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Modern Roses

Hybrid Teas

The hybrid perpetual roses were strong, healthy plants that made the tea roses appear rather week and spindly, but tea roses had beautifully shaped buds and flowers in shades of soft yellow that were not available in the hybrid perpetual. It was an obvious move to cross the two and in 1867 the first hybrid tea 'La France' appeared. A highly scented rose with soft pink blooms which took the rose world by storm and is still available today from specialist nurseries.


La France 1867

La France was followed by further pinks and some pale yellows, but a lack of bright colours meant that hybrid teas did not appear to offer any great improvements over existing forms so they did not initially cause any great excitement. It was not until the bright yellow, double flowered Rosa foetida var. Persiana was introduced into the breeding programme by the French breeder Pernet Ducher that hybrid teas started to become the dominant roses. His first bright yellow, 'Soleil d Or' was exhibited in 1898 and is still available today. Unfortunately the early hybrid teas were rather tender for European gardens. This was remedied by the introduction of R.wichuraiana into the mix in the mid 1940s and most of our modern hardy hybrid teas date from after this period.

There are now hundreds of hybrid teas to choose from and most of them are very heavy flowering and have large blooms on long stems that are ideal for cutting. New hybrid teas arrive every year and the choice is now amazing with a wide array of colours and perfumes. Many of the new hybrid teas now have multiple blooms on one stem instead of the single blooms of years gone by.

'Peace' is probably the most famous of all the hybrid teas. It was developed by French horticulturist Francis Meilland in the years 1935 to 1939. It was named 'Peace' in 1945 as the second world war came to an end. Later that year 'Peace' roses were given to each of the delegations at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco each with a note which read "We hope the 'Peace' rose will influence men's thoughts for everlasting world peace"Peter Beales, rose grower and expert said in his book Roses.

'Peace', without a doubt is the finest Hybrid Tea ever raised and it will remain a standard variety forever" Awards. Golden Rose of the Hague 1965. World's Favourite Rose 1976.




Around the same time as the first hybrid teas were appearing, the polyanthas were introduced. These compact roses bear their small flowers in large clusters and were produced by crossing dwarf forms of R.multiflora with either a dwarf China or a small hybrid tea. Polyanthas have continued to be grown and new introductions appear occasionally. They were very successful but their flowers tended to be small and poorly formed. The logical step was to cross polyanthas with hybrid teas.

The first to do so were the Danish Poulsen company and they were an instant success. Floribunda (Latin for many flowering) roses are compact and heavy flowering with several blooms per stem. As cut flowers they cannot compete with the hybrid teas, but for sheer colour they are hard to beat. Again there are hundreds of varieties to choose from with almost every colour imaginable. Both floribundas and hybrid teas are now budded onto upright single stem stocks to produce Standards in a wide range of colours and form.

Climbers and Ramblers

Both climbers and ramblers are not true vines such as ivy or clematis, as they lack the ability to cling to supports on their own and need to be tied or trained to to cover walls or structures such as arches etc. Many old shrub roses and modern bush roses have climbing forms, whereby the canes of the plant grow much longer and more flexible than the normal bush forms. Most modern climbing roses will grow anywhere from 3m to 6m and most are repeat flowering. Rambling roses are distinguished from climbers in two ways. They have longer and more flexible canes and can reach up 10m or more.

The majority of ramblers are a once blooming habit in spring or early summer. They produce a wonderful show in early summer but the show is usually over in about a month. Over the last few years growers have introduced ramblers that repeat flower all summer and always seem to be in bloom. The flowers on ramblers are usually smaller than most climbing roses, and the repeat flowering varieties do not seem to reach the great heights of Kiftsgate or Paul's Himalayan Musk etc. However the new rose breeding programmes are now moving on at such a rate, it will not be many years before there will be repeat flowering ramblers with larger flowers that reach new heights.


Paul's Himalayan Musk



Other types of roses

Miniature roses can be traced back to the small China rose, R. Chinensis 'Minima', particularly the form 'Rouletti'. It is only recently that miniatures have become very popular as new colours and styles have been produced by crossing the old forms with some of the smaller floribundas.
Not all the miniatures are small bushes. They may have small flowers but many of them can now reach 60cm or more. Some forms are budded into vigorous rootstock to produce "patio roses". Others are budded onto tall stems to produce miniature standards and weeping standards.

Ground Cover roses

Ground Cover roses are becoming increasing popular and were produced from a wide range of breeding stock. They are great value roses in the garden as they are capable of covering a wide area and many have similar flowers and foliage to the miniature roses. The recent 'Flower Carpet' range are particularly useful with a wide spectrum of colours and reported to be completely disease resistant.

Next: Mixing old with new

New Roses


Rose Care


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