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My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

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My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 6th December 2010, 23:07

I have been interested in the great mystery rose known as Hume's Blush for many years. I decided recently to compile everything I have researched about this rose into a tidy collection of notes. I converted it to a PDF file, around 500 Kb. It contains all known illustrations.

It became apparent to me early on in my research that by 1824 there was more than one rose in existence that could be the real Hume's Blush. The identity of the rose had become unclear within a decade of its release by Hume.

There are still many gaps in my research and I am sure others may be able to help. Believe it or not I have never been able to obtain a copy of Thory's description for the rose painted by Redoute, known as Rosa Indica Fragrans, which most people presume is the original Hume's Blush. I have the illustration of course, but the description is only available in the book Les Roses. Does anyone have a copy?

I pose other questions in the paper that other rose people may be able to help answer. I'm afraid I cannot publish the paper on the forum, as it contains information that was provided to me by some noted Australian rosarians. But what I can do is email copies to interested people on the understanding that they will not disseminate the information. I am not sure how to send attachments through a PM (is this possible Simon?). But if people send me their email address in a PM I will gladly send you a copy.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Ozeboy on 7th December 2010, 05:57

Ian, I would like a copy, nice to have someone doing the research for I don't seem to have time. My time is mostly spent propagating and experimenting. The Humes Blush I purchased from Misty might be correct but who knows?

You have my address.

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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 7th December 2010, 11:50

Bruce, I'll post you a copy. I have placed an order with MistyD for one of their HB's next season. There are really only two possible sources for this rose in Australia, one is the rose that the Ross family imported in the 1960s ex Beales ex Sangerhausen. The other is the rose in the MacArthur Garden at Old Parliament House, which I know nothing about. It is either the same rose or was imported much earlier.
The problem with Hume's Blush is it was referred to early on as Rosa indica odorata, Rosa indica odoratissima, and Rosa indica fragrans. The common names used were “Sweet-scented China Rose”, "Sweet-scented Indian Rose", and "Rose Bengal", not "Hume's Blush". The author C.C. Hurst (1922-1947) may have been the first to make the assumption that Redoute's & Andrew's rose was the same as HUME’S BLUSH TEA-SCENTED CHINA, 1809.
It seems important to establish the very first time the name "Hume's blush" appears in print.
I sometimes wonder if Redoute, Andrews and Watts illustrations were actually of the parent plants of Hume's Blush and not HB itself.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Balinbear on 7th December 2010, 12:41

Ian

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Does this help?
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Balinbear on 7th December 2010, 12:42

Humes Blush is in Volume 1. Click the image and the description etc comes up.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Balinbear on 7th December 2010, 12:56

Also there appears to be a copy at the National Libray and the NSW state library
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 7th December 2010, 13:10

Hi Gary,

Unfortunately that web page gives a modern description, not the original description by Thory. I will have to go back to the original book, as too many assumptions have been made over time, as seems to be the case on the website.

I'll have to track down a copy. I expect it will be in French too. Just so long as it's not a mix of French and Latin as that could be difficult to translate. Smile

Ian
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Balinbear on 7th December 2010, 18:37

Yeah I wasn't sure about when the descriptions were written, whether they were translations etc. I suppose the comment regarding availability should have given it away.

Anyway like I said there appears to be a copy at the National Library and the NSW State Library if you are going anywhere near these.

Translating the text could be a problem.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Dave on 7th December 2010, 19:33

Ian, I just checked my copy of Redoutés Roses and it has a picture and text accompanying R indica fragrans "Tea-scented China". Is that the description you want? I'll copy it if it's useful.

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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Admin on 7th December 2010, 20:15

I have the 1956, The Ariel Press' folio, 'Roses 2' but it doesn't have Rosa indica fragrans in it. It is in the first in the series; the 1954 release, 'Roses'. You can buy the original 1954 folio for $150 here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

or...

You can buy the 2nd edition Les Roses for 3500 Euros Shocked here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

or...

you can buy The Ariel Press 'Roses' which has Rosa indica fragrans in it here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

My 'Roses 2' has descriptions of each of the roses in French... I cannot see by whom they were made... but... they might be useful.

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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Admin on 7th December 2010, 20:27

If you feel very rich you can bid on Redoute's original Rosa indica fragrans print at Sotherby's : [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ... expected to fetch between 60,000 and 80,000 GBP affraid

Have you seen this from HMF's references:

Roses Or A Monograph On The Genus Rosa (Andrews)EDIT

Book (1810) Page(s) 77. Includes photo(s).

ROSA Indica odorata,
Sweet-scented Indian Rose.

