The birth of the ubiquitous Hybrid Tea rose occurred around the mid 1880’s and eventuated from some fairly random crosses between Hybrid Perpetual and Tea Roses. The resulting off-spring were not called Hybrid Teas but classified according to the dominant pollen parent. It wasn’t until 1884 that Hybrid Tea Roses were listed (in a catalogue put out by Dickson’s of Northern Ireland) as a distinct group. Many years later in 1898 the National Rose Society finally accepted these “new” roses as a separate class. In modern times Hybrid Teas have been re-classified officially as “Large Flowered Roses”. However in all my many years of working in horticulture I have never heard them referred to as such and it seems the term Hybrid Tea is here to stay.
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La France, a beautiful pink rose bred in 1867 by French nurseryman Jean Baptiste Guillot is acknowledged as the first official Hybrid Tea. Henry Bennett from the UK, to whom the term Hybrid Tea is attributed without any sense of pride or prejudice, was also an important early breeder of Hybrid Tea roses. Henry’s lovely rose, Lady Mary Fitzwilliam (1882) figured in the parentage of many future cultivars. Another rose to command early attention was Mme Caroline Testout (1890) named after the Parisian dress designer. Madame promoted this bright pink rose in her salon which, “voila” led to its instant success. Modern Hybrid Tea roses, of which there are literally thousands of cultivars, have quite a mixed pedigree but are characterized by their sturdy long stems, pointed buds and large elegant flowers that open out to display a symmetrical spiral of petals, usually of good substance. Naturally Hybrid Teas repeat well and are often fragrant with glossy leathery foliage. Here at Wairere we love the sweet simplicity of Dainty Bess, EllenWilmott and Mrs Oakley Fisher, 3 desirable single roses bred in the 1920-30’s. Big Purple, Double Delight, Elina, First Love, Ingrid Bergman, Loving Memory, Pascali, Remember Me and Tequila Sunrise are all fine examples of quality Hybrid Tea roses and of course no list would be complete without the much loved Peace rose which has been an enduring favourite since 1945. Click here to check out our full list of Hybrid Tea roses.