Friday, February 29, 2008
The Tea Roses
Yesterday I checked the backyard rose bushes, which are leafing out nicely and promise to be full of blooms before too long. I still don't know if I should have left those rose hips on the bushes from last year, but I read somewhere that the birds enjoy munching on them in winter, so on they stayed. Today, however, I'm enjoying some Rose Hips Tea from the fine folks at Upton Tea, largely because I'm hoping the Vitamin C-packed brew will help me ward off the flu bug that seems to have bitten so many around me.
To learn a little more about the roses I so love, I've been reading "The English Roses" by David Austin. It's just a gorgeous, gorgeous book, but despite the fact its author is one of the preeminent rosarians in the world, the information is quite clear and easy to understand. For instance, I wanted to know why tea roses are called tea roses, and how they are distinct from other roses. Here's what Austin has to say:
"While the Hybrid Perpetuals were in vogue in late Victorian times, another group of roses appeared alongside them. These were the Tea Roses, which hold a position somewhere between the Old and the Modern Roses. They were a development of the China Roses, some of which have in their make-up an element of Rosa gigantea, which is a very large-flowered species with long, pointed buds. These qualities were passed on to the Tea Roses, which have a delicate beauty, often with the Hybrid Tea type of bud and soft colours and slender, twiggy growth. They also have what is known as a 'tea' scent, similar to the aroma from a newly opened packet of China tea." A tea rose is depicted on this tea mug, and when I start searching for new roses to plant this spring, I'll be sure to see if they smell like "a newly opened packet of China tea."