Thursday, June 18, 2015

'Gruß an Teplitz'

I currently grow three varieties of rose in big clay pots on the balcony, the very old China roses 'Slater's Crimson China' and 'Old Blush', which I have posted about here, here, here, and here, and 'Gruß an Teplitz', a variety variously classified as a China, Bourbon, or Hybrid Tea rose. Introduced in 1897 by the Austro-Hungarian plant breeder and rosarian Rudolf Geschwind (1829-1910) and named for the spa town of Teplice ("Teplitz" in German) in Bohemia in what is now the Czech Republic, it is not nowadays one of the more popular or well-known old roses in Europe and North America, although it is probably the most famous of the many varieties bred by Geschwind. I finally got a small sapling of it late last summer from Joy Creek Nursery in Oregon - my Hydrangea macrophylla 'Otaksa' came from there as well - after finding it to be sold out or generally unavailable at all the other mail-order nurseries that list it. Today, it finally opened its first plump, heavily scented blossom.

Rosa 'Gruß an Teplitz'

While in the West 'Gruß an Teplitz' is not a particularly prominent variety anymore, in India and Pakistan it is one of the most widely grown roses to this day. Repeat-blooming, fairly heat-resistant, and intensely fragrant, it is planted as a commercial crop in fields, with the flowers harvested and sold for use in garlands and other floral decorations and as devotional offerings, a common practice at both Hindu temples and Muslim shrines. The latter usually center around the graves of Sufi saints, both male and female, who in many cases are remembered not just for their spiritual and theological achievements but also for their work as poets in their own right or as the teachers of important poets, musicians, and even political figures like princes and princesses. Visiting devotees frequently pile roses or rose petals - usually of 'Gruß an Teplitz' - on the tomb itself; there are usually stalls selling flowers for this very purpose around the entrances of shrines, and Hindu temples similarly tend to have their own little flower markets nearby, supplying the blooms most favored by the presiding deity or deities of the temple.

Flowers of 'Gruß an Teplitz' floating in a stone bowl at a guest house in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

If you want to read more about - or rather by - Rudolf Geschwind, you can find the two books he wrote on rose breeding and cultivation and rock gardening here and here, respectively.

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful roses! You knows lots of about plant. That's a interesting lesson for me. Here in my country there are two local varieties of roses that grown traditionally for comercial purpose. The flower is used on so many traditional-ceremonial moments. They are packed on bamboo basket and sold on traditional market.

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    1. Fascinating! What kind of varieties are they? Pink? Red? White? Fragrant? Double? I love old varieties of plants that have particular traditions of use.

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  2. You grow the coolest plants! This was new to me and I love fragrant roses. I'll see if Joy Creek still has it as thy are not far from me.

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    1. Please do! The fragrance is really wonderful, and in your mild climate it will probably grow like crazy!

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    1. Do if you get the chance! It is a challenging place, but there is a lot of incredible beauty to be found.

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  4. Your rose has the most incredible depth of color and perfection of any I have seen. I'm not surprised it was chosen for commercial growing. Oh happy day for you when it flowered.

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    1. Indeed! I hope it will keep flowering throughout the summer. All of the buds in this first flush opened more or less simultaneously, so I guess there will be breaks between bouts of flowering.

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