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Old Hybrid Tea
"Ah, me. Here one is, a breeder in, say, the late 1860's, trying to breed a
"different" HP among the hundreds coming out every year, one with shapely
blossoms to win at shows, one that blooms more to attract those looking for garden
decoration, maybe one that's white or even yellow! The obvious answer, and one that
occurred to several breeders--but most notably to Lacharme of France and Bennett of
England--was to breed the Tea into the Hybrid Perpetual; they were willing to risk some
loss of hardiness to gain something "different." Though the occasional HP x T
cross had been made before and released, the first long-term programs of such were made by
Lacharme and Bennett. From the mid-1870's on, others tried their hands at it increasingly;
and, by the 1890's, Hybrid Teas were replacing Hybrid Perpetuals in the gardens of
"modern"-thinking rosarians. The Hybrid Teas bloomed more, were bushier, had
more beautiful leaves and better-shaped flowers, and the color-range, somewhat limited in
the HP's, was extended into the warm, exotic range of the Teas; the HP's mainly held
ground where their greater hardiness made them more desirable. The problems with these new
HT's was that they were, as we just saw, more tender, and they carried with them the
problem that many Teas had of nodding on the stem; further, the color range, though wide,
was muted: milky whites, creamy pinks, pale coral pinks, dull rose-coloreds, no real
full-bodied reds at first; worst, perhaps, they were no improvement in health. And yet . .
. and yet . . . they are beautiful, delicate creatures. (Traditionalists remind me to cite
'La France' (photo at right) as "the first Hybrid Tea"; it was introduced in 1867, as a Bourbon
hybrid.) `Captain Christy', `Mme. Lacharme', `Antonine Verdier', `Jean Sisley', `Julius
Finger', `Grace Darling', `Viscountess Folkestone', `Mme. Caroline Testout', `Kaiserin
Auguste Viktoria', `Antoine Rivoire', `Mme. Wagram, Comtesse de Turenne'."
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