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rec.gardens.roses FAQ (5/6) Modern Roses

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Modern Roses
rec.gardens.roses FAQ, part 5/6

Written by Jolene Adams,, Editor: The Criterion
(Bulletin, Northern California-Nevada-Hawaii District of the American Rose

See part 1 of the FAQ for more information about this document. The latest
version of this document and the entire Rose FAQ are located on the Internet
at "" .

Table of Contents

   * Introduction to Modern Roses
   * How We Got Where We Are
   * Hybrid Teas
   * Floribundas
   * Grandifloras
   * Current Questions/Activities in Modern Roses
   * Organizations
   * Publications


Introduction to Modern Roses

Hybrid Teas, Floribundas and Grandifloras are the common roses of the 20th
century. Their forebears--the Old Roses-- have been ardently covered in the
FAQ for Old Roses written by Brent Dickerson. He explains how the Hybrid
Perpetuals became the direct antecedents of our Modern Roses. They were the
results of crosses of the European Roses and the Chinas, Teas, European and
Meditteranean types, and various species roses during the 1700's and 1800's.
The interest of the breeders and the general public was for roses that
bloomed recurrently (again and again during the season) and were hardy
enough to withstand winters in Southern and Middle Europe (and England).
They were usually white, pink, red, buff, purple, spotted, striped or blends
of two colors.

Hybrid Teas are the roses we usually see at the Florist Shop. They are the
classic image of the rose. The large blooms (up to 6" across!) are produced
all season long, usually one bloom per stem on stems long enough for
cutting. They usually last awhile when cut for the house, and can be
conditioned to last for an entire weekend of adverse conditions at a rose
show. The bloom elegantly unfolds, having a pointed center, with the petals
spiralling out in layers as the bud opens. The bloom is at its "artistic
best" when it is 1/2 to 3/4 open, with the tight center still closed, the
petals furling out and the bloom looking dewy fresh and full of life. Colors
are whites, pinks, reds, yellows, oranges, russets, mauves, all shades that
blend into each other, bicolors with one color on the inside and one color
on the outside of the petal, striped, some can be spotted or freckled, and
one color "splashed" with another on the edges of the petal. Hybrid Teas
began appearing in the late 1860's and "took over" as the rose to have in
the garden.

Floribundas are a hardy, bushier rose, with smaller blooms that usually come
in clusters. The blooms can be shaped like the Hybrid Tea or like the Old
Roses -- high centered, dished, or cupped, sometimes like a pompon. There
are some Floribundas that yield one bloom per stem but generally they form
clusters of florets, making them ideal for landscape use. They also come in
the larger color range of the Hybrid Teas. The breeding of Floribundas began
in the 1920's with crosses of Hybrid Teas and Polyanthas, a smallish,
cluster-flowered rose with wiry stems. 'Mlle. Cecile Brunner' is an example
of a Polyantha, as is 'Margo Koster'. Grandifloras are the result of crosses
between Hybrid Teas and Floribundas. The plant breeders were seeking larger
blooms on a bush that would yield both one bloom per stem and also set
clusters of florets on long stems for cutting. Grandifloras inherited the
best traits of their parents. They got form and stem length from the Hybrid
Teas, and large, vigorous, repetitive blooms from the Floribundas.

How We Got Where We Are

The early crosses between Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals, Chinas and Bourbons,
Gallicas and Albas brought us the culmination in the 1840's of the
hybridizing efforts of the Victorian plant breeders--the Hybrid Perpetuals,
the darlings of the Victorian garden. These crosses combined the balance,
elegance and perpetual flowering characteristics of the tender Teas and
Chinas with the robustness and profuse flowering characteristics of the
European roses, themselves products of crosses between Portlands, Chinas,
Damasks, Gallicas and Bourbons.

Intense competitions sprang up between various rose breeders and garden
factions and the idea of rose shows and exhibiting one rose against another
took hold. Regulatory bodies were formed to set forth form and procedure for
these competitions, and a "competition standard" for each type of rose was
soon forthcoming.

Breeding experiments continued in the search for a hardier repeat-blooming
rose and the search for an intense yellow color in the large-flowered roses.
Alas for the Modern Roses--although many admirable characteristics can be
found in the genes passed on by the older roses, various weaknesses and
susceptibilities were also bred into the new roses. Some traits predominate,
some are masked. If you look at a modern rosebush today, you will see traces
of its ancestry in the way the leaflets set on the stem, the curve and color
of the prickles, leaf color and shape, the habit of growth (tall and lanky
like some of the Damasks, squat and very shrubby like the Rugosas), even the
"signature" of its fragrance--lemony, citrine, "old rose" and damp tea. As
with all hybrids, some are extremely tough and enduring, some are fragile
and weak. They grow, they bloom, they make us happy.

We don't apologize for the way Modern Roses have turned out--they are
children of the attempts of humans to bend nature to their own will. Roses
are lovely - old ones, new ones, "throwbacks," and foundlings. They all
deserve a chance to show us their own special beauty. We submit the
following notes as a starting point for those interested in the Modern
Roses. We also hope that those interested will check out the books listed at
the end of this FAQ for more detail on the subject.

Hybrid Teas

Breeders during the last third of the 19th century were all trying to bring
a "different" rose to the buying public. One that was shaplier, had a
different color or shading, had a better garden habit, could win those rose
competitions and bring fame to their ventures.

Hybridizers of the day crossed all kinds of roses with the reigning Hybrid
Perpetuals, looking for that elusive "something" to gain the advantage. They
didn't keep very accurate breeding records (some still don't) so often
parentage of the earliest Modern Roses is in doubt. There were many
interesting roses developed in this way, all considered at the time to be
just another Hybrid Perpetual or Hybrid Bourbon. But slowly a number of
characteristics were being pulled together into a fairly recognizable "look"
for these new roses--soon to be given the name of Hybrid Tea.

