The Garden (London) 51: 255 (April 10, 1897)
THE HYBRID TEA ROSES
If it is necessary to arrange Roses in classes or sections, then it has assuredly become necessary to have a class for this rapidly rising type. Hybrid Teas are the result of crossing a pure Tea-scented or Noisette variety with one of the Hybrid Perpetuals. The late Mr. Henry Bennett's name will always be associated with this class, for, although we had several undoubted hybrids between Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals previous to his introduction of "pedigree" Roses in 1878, it is to his untiring efforts that we became aware of the practical benefits derived from persistent and methodical hybridising of this popular flower. The hybrids of Noisettes approach some of the Hybrid Teas very closely, but are none the less equally distinct from them, as the H. Teas are from other classes. The correct classification of many Roses has become a difficult matter, and promises to be more so as time goes on. Even now the dividing line is very faint in the case of H. Perpetuals, H. Teas, H. Noisettes, and the true Teas and Noisettes. In each of these classes we can find Roses of widely different characteristics.
When Mr. G. Paul's useful climber Cheshunt Hybrid was introduced, and also the oldest of recognised Hybrid Teas, La France, they were relegated to the H. Perpetual class so far as exhibition was concerned. I well remember once staging Cheshunt Hybrid among a box of Teas and Noisettes at Croydon, but the flower was removed at the last moment in deference to the wishes of one of our oldest rosarians; not because he disputed its being a Tea, but on account of its colour when contrasted with the charmingly soft tints of our Teas and Noisettes. Mme. Lambard and other dark Teas were not introduced then. Upon another occasion, when Grace Darling was being staged at Reigate, there was a strong feeling that it had no right among the Teas, and should, like La France, Captain Christy and Lady Mary Fitzwilliam, be placed among the Hybrid Perpetuals. Later on we were given Gustave Regis, Lady Henry Grosvenor, Augustine Guinoisseau (a sport from LaFrance), Viscountess Folkestone and Kaiserin Augusta Victoria, as well as the "pedigree" Roses from Mr. Bennett. It was then decided by the National Rose Society's catalogue committee that a separate class be formed. This met with considerable opposition, and the hint then thrown out by more than one member, that we were over-classifying the Rose, seems coming more true every season. We cannot even class our Roses as summer and perpetual bloomers unless we form these two sections only. Many of the so-called Hybrid Perpetuals are no more perpetual in blooming than some now classed among those reputed to flower once in the summer only. When it was decided to make the Hybrid Tea class, we were somewhat puzzled about La France. The raiser even was not aware of its origin, so how could others declare it to be a Hybrid Tea? Captain Christy we have given by M. Lacharme, the raiser, as being a cross between Victor Verdier and Safrano, undoubtedly a Hybrid Tea, as that term is understood by rosarians. Still, we had these two, Lady Mary Fitzwilliam, Viscountess Folkestone, Grace Darling, Caroline Testout, K. Augusta Victoria and others among the mixed classes.
Until 1893, the National Rose Society occasionally had classes for Hybrid Perpetuals only; also for Teas and Noisettes. Seeing the two last classes were amalgamated, it might seem best to do the same with the Hybrid Perpetuals and Hybrid Teas, but the majority of the committee thought otherwise. Then trouble began. There was strong opposition against the removal of La France from a class where it had been recognised for a quarter of a century, and again with Captain Christy, which had been classed with the Hybrid Perpetuals without hesitation, and occupied that position for exactly twenty years. Gloire Lyonnaise was another difficult Rose to place, notwithstanding M. Guillot stated it to be a cross between Baroness Rothschild and Mme. Falcot, although the progeny of the first and second crossings had to be crossed again before securing this "yellow Hybrid Perpetual," as it was then called. There is a wide margin between Reine Olga de Wurtemberg and Souvenir de Wootton when contrasted with Gustave Regis and Mme. Pernet Ducher, the two first favouring the H. Perpetual parents and the last keeping very closely to their Tea-scented relationship. Many of our best Hybrid Teas have been secured by crossing the Teas with Victor Verdier, a Hybrid Perpetual that would seem almost entitled to a place among the H. Teas, equally with La France. The chief points in favour of this class are their more continuous blooming; indeed, such as Mrs W. J. Grant, Marjorie, Camoens, Caroline Testout, Grace Darling, and Marquise de Salisbury will bear favourable comparison with any of the Teas and Noisettes, and their less susceptibility to red rust, that very disfiguring and crippling disease so prevalent among the Hybrid Perpetuals. We do not find red rust among any of the true Teas, Noisettes, or Chinas, and some of the H. Teas, notably Gustave Regis and Mme. Pernet Ducher, with others closely approaching the Tea class, are equally free from it. If we can secure greater freedom of bloom, with exemption from red rust, the Hybrid Teas will soon become even more valuable than they are at present. For a new class they are advancing very rapidly, both in numbers and quality, while we already have them among our best pot Roses, also for exhibition, garden decoration, and as climbers both under glass and in the open.