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Queen of Flowers - Hybrid Teas

This article is from Roses & You, January 2019

My love of roses began with hybrid teas. In 1993 I was fortunate enough to work for someone who was an avid hybrid tea gardener with over 300 bushes. That same year, the Louisville Rose Society hosted the ARS National Fall Convention in Louisville. How lucky was I?! It was the perfect situation to learn about growing hybrid tea roses.

My first rose garden contained six hybrid teas and, with my boss as my mentor, I began my new hobby with confidence. I joined the American Rose Society and my local society. Over the years my hobby has continued to grow, as has my love of roses.

The origins of hybrid tea roses I saw firsthand at the Biltmore Estate Rose Garden, which exhibits both hybrid perpetual and tea roses — the parents of the modern hybrid tea.

Hybrid perpetuals are fragrant, strong and hardy roses with flat heads. Tea rose blooms are shapely, with repeat blooming in a variety of colors, but they are not reliably winter hardy. In the mid-19th century, with a cross breeding of these two roses, the first modern hybrid tea roses appeared. 'La France', hybridized in 1867, is believed to be the first of this new class but the most famous is likely 'Peace' introduced in the US in 1945. Since that time, many modern hybrid tea roses have developed a high-centered form with repeat blooming and winter hardiness in a vast range of colors.

I still grow two of the roses from my original six - 'Double Delight', red & white with a strong fragrance and 'Touch of Class' with true exhibition form. Both roses continue in popularity with rose growers. A few more of my favorites are - 'Moonstone', 'Gemini', 'Louise Estes', 'Crescendo', 'Randy Scott', 'St. Patrick', 'Veterans’ Honor' and 'Let Freedom Ring' name a few. Of course, the best way to discover your favorites is to visit the garden of someone who loves hybrid teas as much as I have learned to love them.

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