TEA

Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Travel -

“The first tea roses were im­ported from China at the be­gin­ning of the 19th cen­tury,” says Robert. “There are a num­ber of ac­counts for how the name came about. The first was that they came from the famous Fa Tee gar­dens in China. Oth­ers said they were called tea roses be­cause the seedlings were shipped over on the old tea clip­pers. The ob­vi­ous ex­pla­na­tion is quite sim­ply that they smelled of tea and that was recog­nised very early on when they were of­ten de­scribed as ‘tea-scented roses’ rather than sim­ply ‘tea roses’.

“My ul­ti­mate au­thor­ity is The Rose Fancier’s Man­ual writ­ten by Cather­ine Gore,” says Robert. “In it she de­scribes the yellow tea rose of Guerin as ‘very agree­ably scented with the aroma of Pekoe tea’. That was writ­ten in 1838 and they only came over in around 1809. I would agree with her. To me they smell of a freshly opened packet of China tea. They have a sort of tarry smell that is com­pletely un­re­lated to the Euro­pean roses – chem­i­cally ab­so­lutely dif­fer­ent – and the smell must have evolved com­pletely dif­fer­ently.”

The tea scent is of­ten as­so­ci­ated with yellow and orange flower colour.

Rosa Gra­ham Thomas (=‘Aus­mas’)(1983) A David Austin rose with a light tea fra­grance. Medium-sized, cupped blooms of an un­usu­ally rich, pure yellow along with smooth green fo­liage. It forms a bushy, up­right and vig­or­ous shrub. 1.2m x 1.2m. AGM. RHS H6.

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