The "first" Hybrid Tea is generally said to be 'La France', raised by
Giullot in 1867. It was an accidental discovery in the field by a man who
was trying his best to develop a bright yellow large-flowered rose. It had
long, pointed buds, silvery-pink blooms with a bright pink on the outer side
of it's 60 petals, was quite fragrant, and the bloom was large for the
time--almost 5 inches across when fully open. Not very spectacular today,
but a knockout in its day. The high, pointed bud and the slow unfurling of
the spiraled petals was a presage of things to come.

Hybrid Tea roses gained popularity because of their dramatic look: a long
stem for easy viewing and cutting, the prominent pointed center of the
unfurling bud, a smaller bush and the repeat blooming characteristics
desired by the average gardener. Even small city gardens could have a few
Hybrid Tea bushes.

Early Hybrid Teas: 'Captain Christy', 'Jean Sisley', 'Duke of Connaught',
'Grand-Duc Adolphe de Luxembourg', 'Viscountess Folkestone', 'Mme. Caroline
Testout', 'Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria', 'Antoine Rivoire', 'Viscountess


These roses, descended from Polyantha and Hybrid Tea crosses were first
developed in Holland by the Poulsen family in 1911. The name means
'flowering in abundance' and true to their name, the Floribundas are
cluster-bloomers rather than one-bloom-per-stem like their Hybrid Tea

They bloom throughout the season, with heavy sprays of richly colored
blooms. The blooms may be high-centered like a Hybrid Tea or cupped, dished,
or pompom-shaped. The bush is usually shorter and sturdier than the Hybrid
Tea (exceptions exist!).

These roses are considered excellent for massed color effects and are often
referred to as "landscape" roses. They are often used for living hedges,
borders, foundation covers, and to create mounds of color in the garden.

They tend to re-bloom faster than the average Hybrid Tea, are somewhat
hardier, and put up with a lot of neglect.

Floribundas: 'Charisma', 'Europeana', 'Margaret Merrill', 'Sue Lawley',
'Priscilla Burton', 'Intrigue', 'Brass Band', 'Sun Flare'.


The Grandiflora is a "manufactured" class--the class was invented for the
rose 'Queen Elizabeth', introduced in 1954 by Germain's Nursery in the USA.
This rose was a cross of 'Charlotte Armstrong', a Hybrid Tea, and
'Floradora', a Floribunda. This rose is representative of the attempts at
that time to produce a "different" rose (a mere 100 years after the first
Hybrid Tea appeared) that would have the characteristic long stems, large
beautiful blooms and pointed buds of the Hybrid Teas with the hardiness and
flower clusters of the shrubbier Floribundas.

Grandifloras have a tendency to grow quite tall and produce full, large
flowers. They come one to a stem as well as in clusters. The gangly growth
habit is remniscent of their Tea heritage. The individual florets are larger
than the standrad for Floribundas yet not usually as large as the huge
blooms of the Hybrid Teas.

The United States recognizes this type of rose as a separate class in rose
competitions while the International rose community lumps them in with the
Hybrid Teas and often refer to the whole bunch of them as 'large-flowered
modern roses'.

Grandifloras: 'Shining Hour', 'Queen Elizabeth', 'Sundowner', 'Prima Donna',
'John S. Armstrong', 'Lady Luck', 'Tournament of Roses', 'Gold Medal',
'Camelot', 'Ole', 'Sonia', 'Love'.


Before the Modern Roses, yellow was only known in some of the old species
roses and a dull, muted tone was showing up in some of the Tea/China
crosses.. Pernet-Ducher and others worked at crossing 'R. foetida persiana'
('Persian Yellow'} with Hybrid Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals and eventually
they achieved true yellow roses. They also passed on R. foetida's
susceptibility to blackspot. Since they were growing these roses in France
where (at the time) blackspot was largely unknown, they were unaware of the
problem. We are very aware of it these days, both in our Modern Roses and in
many of the Old Roses. After all, that's where Modern Roses came from!

Current Questions/Activities in Modern Roses

Hardiness - R. wichuraiana crosses were made to introduce hardiness into the
modern roses like Hybrid Teas. The first attempts were made by the Brownells
of Rhode Island. Further work has been done by Kordes and Tantau in Germany.
Buck (Central U.S.A.) has made progress, as has the Morden program (Canada).

Colors - Truly, roses are still evolving. The hand of man is pushing this
lovely flower in ever-stranger permutations. After all, now we are pursuing
the "true blue" rose!! Manipulation of the genes for color is being
attempted, with some progress along the front of isolating the blue color
from some species and introducing it into others. Only time will tell.

The Black Rose, on the other hand, may always remain an enigma. How many
flowers do we have in Nature that are truly Black? We call deep red, deep
chocolate, deep purple and deep violet tones 'black'. So far, the only Black
Rose has been the product of chemical manipulation (dyes) and fervent
imagination -- but, who knows? This barrier may also crumble before the need
for an "unusual" rose!


American Rose Society
P.O. Box 30,000
Shreveport, LA 71130

Canadian Rose Society
Mrs. Anne Graber, Secr.
10 Fairfax Cr.
Scarborough, Ont M1L 1Z8

The Royal National Rose Society
Chiswell Green
St. Albans, Herts. AL2 3NR

La Societe Francaise des Roses
Parc de la Tete d'Or
69459 Lyon

Verein Deutscher Rosenfreunde
Mainaustrasse 198A
775A Konstanz


"The American Rose Magazine"
The American Rose Society
P.O. Box 30,000
Shreveport, LA 71130-0300

"Roses", by Peter Beales. Harvill, 1992.

end of Modern Roses
rec.gardens.roses FAQ, part 5/6


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