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My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

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

Post by IanM on 1st September 2011, 22:24

Hi Stephen,

Wow, yes please, I would love to read the notes relating to Hume's Blush. I can certainly pay for reproduction and posting, or you could possibly scan and email them to me. Please send me a PM.

The big problem with HB that I still wrestle with is that Andrews' illustration of the rose in Colville's Nursery and Redoute's painting of the rose at Malmaison, look to be representing two different roses. So I am not sure how anyone can ever really pin down an actual rose when faced with these historical discrepancies. I still wonder whether Andrews' rose is the real HB and Redoute's rose was a seedling raised from it in Colville's Nursery. As I've stated before, there is some evidence to suggest this, but you have to "read between the lines" to reach this conclusion. I guess we may never know.

As a side issue, I decided to purchase the "Hume's Blush" from MistyDowns, presuming of course that it is not. However this rose has surprised me as it does certainly have a leaf that you would expect to see on a gigantea X china hybrid. The flower is also developing with a very slender, elongated calyx. It should be flowering soon. One big problem I can already see is with the growth habit, which seems far too robust for HB. Even at this stage it looks like it may turn into a rambler or climber. If so, we can rule out HB immediately.

Agnes Smith ROR and Blackiston Tea ROR (which are the same rose according to the experts) are much closer to Redoute's painting, but appear too "tea-like" to be HB. I believe Agnes Smith & Blackiston Tea are very closely related to Duchesse de Brabant. As Hurst points out, HB will possess China/Gigantea characters not Tea characters. Colville's illustration confirms this, but Redoute's painting shows a larger, more "Tea-like" rose.

So once again, which illustration do we choose? As Andrews' illustration came first, it must be seen as the lectotype, even though it is of much poorer quality from a taxonomic viewpoint than Redoute's.

I would still like to check out Balinbear's rose (photo appears a few pages back in this thread). It looks a bit like Andrew's illustration but appears too China-ish to match Redoute's.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by wphvet on 2nd September 2011, 14:26

Ian,
We'll organise getting the info to you,probably typed and emailed,will let you know when it'll happen.
I am not up to date with the history since then but I'm sure it may help.
Regards,
Stephen

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

Post by IanM on 15th October 2011, 13:49

Hmmm, after growing 'Agnes Smith' and its doppelgänger 'Blakiston Tea' for a while now, I may have to revise my original ideas about it. It is true that seeing a rose in real life is never the same as seeing it in someone else's photographs. Comparing my plants as they come into flower I can't help but notice how strikingly consistent the characters are with the rose in Redoute's painting. So perhaps if not Hume's Blush then maybe a direct descendant of it. This may be a very good contender afterall. On another forum I would have had to start eating my words.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Admin on 15th October 2011, 13:55

On another forum I would have had to start eating my words..

What do you mean by this? Processes like this are always fraught with difficulties and you need to have multiple hypotheses to work on and hypotheses need testing... it seems a logical progression to either rule in or rule out possibilities as they present themselves. I would be disappointed in anyone who took umbrage at anything you have said to 'make you eat your words'... if this is what you mean... IMO it's all part of the scientific process of forensic lineage investigation Wink


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

Post by IanM on 15th October 2011, 14:13

On the other forum I had largely dismissed it out of hand mainly because the photos were not close ups and were a little bit blurry. They did not do the plant any justice at all. I remember writing something like "If that is Hume's Blush I will eat my hat" or something along those lines. Laughing

I guess you are right though Simon. I never gave up on Agnes Smith entirely. I decided to get cuttings so I could grow it and examine it closely myself. So in that sense I did not ever totally give up on it.

I also purchased the one in commerce in Australia for comparison, only to find it was actually "Park's Yellow NOT", and I believe this is perhaps the true 'Fee Opale'.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 15th October 2011, 15:18

Ian, can you send me to this other forum so I can read all the posts please
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 16th October 2011, 00:20

Probably been archived or deleted by now. Maybe do a Google search on "Rose Exchange Forum". You may still find the posts. In any case, everything has pretty much been repeated here. This thread will be the most up to date and have the most detail.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by RitaG on 16th October 2011, 08:13

Hi Ian, yes, pretty much up to date with this new discussion. Reading the old 2004 posts on Dao's forums again, I picked up that it was actually Larry who said (and I'm sure he would'nt mind my requoting him)

"Ian if that's Hume's Blush I'll eat it. Trust those pommy wankers Rogers and Rix to stuff it up". As you can see, Larry remains very passionate and colourful - a trait which most found a refreshing deviation from often heated, stuffy debate. I am unsure which rose incited that remark as the link to the pic you provided is no longer valid, but the discussion prior to it centred on a rose called "Spice".