CHARACTER SPECIFICUS.
Rosa germinibus globosis; pedunculis laeviter hispidis, glabris, nitidis ; saepeflorens; foliosis; oblongis, acutis, dentatis, glabris, nitidis ; caule viridi, nitido; spinis sparsis.

SPECIFIC CHARACTER.
ROSE with round seed-buds ; peduncles slightly hispid, smooth, and shining ; often flowering ; leaflets oblong, pointed, toothed, smooth, and shining; stem green and shining; thorns scattered.

THIS elegant plant was imported from the East Indies in 1809 by Sir A. Hume, Bart, and is a great acquisition to the British gardens ; being one of the ever-blooming species, with the addition of an agreeable scent, which very few China roses possess; it is nearest allied to the Rosa lndica, but still of a paler colour when in full bloom, and sometimes nearly white: yet the under side of the outer petals is strongly marked with a deep purply red, which gives it, in the bud state, an appearance of being a high-coloured rose. We believe it has not as yet ripened its seed with us, but may be increased by cuttings.
Our figure was drawn from a fine plant in the nursery of Messrs. Colville.

Volume 2 was issued in parts from 1804 to 1828. This coloured figure and description was first issued in 1810.

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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by RitaG on 7th December 2010, 20:45

Hi Ian, I guess you have probably discounted 'Agnes Smith' which by the way, I never claimed to be Hume's Blush ... it was an assumption made by others. I now wish I had brought it with me to my new garden. I say this because of sentimental reasons. My Mum's name is Agnes. Might take a trip to Rookwood and see if I can get a piece to grow here.

Good luck with your quest, someday I hope to devote my time to researching roses but for now, other priorities demand my time.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 7th December 2010, 23:25

Thanks to everyone for the helpful replies.

Dave, I'm not sure if the text accompanying the illustration in Redoute's Roses is the original by Thory, but it could give some valuable insights nevertheless. I would be very grateful for a copy thanks.

Simon, Thanks for the description from Andrews. I found a copy of the actual edition which is dated 1828. But the illustration & description probably were made much earlier. The original text says that the rose was illustrated from a plant in Colville's Nursery, but the date is not provided. Andrews says that Hume imported this plant from the East Indies. Considering that Hume had raised his Hume's Blush from seed, I am becoming more and more convinced that the illustration in Andrews is not Hume's Blush, but actually one of the parent plants that he imported. This would account for the name "Rosa indica odorata". I believe if this rose had been Hume's Blush then this name would have appeared as the common name. But it does not. So I am beginning to wonder if both Redoute's and Andrew's illustrations were of plants that Hume imported, rather than the seedling called "Hume's Blush". I know lots of rose experts will disagree, but taking the evidence as read, this is the way it seems to me. It almost seems as though Dr Hurst was responsible for making the assumption much later that the "Rosa Indica" varieties imported by Hume were "Hume's Blush". They were more likely the parent plants, which accounts for the discrepancies in both the literature and the illustrations. It is possible that the actual Hume's Blush was never illustrated, in which case we may never know what it really looked like.

Rita, I haven't discounted Agnes Smith, but I just have a feeling that it is not Hume's Blush. I have been trying to obtain material of this rose for many years. Sorry to tell you but I only learnt recently that someone removed the entire bush from the grave site a few years ago. It has been widely cultivated, although I have not seen it in any rose catalogues. If you live near Rookwood, it would be worth enquiring, as I seem to recall they have a group that looks after the roses in the cemetery there. One of the members is sure to still have it growing.




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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Dave on 8th December 2010, 07:11

Ian, my edition doesn't give much away, but it was published by Wordsworth (Press) in association with the National History Museum, London in 1990, presumably from facsimiles there. No editor or translator is acknowledged or the writer of the preface. However Thory is discussed in the preface and I presume the descriptions opposite the illustrations are by him. They sound like good translations (I teach French) and in reading some of the other descriptions, sound contemporary with the illustrations/ original publication. Here it is:

ROSA INDICA FRAGRANS (Thory var.n.)

'TEA SCENTED CHINA'
(Lit."SCENTED ROSE OF INDIA")

Stems 0.3-0.4 (0.6) m tall, with sparse, reddish, almost straight prickles. Leaflets 3-5, ovate, acute, glabrous, denticulate, underside a little purplish; petiole with small recurved prickles. Flowers 7 cm or more in diameter, inclined; pedicels slightly hispid; petals flesh-white, as if transparent, in many series, irregularly notched above; receptacles globose and sepals almost always entire, both glabrous.

This is remarkable among the many China roses by the size and transparency of the petals and the perfume, especially at the time of anthesis. Introduced from the East Indies to England in 1809, it flowered for the first time in the nursery of Colville who distributed it under the imprecise name of tea-scented rose. It passes the winter in the conservatory and is easily propagated by cuttings or, better, budded on the common China. It is often attacked by mildew, caused by cold wet weather in spring. This can be cured by rubbing all the affected parts with a sponge soaked in vinegar, according to Boursault. Perhaps rust and all similar rose ailments could be cured in this way.

