There was a time when numerous pollens were being scattered rather randomly and mostly in an undocumented manner to bring into being Bourbons, Portlands, Noisettes and even early Hybrid Perpetuals, rose breeders were developing a small number of new as well as up till then unknown hybrids.
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It appears as if the early Tea roses and even the Chinas arrived via the East India Company's ships, which were mainly engaged in transporting tea from India and other Southeast Asian nations to England. However, these ships also carried a different type of cargo - a new species of roses.
It is very likely that since these roses were carried along with tea and their uncommon fragrance resulted in the creation of the term "Tea-scented rose". Perhaps, this nickname was coined by the sailors who also took care of these plants.
When they reached America, it was found that this new race of roses adapted themselves very well in the conditions prevailing in American South. The tea roses are almost immune to black spot and mildew and if grown in places where the winters are mild, they start flowering from the beginning of spring till Christmas.
The flowers of tea rose have a propensity to be large, often an individual flower measuring about 4 inches (10.2 cm) or even more in diameter when they are fully open. The flowers are also full and have an intriguing scent - attributes that make tea roses wonderful cut flowers.
Characteristically, the stems of tea roses are slender that bend over due to the weight of the fully open blooms. When grown outdoors, tea roses make a wonderful contrast to its new foliage, which has a bronze-red color.
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Introduced - 1837
'Bon Siléne' rose is an early case in point of tea rose that makes a wonderful shrub which habitually grows equally tall and wide. This tea rose produces long and pointed buds, which open into deep pink, loosely double, fragrant flowers appearing on long stems.
In fact, there are few roses that bloom for such a long time and such copiously as 'Bon Siléne'. The plants of this tea rose are sturdy and bushy and bear abundant blooms all through their growing season. Aside from this, the foliage of 'Bon Siléne' is always tidy and remains healthy even during the southern summers.
In addition, this tea rose has a vigorous growth rate. Therefore it is not surprising that 'Bon Siléne' rose has been a favourite of southern gardeners since long. This rose is time and again found as well thriving huge bushes in abandoned areas or sites that once used to be lively homesteads.
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Introduced - 1869
'Catherine Mermet' rose bears double flowers, each measuring about 3 inches in diameter. When the blooms of this tea rose open, they have a blush pink hue with lilac edges. However, as the flowers mature their color changes to soft beige.
Often, the inner petals of 'Catherine Mermet' are yellow at their base. The flowers may appear singly or in small clusters on elegant stems. They have a potent, spicy fragrance. The color of the young leaves is coppery, but changes to medium green as they mature.
'Catherine Mermet' rose is rather delicate and needs a warm and sunny location along with rich and well-drained soil for proper growth. This tea rose is very tender and often grown in greenhouses. The plants have an upright and arching habit and are ideal for growing in garden beds and borders. You may also grow this rose as specimen plantings.
The flowers of 'Catherine Mermet' rose are an excellent for use as cut flowers. This rose should never be pruned heavily and pruning ought to be limited to just removing the dead and weak gangling canes. This tea rose has moderate resistance to diseases. At the same time, it is capable of enduring heat.
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Introduced - 1857
It is interesting to note that Teddy Roosevelt always liked to wear this tea rose in his buttonhole. In fact, 'Duchess de Brabant' is the quintessence of luxury bearing large, cup-shaped flowers that are heavily scented. The flowers of this tea rose have a soft pink hue.
This rose blooms very generously and flowers from spring to the fall. When grown in the southern part of its range, 'Duchess de Brabant' flowers even during the winter months. Different from its long-legged cousins, this rose is a relative compact bush with a vase-shaped form.
This makes 'Duchess de Brabant' ideal for growing in any average-sized garden. Moreover, it is also easy to grow this rose. This tea rose is a vigorously growing, healthy shrub that can often be seen as a survivor in deserted gardens in the South.
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Introduced - 1855
'Isabella Sprunt' rose is a natural sport of the typical tea rose 'Safrano'. In other words, a bud on 'Safrano' bush mutated of its own accord resulting to a branch of the plant developing characteristics that are different from its parent bush.
This development was observed by a nurseryman, who took a cutting from the mutated branch of 'Safrano'. In fact, all bushes of 'Isabella Sprunt' have descended from the cutting taken by the nurseryman. In addition to this, all bushed of 'Isabella Sprunt' are attractive shrubs with a mounded shape.
The plant grows equally tall and wide and has fresh as well as healthy foliage. The foliage prized when it is new. This tea rose is practically in bloom all the year round and bears semi-double, fragrant, sulphur yellow flowers. The flowers of this tea rose bear resemblance to its parent in all aspects, except in the color of its flowers.
Introduced - 1893
'Maman Cochet' rose produces globe-shaped, pointed buds that unfurl into high-centered flowers, each measuring about 4 inches across. Each flower of this tea rose is composed of anything between 35 and 40 light pink petals with lemon yellow base.
The colors of the blooms become darker when grown under bright sun. The flowers are exceptionally fragrant and set off nicely against the deep green, leathery foliage. The canes of this plant produce few prickles.
