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Class: Old Hybrid Tea

Centifolia Mosses
Damask Perpetual
Hybrid Perpetual
Old Hybrid Tea
La France
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Photo © David & Crenagh Elliott, used with permission

"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'."
- Brent C. Dickerson odinthor@csulb.edu, author, "The Old Rose Advisor"

Hybrid Teas offer very beautiful flowers whose form is considered the ideal of the classic long-stemmed modern rose and are the common roses of the 20th century. High-centered buds make hybrid teas beautiful indeed at the bud and slightly open stage. As a class they are not attractive plants, upright in growth with a tendancy towards lankiness. Despite their stiff growth habit, if you enjoy beautiful flowers, include hybrid teas in the garden - preferably in their own bed. A bed dedicated to these roses, especially massing several or many plants of one variety, can be a stunning sight.



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