Keep up the good work! Would like a copy sometime.
Dave

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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 8th December 2010, 13:23

Thanks Dave,

That sounds very much like Thory's description, or at least a reliable translation. Once again, the interesting thing is that there is no mention of Hume, nor of a rose called "Hume's Blush". I am becoming more and more convinced that Redoute's rose was one of the original Indica roses that Hume imported, not the seedling raised by Hume called "Hume's Blush".
Thanks again for your help.

Ian
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Guest on 8th December 2010, 18:02

A passing comment; it is illegal to take any cuttings at Rookwood. Agnes Smith is the same as "Blakiston tea" or "Blakiston Pink Tea", which you might be able to buy. Or ask a rose nursery to order budwood of Agnes Smith from Ruston's; the Tea Collection plantings from 2007 & 2008 are mostly big enough to supply budwood now.

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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 9th December 2010, 11:43

Yes that is correct Margaret. But don't they have a society or group who look after the roses at Rookwood? I would suggest contacting this group as one of the members is sure to have it growing. It would be best to obtain the original plant, rather than obtain it from a nursery. I knew a senior rose grower by name of Larry who had the Rookwood one growing, but he has been in poor health and sold most of his roses a few years back. I think there are specimens in some of the city parks [I seem to recall Larry telling me of one such planting], but again permission would need to be granted before taking cuttings off these. Considering someone chopped the whole bush out a while ago, it seems that prohibiting the taking of cuttings is still not enough to prevent the loss of these roses. It is difficult to legislate against relatives and family who wish to keep graves clean and tidy.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 10th December 2010, 06:20

Ian, I think Larry was talking of Parramatta Park, which would be under Parramatta council, if that is any help.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 10th December 2010, 10:00

Yes that rings a bell. The one in Parramatta Park was a poor specimen, but it may have picked up in recent years.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 12th December 2010, 15:48

I made a few enquiries and it seems the Parramatta plant died during the drought.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 18th December 2010, 11:50

More research just to hand.

The only two nurseries offering a rose by name of Hume's Blush in Australia are MistyDowns (aka "The Tangled Maze") and Ross Roses. My research has shown that the rose in Old Parliament House in Canberra is not from Colonial times, but is actually a fairly recent introduction to the garden from MistyDowns. MistyDowns do not know where their wood came from, but it seems likely that it originated in some roundabout way from Ross Roses. The Ross family imported the rose from Peter Beales in the 1960s. The one that MistyDowns is selling now looks identical to the one on Peter Beales current catalogue. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

As with Agnes Smith in Australia, Beales' rose does not match Redoute's illustration on the point that the petals are too uniformly pink throughout... in the case of Agnes Smith it is too uniformly dark pink... in the case of Beales it is too uniformly light pink.

But of course then we get back to the age old question of whether we are talking about the original x Odorata clone from China that Hume received, or a seedling that (depending on which author you believe) Hume may or may not have raised. It all gets very confusing.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by RitaG on 26th December 2010, 11:15

I live and work close to Parra Park and also not far from Rookwood.

The Agnes Smith specimen @ PP was always a weakling and died in the early 2000s, the ones at Rookwood were large specimen's and I am surprised to read that they are dead! I regret not digging the one I bought off Barbara May's group in 1999! I will investigate further and let you know.

Here are a couple of pics of PP taken in October this year when the garden looked at its peak, however, it is now short of a lot of roses specimens as the drought did take its toll on them. The garden has also undertaken a massive pruning but seems to be coming back...
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by RitaG on 26th December 2010, 11:31

Not having much luck uploading pics this morning. It seems to be embedding the actual image instead of the code line - then I have to try to relocated it ... here goes again ... will ge there I'm sure [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 26th December 2010, 12:08

Thank you so much Rita for the excellent photos. Agnes Smith in all her glory, at Rookwood no less!!! Smile

This rose is remarkably like the illustrations in Andrews and Pemberton, but I still maintain that the rose painted by Redoute is a different rose. I believe one was probably the rose that originated in China (possibly Redoute's); and the other (possibly the Andrew/Pemberton rose) was a seedling from that rose. I have no way of proving this apart from the description provided by the botanist Lindley in Edward's Botanical Register. I am sure we will never know the full story.

Some more updates:

It may surprise many to learn that Humes Blush is a relatively modern name for an old rose. If you could go back in time to the 1800s and ask at Colville's or another nursery for a "Hume's Blush", they would probably have given you a blank look. There was a Camellia called "Hume's Blush" which is well documented in the literature from Hume's time. I suspect that someone in the 1900s was reading the literature of the 1800s and somehow confused the Camellia name with a rose, and then began calling the rose by that name.