I no longer have the plant Agnes Smith as I left it behind in my old garden, but hope to be able to get a new plant maybe today at the HRIA Rose Festival @ Parra Park, if not later on at Rookwood.

I also find it interesting that HMF has renamed the photo (below) of the rose I posted as Agnes Smith and given it the tag Humes Blush - which for the record, was one that I had never at any stage claimed for that rose. You are so dedicated to its research that I'm pleased that AS may be a good contender after all this time. All credit to you.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 16th October 2011, 12:33

roflmao @ Larry's comment. Yes that brings back memories. Thanks Rita.

Looking at your photo I can see why I originally thought Agnes Smith could not be the same as the one in Redoute. As your photo shows, the colour and form of flowers can vary (as many roses of China influence do) from individual to individual bloom. They also change as the bloom develops. Redoute probably selected quite a young bloom that looked good to paint, rather than one that had been open for a few days and was perhaps more "typical". We would need to look for blooms that closely resemble the one illustrated by Redoute. The bloom that Redoute painted was quite high set in the centre with very large outer petals.

The rather ruffled, flat, pink blooms in your photo are similar to those in the illustration by Andrews of the rose that grew in Colville's Nursery.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 25th October 2011, 14:23

Has anyone ever done petal counts on 'Agnes Smith' and 'Blakison Tea'? My 'Agnes Smith' always seems to get a lot more petals than my 'Blakiston Tea', but I'm not sure if this will always be the case.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by RitaG on 25th October 2011, 20:39

Alas no Ian. And it looks like I won't get a chance to either. Spoke with Barbara May @ the HRIA Rose Festival the other week and she told me that none of the Agnes Smith cutting have taken, so it looks like I won't get another plant of it anytime soon.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 25th October 2011, 23:14

Hi Rita,
They are not easy from cuttings. I only got one Agnes Smith and one Blakiston Tea to strike from cuttings. I'm presently nursing them through a bad dose of powdery mildew. They have really big, soft, floppy leaves on quite small plants, which makes them magnets for powdery mildew. I've yet to see black spot on them though. Both are flowering well at present. I might leave them to grow a bit stronger before planting out. Once I do I will be sure to set cuttings from them every so often and will advertise any that become available through this forum. I'll keep one for you.
Ian
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 28th October 2011, 23:12

Oops. I spoke too soon. My 'Blakiston Tea' has now produced two blooms that are identical to the blooms on my 'Agnes Smith'. Maybe it has just "caught up". (It was a slightly younger cutting afterall).

These are clearly the same rose, which should be no surprise as it seems to be common knowledge among the Tea experts in Australia. But it is good to be able to see them side by side and confirm this for myself.

The blooms are very reminiscent of the Andrews and also the Watts illustration. But I have yet to see a bloom with a higher centre to match with the Redoute painting. As I said previously, it is highly likely that Redoute selected the blooms that he painted, so a higher set bloom is still within the realms of possibility.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by IanM on 24th May 2013, 15:05

Some may disagree, but I am now 100% convinced that both 'Agnes Smith' (ROR) and 'Blakiston Tea' (ROR) are none other than 'Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China'.

I have not come to this decision lightly, but only after many years of painstaking research and meticulously studying these living plants. I am certain that they are one and the same. All of the characters are identical to those shown in the paintings and they also match the early descriptions perfectly.

For a long time I was puzzled by the apparent differences between Redoute's painting and the illustrations of Watts and Andrews. The mystery has been solved. In summer time, when plants are in prime growth under ideal conditions, they produce big, floppy, occasionally high-centered blooms matching the one in Redoute's painting. However, flowers produced early or late in the season (or in cloudy, inclement weather) are rather small and flat and look more like the blooms of 'Old Blush' or 'Archduke Charles'. This is just a seasonal anomaly, and it is interesting that the early paintings captured this so well.

I also uncovered several popular myths about Hume's Blush during my investigation.

