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Tea Roses: Old Roses for Warm Gardens

Teas — once almost forgotten — are now being acclaimed as superb roses for warm gardens. Bred for a century or so from 1820, they were descended mainly from Chinese garden hybrids introduced into Europe in the early nineteenth century. Teas brought characteristics that had not been seen before in European roses. These included an intriguing multi-layered fragrance; a new range of colours; a higher-centred flower shape; gently nodding heads; and a bushy, twiggy growth habit. Even more importantly, the Teas whose ancestors came from temperate to subtropical areas of China bloomed almost continuously in favourable conditions and did not need a dormant period. The authors aim to bring together the observations and knowledge they have accumulated about the Teas and to tell something of their past history. Full details are given of roses currently being sold as Teas in Australia, as well as some Tea-like found roses. Descriptions are first-hand and not just a repetition of what has been said before. They authors grow most of the Teas known in Australia, and these are a large proportion of those commercially available elsewhere. Consequently, the information given about them will be relevant wherever these roses are grown.

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3 comments to Tea Roses: Old Roses for Warm Gardens

  • Anita Clevenger

    A fabulous book about fabulous roses For gardeners in warmer climates, Tea Roses are a wonder. Evergreen, virtually everblooming, fragrant, with graceful growth habits and beautiful flowers, they are attractive landscape shrubs throughout the year. These minimum-care roses are historic, too, evoking the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in their romantic appearance, names and stories. This book is a labor of love by six Australian tea rose experts, who provide great detail about more than 60 of these roses, most of which are available in the United States. The book is worth owning for the photos alone, but the detailed descriptions and extensive information are its greatest strength, helping the reader to select, grow and identify tea roses (some of which have survived for a century in old cemeteries or at old houses, waiting to be appreciated once again). The definitive book about a great class of roses.

  • Cybister

    A terrific resource This book is a terrific resource for antique rose lovers. Unlike most books on old garden roses, this one focuses on a specific subgroup of roses, allowing for more detailed coverage of individuals and of the class as a whole than is usual. But what is really special is the way they foreground their research process: they talk about using old garden catalogs, descriptions from rose shows and societies, paintings, records from plant breeders, and specimens being grown in rose collections today to confirm or dispute identifications of old roses that have become popular in the past several decades. Other writers and researchers have undoubtedly done the same, but they rarely describe those resources in books for popular audiences.In addition, they provide a detailed physical description for each cultivar–things like the characteristics of the the calyx, the prickles, and the length, color, texture, and number of leaflets–incredibly useful information for those trying to perform their own rose IDs.The authors also have an unusually international perspective: based in Australia, they compare the roses sold under the same name in their country, in Europe, and in the US. And, naturally, they grow some roses in Australia that have never made it into US trade, and the pictures and descriptions of these whet the rose lovers’ appetite. Despite the difference in hemisphere, rose growers in the southern US will the information in this book relevant. These are roses that need warmth and protection from prolonged freezes, and they are tolerant of drought–qualities as valuable in the southern US as in Australia.

  • just me

    What a treat for people who grow tea roses! Living in a warm climate I find that tea roses are becoming the mainstay of my rose garden, but alas most rose books appear to be written by rosarians who live in colder climates and focus on European roses I can’t grow well. What a delight to find a book about tea roses that covers them in some depth, and to learn about the history of rose growing in Australia. This book is unique in my collection and would be fascinating to rose lovers even in colder climates.

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