Monday, February 7, 2011

The Beautiful Elegant Teas

I am fortunate to be able to grow some of these antique roses, whose heyday came (and went) in the 19th century.

'Blake Tea', found
Tea roses do very well in warm climates, having originated in China.

Rubens, Robert, 1859
The division of early Teas and Chinas into separate rose classes is somewhat arbitrary and based mostly on appearance and scent (Chinas being smaller and less fragrant).

Comtesse Festetics Hamilton, Nabonnand, 1892
Teas were extensively hybridized, but finally ceded their popularity to Hybrid Perpetuals and Hybrid Teas (originally crosses between Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals). Unlike these latter groups, Tea roses nod their flowers, a good thing in a landscape as the flowers on a big bush look at you rather than straight up.

Souvenir de Pierre Notting, Soupert&Notting, 1895
I really cannot describe these roses any better than author Shirley Hibbert in "The Amateur's Rose Book", mentioned in Dickerson's "The Old Rose Advisor":

Susan Louise, Adams, 1929
"They bewilder the susceptible rosarian by their exquisite elegance of form,

Maman Cochet, Scipion Cochet, 1892
delicary of colour,

'Francis Leake', found
Souvenir de Mme Leonie Viennot, Bernaix, 1898
and peculiarly refreshing fragrance,

Devoniensis, Foster, 1838
which, though likened to that of a newly-opened sample of the choicest tea, is really distinct,

General Schablikine, Nabonnand, 1878

and [...] the most refined and blessed fragrance obtainable in the garden of the world."

Souvenir d'un Ami, Belot-Defougere, 1844
 I don't know about you, but I definitely belong in the "susceptible rosarian" category:-).

Souvenir de Gilbert Nabonnand, Clement Nabonnand, 1920

All these pictures were taken at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden.


  1. Oh, Masha, what yummy photos. That is the best shot of Rubens that I have ever seen. I didn't know it looked like that. I would have bought one last fall, but all the photos I saw looked yucky. I should have known that no tea rose can truly look bad! These are all so beautiful. You usually do, but I hope you'll post these on HMF. They will surely sell some roses!

  2. Gosh, your post is just showing in a non-negotiable way how beautiful the Tea roses are! I hope they make a come back and are grown by many more people in the future. They are truly amazing roses for warm climates, with the big advantage that there they flower year round.


  3. Hi, Sherry, most of these are on HMF, maybe not all since I have so many pictures... Remember the discussion about not posting too many pretty close-ups? I think their database is filling up, which is why I started this blog... Speaking about Rubens, it has ruined outer petals (lots of pink spotting) most of the time, that was a rare shot:-). Thank you for your compliments on my pictures.

  4. Thank you, Christina, and you are right, Teas have many advantages in warm climates (except perhaps being such big bushes)... I think the tastes might be changing and more different types of roses are finding their way into people's gardens. At least I hope so:-)

  5. Well, you may be susceptible, but I don't think your visitors would call you "bewildered."

    Anyway, a fascinating and informative post. (And it's nice to know there are some roses like Teas that look back at me, instead of just being looked at....)

  6. Thank you, thibaud, LOL. You have a better way with words than I:-).

  7. Thanks for the beautiful pictures to look at on a winter day. Hurry, spring!

  8. Thank you, HolleyGarden. Spring is coming really soon.

  9. Oh gosh, those are so lovely! You've just forced me to add several roses to my wish list. :)

  10. Thank you, Sweetbay, and I am happy to hear that! All of them would be in my garden if it were bigger...

  11. Hi Masha,
    Oh lucky you what a great garden, I would be forever lost there :-)
    My favorite is the Ruben Borerts, the softness, bewitching!!
    Thanks for the eye candy!

  12. Thank you, Bella, for your nice comment. I am glad you liked them.

  13. Hello Masha, thanks for those magnificent collection roses. I've just read a book about french landscape architects, one of whom has a huge collection of Nabonnand roses... Every time he finds a new one, he gets a piece of it to replant it in his garden.
    I hope you're having a warm & sunny day...
    And thanks for your visit in Greece to my blog

  14. Thank you, Gabriel, I wish I could see that architect's garden...

  15. Masha, they are lovely. You have the warm climate for them. I lost four roses this winter and am not trying any more. ♥O

  16. Thank you, Olive, and I am sorry to hear about your roses. Your garden is beautiful as is.

  17. Thanks for sharing these beautiful roses with us. It will be another month or so before we know how our roses survived the winter, but I'm hopeful that we won't lose many.

  18. Hi Masha, Thanks for coming to my blog. As you know (from my blog), my hubby grows Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras... I love roses --and your Teas are amazing!!!! Thanks for sharing.

    Please come back to my blog anytime --and I'll be back to see more of yours.

  19. I am glad to hear from you George, and hope your roses come through the winter without too much damage. I am looking forward to seeing pictures.

  20. Thank you, Betsy, for your nice comment. I am so happy to meet another rosarian.


I am so glad you have stopped by!