Myth 1: "'Hume's Blush' is a Tea rose." Well probably not. It was perhaps a proto-Tea rose, or at least an early hybrid China. It is probably more like a China rose by today's standards than a Tea rose. 'Hume's Blush' was probably selected from garden plants in China and some of these plants were either collected from the wild, or were spontaneous garden hybrids, or they were deliberately bred by early Chinese gardeners. It appears that 'Humes Blush' may be a very early F1 (perhaps F2) hybrid between a mutant form of Rosa chinensis and a mutant form of R. gigantea. But other Chinese species may have been involved. The literature suggests that Hume may have grown his 'Hume's Blush' as a seedling collected from an imported Chinese rose, but it is now impossible to validate this. It is interesting that in its day, 'Hume's Blush' was regarded as one of three "China roses", the other two being 'Old Blush' and 'Park's Yellow Tea-Scented China'. 'Hume's Blush' is frequently described as having the strong, sweet smell of a tea chest. This is very true of my experience with 'Agnes Smith' whenever she is flowering in my greenhouse! However smells are very subjective. To me it smells just like sweet tea. To other people it may smell completely different. One person who smelt the flower remarked that it smelt like lemon essence to her! Another said it smelt more like vanilla!

Myth 2: "'Hume's Blush' is a tall, rampant, sprawling climber and early descriptions calling it a small, tardy bush were due entirely to poor climate conditions in Europe". False! The growth character of any plant is genetic, and I am unaware of any climbing sports of 'Hume's Blush'. At least none have ever been documented. Some modern literature has claimed that 'Hume's Blush' is a strong climber, but I suspect in all cases those contentions have been based entirely on misidentifications. The plant will always form a bush, but may grow larger in more tropical climes. 'Hume's Blush' did not transform miraculously into a rampant climber after being imported here from Europe. The reality is that any climber that claims to be Hume's Blush is an impostor.

Myth3: "'Hume's Blush' always has a very long calyx lobe. If it does not have a long calyx lobe then it is an impostor!" Not true. This is just variation, depending on time of year and different growing conditions. This is why some of the early illustrations show a long calyx lobe, others do not. The shape of the bud and fruit can also be slightly different in different years under different growing seasons. Generally speaking it has a long calyx lobe. Also, the fruit of Hume's Blush is often slightly dorsiventrally compressed, but not always. I have seen compressed and round ones on the same plant!

Myth 4: "'Hume's Blush' became extinct soon after release because it was poorly suited to the European climate". This may be true, but seems unlikely to me. The genes of these early China roses were prized because they were so tough. The most likely cause for extinction would have been neglect. Once new varieties of Tea roses came on to the market, 'Hume's Blush' was forgotten. It is a bit like going to a modern computer store and asking to buy a Commodore-64!
However, 'Hume's Blush' may have survived as graft stock. I firmly believe this is how it got to places like Australia. 'Agnes Smith' is a tough little rose in my experience and I can certainly understand it ending up as a graft stock, probably inadvertently due to confusion with 'Rosa Indica Major'. It seems that 'Rosa Indica Major' and other 'Rosa XOdorata' root stocks have been confused with Hume's Blush ever since the very early days. It seems that 'Hume's Blush' was only lost to cultivation following the death of those who originally grew it (e.g. Hume, Colville, and Joséphine de Beauharnais). Actually it never was "lost", just misplaced and misidentified out of ignorance and neglect.
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 24th May 2013, 17:54

Ian, the only word I can say is "diligent or in the Aussie vernacular, a dog and a bone". I am not sure whether this is a labour of love or passion. I have seen this from the start here and previous times. Ian where do you now go with this paper, publish I hope and some recognition for your work.

For those that have not read Ian's work on this rose I recommend reading this entire post

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

Post by Balinbear on 24th May 2013, 18:29

Ian

Well done and interesting conclusions. I don't know enough of the history to comment to much but I still wonder about the identity of our rose that we call "Hume's Blush".

I guess I need to find at "Agnes Smith" and compare it with what we have.

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

Post by Balinbear on 24th May 2013, 18:37

Does any one know any one who sells "Agnes Smith"?
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Balinbear on 24th May 2013, 18:39

Sorry Bruce I just checked your site and I see you have it in your list. I will PM you
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 24th May 2013, 18:52

Gary, it will be interesting to see if Bruce will give info on the source of his plant to help Ian
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

Post by Ozeboy on 24th May 2013, 20:36

Gary and David, I have one plant in an 8" pot somewhere.
Will have a look tomorrow and let you know. It is not a good doer and can't understand the interest in this rose. However I have heard reports how well some plants have grown in the past. I have a friend with this rose also and can source budwood from him. If my plant (When found) has suitable budwood then I will bud a few and send what's left to you Gary. Might be a real house eater up your way.
Will also respond to your message when I find HB.

