7 Must Have Old Garden Tea Roses

 OGR Tea Roses are little know and scarce to find. You will never locate them in a big box store or your local nurseries. Most people have never heard of them. Growing up in the South these roses were very common, but they were passed on by cuttings. When a girl got married she received a cutting from her Mothers tea roses and so on. 
Of all the Heirloom (Old Garden Roses) roses, the profuse, graceful scented Tea roses are among my favorites.  Tea roses are not as hardly as their subsequent offspring the Hybrid Tea, (do not like cold weather) but they have plenty of other generous attributes to recommend them.
  • First off, they are wonderfully scented. I could spend a whole afternoon in the rose garden.. 
  • Another plus is, they grow fairly fast.
  • They are large, and fully loaded with bloom in the spring.
  • They complement companion plants.

I don’t think a Cottage Garden could be complete without one or two   The Tea roses were introduced from China in the first half of the nineteenth century. They can be slightly tender but were highly prized for their large blooms, repeat flowering and the inclusion of yellow in the color range. They are beautiful, delicate creatures.
     The early varieties were bred for the show bench but with further cross breeding they developed into the hardy garden plants that predominated in the 20th century. They come in a huge range of colors, shapes and sizes. 
 Pruning Guide: Prune when reducing main stems by half in winter/spring.

 . My personal favorites in my own Cottage Garden include the following ....

Lady Hillingdon, cl
A vigorous and hardy climbing rose, and one of the best tea roses still in existence. The blooms are made up of large petals, resulting in long, elegant, waxy buds, which open to large, loosely formed flowers of deep apricot-yellow. These hang gracefully from the branch and emit a delicious, rich tea fragrance. ‘Lady Hillingdon’ continues to flower throughout the summer with unusual regularity. It has fine contrasting dark green foliage, which is coppery mahogany when young. 15ft.



Though its parents are unknown, ‘Safrano’ is recorded by Roy Shepherd as "the result of the first successful attempt to control parentage by hand pollination", thereby introducing a new era in rose breeding. This rose has double, well scented flowers of bright fawn, with long-pointed buds. It was once described exhibiting "lovely buds of sunset coloring... saffron to apricot in the bud, changing to pale buff... A pretty and hardy variety, worthy of a place in every collection..." The new shoots of foliage are plum colored, contrasting nicely with the blossoms. 4 to 6 feet

Specimens of 'Safrano' that are at least a century old exist in cemeteries and abandoned home sites.
    Cramoisi Supérieur
This fine old rose has velvety, rich crimson flowers with a silvery reverse and a deliciously fruity fragrance. The double, cupped form of the blossoms is distinctive, keeping with the rounded shape even when fully open. Like all true Chinas, it is very nearly everblooming in a warm climate. The leaves are small, neatly shaped, dark green and very healthy. The plant has an upright habit and, if left unpruned, will slowly grow to over five feet tall and equally wide. Cramoisi Suprieur or Agrippina, as it is sometimes still called, is one of the old roses that can often be found in country gardens of Texas and the South. It is a valuable and beautiful landscape plant that provides almost continuous color.


  Général Schablikine
This lovely old Tea has very double, fragrant flowers of copper-red shaded with cherry that open from rather long buds to nearly flats. A sturdy plant with plenty of foliage, ideal in a hedge or as a specimen.
3 to 5 feet



Known as "Tradd Street Yellow" in Charleston, where it is highly admired, this rose is sure one of the all-time greats. Its flowers can be primrose yellow, magnolia white or ivory, depending on the weather. Always of large and sumptuous form, with an intense heady fragrance.

Madame Joseph Schwartz
The white color sport of Duchesse de Brabant.
Very fragrant.
4 to 6 feet
RhodologueJules Gravereaux
Medium pink, tea fragrance, great cut flower and  blooms throughout the season.  Introduced/discovered in 1908.
Cross of Marie Van Houtte x Madame Abel Chatenay.Pink blend.  Mild fragrance.  Medium, very double bloom form.  Blooms in flushes throughout the season.
 tags: roses, fragrant, cottage garden, plants, Tea rose, Old, Heirloom, Safrano, Rhodologue Jules Gravereaux, Madame Joseph Schwartz