Returning to the start of fragrant Hybrid Teas...

We’ve achieved alot since 1900. We got the yellow pigmentation in, repeat flowering, several degrees of thorns, cold hardiness, etc. Stuff that breeders back then were looking for.

And then I got to thinking. Other then David Austin, Ralph Moore and Paul, we aren’t using any of the older roses that are still very good except that they have different flower forms.

It will be intresting to add Lady Mary Fitzwilliam and Madame Caroline Testout back to use. They have very good health, the plants are very long lived. And the older stud hybrid teas seem to offer good qualities aswell, such as Ophelia.

I for one have made a few crosses with Tuscany, Suaveolens, Kazanlik… and if it weren’t for my never ending losing battle to slugs, those seedlings would had turned out really healthy.

It would be quite intresting to cross a dark deeply fragrant hybrid tea, say Mr. Lincoln, with Lady Mary Fitzwilliam. After all… Harry Wheatcraft did say that William Kordes told him that the scent of Crimson Glory came from LMF… which in turn gave us Mr. Lincoln.

Or think of the possibility of crossing Fragrant Cloud with LMF. Or even the more disease resistant but fragrant hybrid teas such as Secret, Friendship or The McCartney Rose.

If I had Ophelia, I would very much so like to cross it with Secret. Secret has amazing disease resistance for a Hybrid Tea and Ophelia had many good qualities that breeder flocked to.

Perhaps I may look into buying either one of those roses and sacrafice one or two of my hard to use roses such as Betty Prior.

But that is too hard for me… Betty Prior is easily my most favorite rose to see blooming in spring, and even if it is very much sterile (I only got one openly pollinated hip this fall, nothing before), it is still a difficult descision.

I guess in the future when I can buy my own house with a big piece of land will I afford such luxuries.

Well Enrique,

If the “Lady Mary Fitzwilliam” I grow is the correct one, which I believe is possible (Beales trough Schultheis), it is completely scentless.

This trait dates back to the first scentless Hybrid Perpetual, Baroness Rotschild (tough LMF does not descend directly from the Baroness, so this trait may be latent in all HPs from the “La Reine” lineage), and was soon apreciated because it gave longer-lasting cut flowers.

As far as Bennett’s ancient Hybrid Teas are concerned, I’d prefer Grace Darling. But there are two other points that need to be considered:

-These first HT’s aren’t vigourous nor easy to grow;

-They are…triploid!

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

Dear Enrique,

Have you tried diatomaceous earth? (The white powdery stuff available at swimming pool supply stores?) The diatoms are skeletons of tiny marine animals and are razor-blade sharp to the bodies of slugs, snails and other tiny creatures. Just sprinkle it around your roses (and even on the leaves too) and your slugs will die off for a good while. Naturally their eggs will hatch and more will come, but DE is inexpensive and can be reapplied. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation would avoid washing away the DE. Don’t breathe the dust when sprinkling it, but otherwise it is safe for humans. Just a thought.


Enrique–Because I’m a collector of old and rare Hybrid Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals, much of my hybridizing involves older roses that I still find worthy. Out of my early crosses I have several offspring that I use a lot (Ophelia crossed with Ulrich Brunner fils, Gold Medal crossed with Duke of Wellington, Dolly Parton crossed with Prince Camille de Rohan, Crimson Glory crossed with Urdh, Queen Elizabeth crossed with Captain Hayward, etc.). I’ve never noticed any real benefits in terms of fragrance as I breed these back into modern roses, however. Mostly, they give me different forms of flowers, which is something I’m interested in (I find, for example, the variations in the flowers of the Brownell roses spectacular). I certainly agree with you that there’s tons of good stuff back there to mix in, though even as a supporter of early Hybrid Teas I have to admit that a lot of them are very hard to grow compared to modern Hybrid Teas. I actually grow LMF and LCT but have never used them. Also, after using Ophelia a lot with modern HTs, I didn’t get anything other than the HP cross above that I’ve kept. Ophelia is a stunning rose in bloom, though, so maybe I’m missing something (or maybe not, since its never been to quick to put out new canes in my garden and certainly isn’t in the same league growth-wise with modern roses, at least not in my climate here near Atlanta). Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

Thank you everyone for your info…

Humm… Lady Mary Fitzwilliam In “In Praise of Roses”, Wheatcroft praised the fragrance of LMF. And I recall this being fragrant, but the last time I saw this rose was perhaps 3 years ago.

I guess it may be the variation of our noses. I know that I for one can’t smell certain fragrances such as Double Delight or Sunsprite, which have been touted one of the most fragrant of roses.

I will certainly look into using Ophelia or one of her sports with other fragrant roses such as Secret.

Thanks all…

I don’t usually get much frgrance from LMF but strangely enough I did get some fragrance from the Fall flush this season.

I’ve been experimenting a bit with Ophelia’s purported parent, ‘Antoine Rivoire’. I wanted an evergreen archetypal HT seed parent for use with my banksia hybrid. So far so good in the first generation.

Rennaisance has done really well for me as a garden plant. It is highly fragrant and looks similar to Ophelia. Im sure it sets seeds readily but I havent tried. Look up the parentage if youre into oddity factors. This rose is larger than any of its parents/grandparents. The only downside is that that blossoms dislike intense heat.