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

Post by Balinbear on 25th May 2013, 07:27

Thanks Bruce.

Our "Hume Blush" does not break any records so far as growth goes and only really interested to see if Agnes Smith is the same rose.

I had a look at HMF last night and the nodding flowers etc look exactly the same so I suspect that it is. I still have no idea where we purchased ours from originally as we got the original one probably 10-15 years ago.

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

Post by Ozeboy on 25th May 2013, 10:20

Gary, I have seen pix of Humes Blush in Peter Beales book called "Roses". His notes suggest early pollination and hybridizing by the Chinese together with wind blown pollen between R gigantea and
R chinensis. The first of these to arrive in Europe was R indicaodorata, soon to become known as "Humes Blush" after Sir Abraham Hume.
It was sent from Fa Tee Nurseries of Canton in 1810.

The second came in 1824 found during an expedition to collect plants for the Royal Hortocultural Soc. This was later classified as
R odoratachroleuca but it's original name of 'Parks' Yellow Tea-scented
China after it's collector, John Parks, has been used ever since.

Yellow clouded sulphur and scented it was this rose in 1830, which brought forth the first of yellow or near yellow Noisettes, beginning with 'Lamarque' and then 'William Allen Richardson in 1878.

The pix in the book appears very twiggy and nothing like the very stiff caned rose they sell under the name of 'Humes Blush' It appears wider than high though it is difficult to guage size as there is nothing else in the pix of known size. However I estimate size to be a metre high and 2 1/2 to 3 metre's wide.

There is also reference to the the fact that Tea roses as well as the Chinas arrived in ships of the East India Company, which were of course primarily concerned with transporting Tea.

Gary or anyone interested could look to the species mentioned and Agnes Smith to be grown side by side to see similarity. Also the two original sources in the early 1800's clouds identification as to which one or both are foundation plants of those today. I do like studying pedigrees of all roses but find so many ring-ins by nurseries wanting to make a few $$$$'s. This coupled with incorrect identification and matching to an artists impression makes the whole thing difficult with inaccuracies and missing information. Inspite of this there are a lot of dedicated people out there working on the puzzles which brings "The Tea Ladies" to mind.

Bruce


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

Post by IanM on 2nd June 2013, 13:53

A certain nursery (that does not need to be named, but which we all know) was selling "Agnes Smith" ROR some years ago as "Irene Watts". However that same nursery has sold "Gruss an Aachen" as "Irene Watts" at one time or another. Whether that nursery is still selling "Agnes Smith" as "Irene Watts", I do not know. Anyone who has bought "Irene Watts" from them could have "Agnes Smith", especially if the flowers are rather large and pink. I believe this same mistake has been replicated by a number of other Australian nurseries. There appears to be some speculation about whether we ever had the true "Irene Watts" in Australia.

A year or two ago that same nursery was selling a rose called "Hume's Blush", which turned out to be a big rambler with a creamy-yellow flower. I can only speculate that someone got "Park's Yellow" mixed up with "Hume's Blush", only it was not "Park's Yellow" either. Some have said it looks more like "Fee Opale", but may not be that rose either. I still have it here, big rambly, once-flowering thing that it is. Rolling Eyes

As for cuttings. I have some of 'Agnes Smith' and 'Blakiston Tea', but I will have to go through them once this weather clears up to see what has roots. If anyone wants one, let me know.

I've been asked to write an article on my "Hume's Blush" ponderings for a journal, but I've also been told I must acknowledge one of the "Tea Ladies" who wrote an article about it earlier. Unfortunately I cannot acknowledge something if I have never read it! I requested more details about the article but never received a reply. Does anyone know the article in question?


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

Post by Guest on 2nd June 2013, 14:03

Ian, I was taught when at Uni we had to site literature that we used in an article which we had written, but if you did not use this particular ladies article in your writings or read it, there is no reason why you must acknowledge her. All I can say people try and jump on the band wagon if you let them.

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

Post by IanM on 2nd June 2013, 14:11

Agreed! I mentioned that fact, but it seems the journal may not publish anything I write unless I cite the former article as a source. Kind of funny when you consider I have never even seen it or heard of the author! Mind you I've been busy with lots of other things over the last few years, so I may well have forgotten. But I don't mind acknowledging it, if only I knew what I am supposed to be acknowledging. Neutral
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Re: My paper on Hume's Blush Tea-Scented China

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