Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hybrid Teas are not all alike OR all bad.

Now, before anyone slugs me, let me just say, "I'm joking!!" I only have a couple of Hybrid Teas in my garden. One is a baby (too early to make judgments), and the other, 'Madame Abel Chatenay', I absolutely love. The reason I chose her is that she's an early HT from about 1894. She's not a widely grown rose, so I thought I'd put the spotlight on a season in her life.

According to accepted rose classification standards, the 'modern era of roses' began in 1867 (and, of course, you can probably guess that there are debates about that year) with the hybridization of 'La France'. Hybrid Teas began as crosses of Hybrid Perpetuals and Teas, and similar to people, some offspring look like one side of the family, and some look like the other. 'Madame Abel Chatenay' resembles her Tea parent in that she is twiggy, fairly round in shape and not so tall with elegant, scrolled Tea-like flowers. (For a picture of what I just said, click here to see Vintage Garden's very helpful - and treasured - website.) For my small garden MAC's size and growth habit makes her perfect. She fits in just right with the cottage-y companion plants (by Florida's definition of 'cottage-y' anyway) that I have chosen, and since I placed her close to the street, planning for the roses to be taller toward the house, being shorter is exactly my hope come true. Sometimes my planning does work out well.
Mme Chatenay's only peculiarity is that she pretty much defoliates in the winter like a deciduous tree. I've learned that it doesn't harm her in any way, but it was a little distressing at first. Here she is on November 14, 2009, 14 months in the ground, about 3' tall and quite spindly. 
 In early March, 2010 I pruned her. I don't know who was more scared, her or me, since she was my first or second pruning ever. The red flowers are an azalea.
 On April 25 she's leafed out and full of buds.
 And the first open flower.
 Her buds are quite large and rounded not pointed like a tea rose.
 Two bush shots from opposite sides on May 2nd.

On May 17th she's about 3' tall, and her spring flush is done.
On June 3rd about six and a half weeks after her first bloom she's full of buds again. I promise she was never without flowers for the rest of the season.
June 7th - Her canes are long, thin and a little zigzaggy. They tend to flop and lay down under the burden of her large, heavy blooms so I propped her up. Interestingly, even though she is in full sun all day on the south side (and our sun is quite high in the sky) she not only leans south, she grows south. She has a tall cluster of canes in what should be her middle, and every other cane grows on her south side.
Some of these photos make her flowers look very pink, but they actually have a light coral cast to them.
I can honestly say that I don't remember her fragrance, probably simply a clean, fresh scent. I am so gaga over her flowers that I rarely think about fragrance.

 The next two shots are from the end of July, and may I point out how disease free she is?

Her only foliage issue isn't her fault. The soil she's in is alkaline, and it shows on her leaves, but she's a trooper.
This photo was taken on December 19th, and the liriope and the grass in the distance testify that we've had two or three hard freezes already, but you can see in the bottom of the shot that she was still blooming until the end.
I don't spray any of my roses, and 'Madame Abel Chatenay' stays cleaner than even some teas. May I add, though, that Connie of Hartwood Roses in Virginia grows her, and there she needs fungicide (the rose not Connie).

 This is definitely a lovely rose for Florida and worth experimenting with anywhere.


  1. The older HTs that lean more towards their Tea ancestry are often better plants than the ones that show more Pernetiana influence or, god forbid, Hybrid Perpetual traits. Curiously, my two best "modern" HTs are 'Tiffany' and 'Roundelay', which are both nearly bulletproof and can be grown without chemicals. Oh, I should add Savoy Hotel to that list as well. It is not only a shapely plant, well branched and rounded in profile, but is pretty much disease free in my climate. (no small feat, I assure you)
    Sherry, if you don't already grow it, I'd like to send you a start of my home grown Won Fang Yon to try. It is heavily influenced by it's Tea pedigree and is apparently a total winner in clImates like yours. (according to reports I have received) let me know if you have room for one more ;-)

  2. Hmmm, makes me want to give one a try. Do you spray her?

  3. No, Meghan, I don't spray. That's what is so amazing about this rose.

  4. I just noticed you mentioned that at the end of the post. lol That is surprising to hear though! Good to know there are hybrid teas out there that can get away without spraying them.

  5. Lovely Sherry! Mme. Abel is a great one. I'm happy to learn she's as clean for you in the humidity as she is here in SoCal. Lovely! Kim