Let’s Face It
We may as well face it, almost a century has passed since we dipped into Rosa X odorata (tea) blood and the modern rose passed into a new phase. The genes have been wound so many different ways from an ever increasing number of species roses. (Should you call me a hybrid Irishman” just because a remote ancestor named Dennis” came to America some 200 years ago, and his offspring intermarried into French, English, German and Welsh families?)
Where do the modern large flowered bush garden roses get their robust stems? Not from tea! Where do the sturdy big flowers come from? Not from tea! From whence do they get some cold resistance? Not from tea!
If we must single out some ancestor common observation would move us to use the name “hybrid gallica.” But this leaves us with the current problems. For in addition to gallica the modern roses have a fair representation of seven other major species roses in their genetic makeup.
It’s Gone- Let It Die In Peace
Actually the name hybrid tea well served its purpose some 150 years ago when it told the world that a new species was being dipped into and new emphasis was to be placed on “ever-blooming.” (Due credit for everblooming should be accorded Rosa chinensis – all too often we give it all to Rosa X odorata, the tea rose.)
Some of us now want to dip into Rosaecae to secure really good sunfast hardy yellow roses. If we are successful in this shall we immediately begin to call our roses “hybridecae”?
For goodness sake, I hope not! I feel sorry for the families which set a plate at the table for the dead family member. We should honor the dead but the dead ought not to dictate to the living, for the dead change not and life is a constant change.
Turning to my visitor I said, “l would just call it a large-flowered everblooming rose.” He perfectly understood these words. So d0 I. Do you?
Other Problems Arising
I have seen a few roses grown singly on two or two and a half foot stems which would rival any hybrid tea for form and beauty. Yet these may not enter in rose competition for the really top awards, for those awards are granted only to hybrid tea classification!
Thus by a “name” we rule certain roses out of top competition. Why should we single out this or that great knockout rose and say, no, it may not compete for we choose to call certain other roses hybrid tea although like the old hybrid ‘Peace’ they get their color from Rosa foetida, their stem from R. gallica, their plant from gallica chinensis tea?
You may object, “Well why worry, these are only exceptional cases.” Let me point out that as you begin to enter the desert, water holes may still be plentiful but this does not mean it is safe to ignore providing for conditions that are immediately ahead and are even now causing difficulty.
What roses and plants covering the landscape will be sold six years from today? The plants are now in nursery seedling flats today. Check them, brother, check them.
They are getting better and better and we have bred almost all the tea right out of them to make room for better genes. Sure, we will hang on to the wide color range of tea and it will reinforce the repeat blooming and perhaps help with health but from hereon in tea is only another brick in the new rose building.
To be very candid, let us all admit that the only current value of the name hybrid tea is that somehow the public associates a “monthly” rose with the name hybrid tea.