kingdom. It has plentiful healthy mid-green foliage with copper tinges and longish stems, bearing shapely, high-centred buds, which open out to semi-double lilac-pink flowers with blush-pink centres.Marie Van Houtte
Bred by Ducher, France, 1871, a cross between Mme Falcot, a medium yellow Tea, similar to Safrano, and Mme de Tartas, a light pink Tea used extensively in Victorian times for breeding.A vigorous plant with a sprawling habit, this rose has rich green foliage and is very free-flowering. Large pointed buds open out to very fragrant, cream nodding flowers, tinged with carmine pink, with a buff colour at the base of the petals. Will reach 2 metres on a warm wall.Anna Oliver
Also bred by Ducher, France, in 1872, of unknown parentage.A vigorous branching bush with good, mid-green foliage and shapely, high-centred, fragrant, flesh- pink blooms.Mme Lombard
Introduced by Lacharme, France, 1878, this rose is a seedling of Mme de Tartas and looks very similar, apart from the colour.A vigorous bush with dark green foliage and very double, full, fragrant, salmon blooms.
Bred by Nabonnand, France, 1878, of unknown parentage and one of his most famous roses.A very useful rose, with compact well-foliated growth and very double copper-red and cherry-red blooms, which open out flat.Mlle Franziska Krüger
Another Nabonnand rose, launched in 1879, and thought to be a cross between Tea Roses, Catherine Mermet and Général Schablikine.
A repeat-flowering heat-tolerant Tea with a susceptibility to mildew, it reaches 1 metre in height and has large, fragrant, very double, cupped, orange-pink blooms with pink undertones and yellow centres.Monsieur Tillier
Bred by Bernaix, France, 1891 of unknown parentage.Tall, lax, vigorous growth with large, loosely-double, blood-red flowers with violet smudges and very little scent. Repeat-flowers well.
This rose is often confused with the next rose:
Archiduc Joseph also goes under the spelling: Archduke Joseph)
Bred by Nabonnand, France, 1892, and a seedling of Tea Rose, Mme Lombard, this outstanding rose is a hardy shrub or small climber, few thorns and plentiful dark-green glossy foliage. It repeat-flowers well, the colour of the blooms varying with temperature, the petals a mixture of pink, purple, orange and russet, with tints of yellow and gold in the centre.My rose (above and below) was sold to me as Archiduc Joseph, but could well be Monsieur Tillier! Here is a site exploring the differences: http://www.annchapman.net.nz/content/archduc-joseph-and-mons-tillier-rose-any-name-looks-just-good-and-smells-sweet. There is also a discussion of the difference in the ‘Tea Rose’ book mentioned: See https://books.google.com.au/books?id=a2_g1faKWdYC&pg=PA147&lpg=PA147&dq=Archiduc+Joseph+and+Monsieur+Tillier&source=bl&ots=AlFw23cloU&sig=o-1HAKDpgVIY6nTOhXiaarhYQzM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiuhPafl57TAhVLkpQKHdjEBKYQ6AEIUzAM#v=onepage&q=Archiduc%20Joseph%20and%20Monsieur%20Tillier&f=false.
Either way, it has been a wonderful rose- very tough and hardy, it still thrives near the Pepperina tree and is very generous with her beautiful orange-pink blooms!
Bred by Scipion Cochet, France, 1893, this rose is a cross between Tea Roses, Marie Van Houtte and Mme Lombard, and was once a famous exhibition rose.
It has vigorous growth, few thorns, leathery dark green foliage and is very free-flowering with large, globular pale-pink blooms, which open out blowsy and are deeper in colour towards the centre, with lemon-yellow at the base of the petals.White Maman Cochet is a sport, bred by Cook, USA, 1896 (photo above). It has both bush and climbing forms and repeat-flowers well with creamy-white, fragrant, shapely, high-centred blooms, with a lemon centre and cherry-pink outer petals.
Bred by Dubreuil, France, 1894, of unknown parentage
With moderately thorny stems and sparse glossy dark-green foliage, this rose repeat-flowers well. Its large pointed buds open to high-centred fragrant, dark-red velvety blooms, which open out blowsy and pale slightly with age.Mrs Dudley Cross
Bred by William Paul, UK, 1907
Thornless upright shrub to 3 metres, which repeat-flowers with medium, double, moderately fragrant, muddled yellow blooms, which blush to pink and then crimson as they age. Very resistant to blackspot, it is also an Earth-Kind rose. See: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/newsletters/hortupdate/2011/apr/ek-roses-2011.html.
Bred by Lowe and Shawyer, UK, 1910 from a cross between two Tea Roses, Papa Gontier and Mme Hoste. It has a climbing form, bred by Hicks, USA 1917.
A very famous and hardy old rose, with thornless plum-coloured stems, plentiful dark-green foliage, with copper mahogany tinges and long slender buds, which open to highly fragrant, large, blowsy, semi-double rich yolky-yellow blooms. I grew the climbing form on our tennis court fence in our old garden in Armidale (photo below).Rosette Delizy
Bred by Gilbert’s son, Paul Nabonnand, France, 1922 from a cross between Général Galliéni, one of his father’s Tea Roses, as well as being one of the most popular roses of its day, and another Tea Rose, Comtesse Bardi (a cross between Noisette Rose, Rêve d’Or, and Tea Rose, Mme Lombard).A branching bush, which has good foliage and repeat-flowers well with large full blooms of a lovely combination of rose-pink, buff and apricot and a fruity scent. Will reach 1.8 metres on a wall.
Bred by Charles E Adams, US, 1929, this vigorous disease-resistant climber is a seedling of the Gigantea Hybrid, Belle Portugaise.
Almost 5 metres tall, with spreading thornless stems and large semi-glossy medium-green foliage, it blooms prolifically with flushes throughout the season. Large long pointed buds, borne in small clusters, open to slightly fragrant, medium to large (up to 9 cm across), semi-double, light pink blooms.Please note: While all the photographs of the Tea Roses mentioned above are mine, not all the roses are! I have specified the Tea Roses growing in my garden in the text. Next week, we will be discussing Rustons Roses and the Renmark Rose Festival, but first, I have an extra post on Thursday, my response to a surprise Blue Sky Tag!