'Maman Cochet' is an old garden rose with a vigorous growth rate. The plants are upright and have a bushy habit. As the plants have attractive foliage and bear steady stream of flowers, this tea rose is an excellent selection for growing in garden beds and borders. 'Maman Cochet' rose is capable of tolerating both the heat and humidity of summer. In addition, it is also resistant to diseases.
Introduced - 1871
This tea rose cultivar was called the “hole rose' by the Rose Rustlers of central Texas – an enthusiastic and colourful association of people who love antique roses. They nicknamed 'Marie van Houtte' as the 'hole rose' because they discovered it growing in a depression on a pavement close to an deserted shed.
This fact testifies the toughness of this tea rose, since it successfully dealt with the conditions that interchange between drought and flood. That too, it did this in a very carefree manner. 'Marie van Houtte' is a vigorously growing tea rose cultivar that has a tendency to sprawl.
This tea rose cultivar bears large, very double, round, nodding flowers having a pale yellow hue. The flowers have a special distinction and that is its petals have a tinge of rose pink at their tips.
Introduced - 1891
'Monsieur Tillier' is an exceptional as well as compliant tea rose, especially for the southern gardens. This tea rose cultivar also blooms constantly, bearing quartered and scented flowers. It is interesting to note that all gardens who grow this tea rose portray its flowers differently.
This alone is ample suggestion of the fact that the blending of colors of 'Monsieur Tillier' rose is very complex. At the same time, it emphasizes that the color of the rose varies depending on the local climatic conditions as well as their exposure to sunlight.
Generally speaking, while the flowers of this tea rose cultivar have a carmine or dark pink hue with red overtones, the color fates to coral pink or brick red with a touch of magenta as the blooms mature. However, one thing is certain; the flowers of this rose are unforgettable.
The foliage of 'Monsieur Tillier' rose is an enjoyable olive green, while the plants are bushy and comparatively compact. Different from some of its expansive relatives in its class, it is easy to work with this tea rose cultivar in any garden of normal suburban range.
Introduced - 1901
This tea rose is an extraordinary vigorous shrub and is worth all the space it occupies in your garden. However, it will not expand rapidly to fill a large area of a small garden. 'Mrs. B.R. Cant' rose is in bloom practically throughout the year and bears plentiful of double, silvery pink hued blooms.
The petals have a darker pink hue on their underside creating an excellent contrast. The flowers of 'Mrs. B.R. Cant' are attractive both in a vase as well as on the bush. In fact, the blossoms of this rose are the best among all tea roses.
This rose can be grown very easily and this is evident from the fact that in the South it is among the most common roses in graveyards. In other words, this tea rose can often be found thriving well even in old gravesites that are not attended any more.
Introduced - 1907
As far as its color and shape is concerned, this tea rose cultivar seems to be a more elegant version of the celebrated hybrid tea rose called 'Peace'. 'Mrs Dudley Cross' is a brawny shrub. It is also compact, especially for any tea rose that is generally expansive.
In addition, the foliage of this rose is exceptionally resistant to disease and, at the same time, plausibly attractive. The plants of 'Mrs. Dudley Cross' rose are practically without any thorn, while its flowers are pale yellow tinged with pink.
The blossoms are ideal for use as cut flowers and floral arrangements indoors. Similar to its relative 'Mrs. B.R. Cant', another tea rose cultivar, 'Mrs. Dudley Cross' is also a survivor and you may often find it growing in deserted gardens, especially in the South.
The cuttings of this rose root very easily and, hence, it is among the most frequently collected as well as shared among the southern heirloom roses.
Introduced - 1874
Roughly about a century back, 'Perle des Jardins' was the average yellow rose for florists, mostly because the brawny stems of this rose are unusual for any tea rose and they are perfect for holding the flower in an upright position. However, despite this characteristic, 'Perle de Jardins' would continue to be an exceptional yellow rose.
The flowers of this tea rose cultivar are large, scented, very full and have a straw yellow hue. The tips of the flowers are compactly packed with petals all rolled to points. All things considered, 'Perle de Jardins' is an amazing rose for floral arrangements in a vase.
Apart from making the house colourful, this tea rose cultivar is also an excellent garden shrub. The plants are compact, vigorously growing, healthy and bear plentiful flowers nearly in all seasons. The new growth of this tea rose cultivar has a wine red hue and when mature, the foliage has a dark green color.
Introduced - 1838
If you have ever seen 'Safrano' rose at the peak of its flowering season, which the saffron and apricot petals of this tea rose just begin to fade to buff yellow, you will probably never ever be able to overlook the spectacle - because this tea rose is among the real splendours of the South.
In addition, 'Safrano' rose is among the sturdiest tea rose and a wonderful selection for growing in the form of a landscape shrub. The foliage of this rose is resistant to diseases to. It is also fresh and gorgeous, while the bush, despite having an expansive habit, can be restricted to a more modest size by pruning it regularly, especially if you have limited space in your garden.