Great Rose Reads:  Winter Book Review

by Lisa Mundy

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!

In Search of Marechal Niel:
New Own Root Rose Nursery Delivers the Goods!

by Lisa Mundy

I suppose you could call me an impatient gardener.  When I plant a rose, I want to see flowers and I want them STAT!  Remove all buds for the first year?  Sorry, I just can't do it, which is why I've always ordered grafted roses instead of own-root.  The grafted plants are large when they arrive at my doorstep and they establish quickly, leaving puny, own-root seedlings in the dust.  At least that's what I used to think.  In addition to being impatient with my roses, I am also demanding.  I not only want blooms, I want fat, gorgeous, fragrant, take your breath away blooms. To that end, I have been searching for a good supplier of the famous noisette rose Marechal Niel for as long as I can remember.  Marechal Niel is a repeat blooming, strongly fragrant, deep yellow climber with very large, very double, globular blooms that nod on dainty stems.  Bred in France by Henri and Giraud Pradel, the rose was introduced in 1864 and named after a French general, Napoleon III's Minister of War.  Paul Barden described Marechal Niel as being "one of the first truly deep yellow repeat blooming.... and much adored as such."  The image below is a photograpgh of the 1919 painting by Massachusetts born artist Childe Hassam, entitled "Marechal Niel Roses", owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D. C. I have loved this rose from afar for many years, but it wasn't until this Fall that I had any hope of ever acquiring her.  That was when I discovered a new own-root rose nursery called A Reverence For Roses.

Based in Florida and owned by husband and wife team Don and Jan Rogers, A Reverence For Roses is committed to preserving and distributing these historically significant beauties so that future generations will be able to enjoy them.  Among their offerings are many rare varieties not sold anywhere else, along with many desirable modern varieties. A quick internet search produced excellent reviews, and when I sent an email asking for advice, Don and Jan were quick to reply with thoughtful recommendations.  I decided to give them a try.  Online ordering was easy, and my roses were shipped via USPS 2-day priority mail.  The plants arrived perfectly packed, and they were the biggest, healthiest own-root plants I have ever seen.

Now that Rose Rosette is in our midst, many rose lovers think twice about purchasing plants grafted to Rosa multiflora rootstock.  If you are considering own-root plants but don't want to sacrifice vigor at the outset, give A Reverence For Roses a try.  I think you'll be glad you did.

Plants that Perform:
Florabunda Rose "Roseraie de Chatelet" is a bloom machine in DC's 100+ degree heat!

by Lisa Mundy

Every now and then, if you're lucky, you come across a rose that surpasses your expectations. Roseraie de Chatelet is one of those roses.  Named after a famous rose garden in eastern France, near the borders of Germany and Switzerland, this little known gem is a floribunda bred by Bernard Sauvegot in 2000. It is an award-winner in Europe, having taken home a Silver Medal at Baden Baden in 1999.  However, it is still a rarity in American gardens. What a pity. I took a chance on this rose a couple of seasons ago, buying it as a bare root from Palatine. This year she has rewarded me greatly, producing gorgeous blooms and pristine foliage during the blistering 100+ degree heat of Summer in my no-spray garden. She did all of this with only a handful of Rosetone at the beginning of the season, no mulch, and no supplemental water.  Her companions were self-sown Nigella 'Love-in-a-Mist' seedlings, their feathery foliage visible in the photo below of her first bloom of this season, taken on April 27, 2017:

The lady has been producing her mildly fragrant blooms continuously since April.  What more could a rose lover ask for?


Top photo of Mister Lincoln rose by Rich Baer