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Great Rose Reads: Winter Book Review by Lisa Mundy

23 Nov 2021 11:45 AM | Anonymous

If you've ever thought about adding Tea Roses to your garden but didn't know which varieties to try, then this is the book for you.  "Tea Roses: Old Roses for Warm Gardens" was written in 2008 by six avid rose gardeners in Western Australia, affectionately known as the "Tea Bags". Discouraged by the lack of information available about Tea Roses, they decided to write a book filled with exhaustive detail, including gorgeous color photos of each variety and useful information such as growth habit, special uses, and disease resistance.

A lengthy review of this book was published in 2008 in Pacific Horticulture Magazine, written by California rosarian William "Bill" Grant.  Grant wrote then:  "The importance of this new book cannot be emphasized enough, as it fills a gap in rose history and cultivation that has existed since the Tea Rose was first introduced into Europe from China in the 19th century.  Only one previous book, in German, by Rudolf Geschwind, has been devoted to this classic group of roses".  Grant's words remain true to this day, and "Tea Roses" remains the authoritative text on the subject.  You can find the rest of Bill Grant's review here:

The thing that I liked most about this book was that the authors did not shy away from picking and naming their favorite varieties.  They even broke it down further, naming the best varieties for container culture, thornless stems, winter blooms, hot weather blooms and cut flowers. The following varieties and their sports were named the most reliable and rewarding overall:  Anna Olivier and Lady Roberts, Comtesse de Labarthe (aka Duchesse de Brabant) and Mme Joseph Schwartz, G. Nabonnand and Peace, General Gallieni, Hugo Roller, Lady Hillingdon, Madame Antoine Mari, Madame Lambard, Maman Cochet and White Maman Cochet, Marie Van Houtte, Monsieur Tillier, Mrs. B R Cant, Mr. Dudley Cross, Papa Gontier, Papillon, Rosette Delizy, and Souvenir d'un Ami.

"Tea Roses: Old Roses for Warm Gardens" is available for preview at and for purchase at, or you can contact Botany Librarian extraordinaire Robin Everly at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Library to make arrangements to view their copy.  It makes for great reading on a cold, winter day!