The name "Hume's Blush" only appears in print around the 1960's, although it may have been used as early as the 1940s, perhaps by Dr Hurst in 1941, although I cannot locate a copy of his work to verify this. Today the name "Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China" has generally been applied to the painting by Redoute. People tracing the origins of the rose in Malmaison back to Colville and then Hume have deducted correctly that this is one of Hume's roses, but we should remember that Hume may have imported more than one rose at the time and is also believed to have propagated seedlings from them. It is important to note that a rose was never known as "Hume's Blush" by anyone until at least the mid 1900s. At least I can find no contemporary reference to a rose by the name of "Hume's Blush". However I have been forced to eat my words in the past... so more research may still turn up a contemporary reference to the name "Hume's Blush".

John Hook is of the belief that Bermuda Spice is the same rose as Guerin's "Caroline". We need to look at the original painting of Caroline, (not the modern imposters) in order to make the comparison. I tend to agree with him. He also wonders if the rose being sold by MistyDowns may be the same rose. The one in Old Parliament House is the same as the one MistyDowns is selling, as OPH purchased the rose from MD some years ago. The rose does not date from Colonial times, but I suspect is the same rose that the Ross family imported from Peter Beales (ex Mottisfont, ex Sangerhausen) in the 1970s-80s. The date of 1960s quoted earlier by me for this introduction cannot be correct, as Beales was not selling roses in the 1960s. Beales only started his nursery in 1975.

It seems that more than one "Hume's Blush" from Sangerhausen ended up in circulation. Some discovered that the rose from there was not remontant, but once flowering in spring. Graham Stuart Thomas attests to this disparagingly in his writings. The rose turned out to be the rootstock Rosa Indica Major! However the rose that was imported to Australia ex Beales was/is remontant. The mystery deepens!! It is possible that somewhere along the trade lines, a rootstock got confused with a graft that had died. Perhaps this has happened more than once in different parts of the world.

According to John Hook, the Humes blush from Sangerhausan was 'Indica major' (aka Fun Jwan Lo), the once flowering China/Noisette rose commonly used as a rootstock. Wyatt introduced it to the UK and Mottisfont obtained it from him, then Beales obtained it from Mottisfont as stated by Graham Stuart Thomas. The Wyatt connection is well documented and the connection is outlined in the 'Teabags' book. This rose was distributed to the US (John Hook imported it) in 2002. The rose was found to be Fun Jwan Lo. Since then Beales may have obtained the Bermuda Spice, which he is selling as Rosa Odorata ('Hume's Blush') on his website. John Hook also has Bermuda Spice now, as well as a number of other remontant Redoute contenders. One of these is the Laos tea rose that was discovered in recent times by Japanese researchers. It is a very good contender for Redoute's "Rosa Indica Fragrans", perhaps not the same clone, but undoutedly a very reliable replica.

Are we confused yet? Laughing

I've been unable to find a single photo of the MistyDowns specimen. If anyone lives near Old Parliament House, some photos would be greatly appreciated! Smile
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by tearose49 on 29th December 2010, 08:17

Hi Ian. I joined this forum so I could get in on this conversation. I live in California, and have a Hume's Blush candidate. Pictures are posted here:
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It was found somewhere in California, nearly 40 years ago by Phil Edinger. He was a garden writer for Sunset Magazine, and edited their Rose Book. I've never met him, and don't know if he is still alive. However, he thought it might be Hume's, and as it didn't do well where he lived, he gave it to Joyce Demits.

Joyce ran a small Heritage Rose nursery in Fort Bragg Calif., and she kept the plant in a pot. It remained a small plant for her, but she also thought it just might be Hume's. I stayed at her house during a rose symposium in about 2002 or 2003, and while walking around her garden, I came across this potted tea rose. She didn't tell me its story or her suspicion that it might be Hume's at that time, but allowed me to take a cutting. I wanted it because I thought it might be Hume's, and luckily the cutting took.

My plant has also not grown much, but I like in a cool place, as Joyce does and Phil did, so I want to grow it at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, where there are hot summers. This year my plant finally got big enough to take a few cuttings, and one has rooted, so when it's a bit bigger, I will have a friend in San Jose care for it till it's big enough to plant.

The last time I saw Joyce, I found out that her plant died, so I may have the only plant of it, whatever it is. It does produce hips the shape of the one illustrated by Redoute, but often has 7 leaflets, while Thory wrote 3 to 5. As it has grown, however, there are more of the 5 leaflet and fewer of the 7, so I'm hoping that trend continues.

Jill

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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

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