"I'd rather have roses on my table, than diamonds on my neck." Emma Goldman
Old-fashioned tea roses conjure up images in my head of elegant ladies in long, pastel-colored dresses and wide-brimmed hats, sipping tea from delicate china cups, "pinkies up." According to folklore, ladies of a certain era were not allowed to socialize unescorted except in their rose gardens. It was here women met their suitors, unrestricted by social rules of etiquette, to speak freely - and perhaps allow said suitor to steal a kiss or two. Amongst the roses, they would declare their undying love for one another and live happily ever after. I’m almost romantic enough to believe such tales actually existed.
Not that tea roses have anything to do with the brew, but it's the mere name that sounds romantic to me. Tea roses are repeat-flowering roses, so named for their fragrance, which supposedly smells like “a newly-opened packet of the choicest black tea.” Their ancestry is the high-climbing Chinese rose with large primrose-colored blossoms that fade quickly to white. Teas are considered by many rose aficionados to have the most spectacular form and coloration in the world of roses. The old-fashioned variety, however, are somewhat frail and the blossoms susceptible to weather damage. Through cross-breeding over the years, new teas have been developed that have large, vigorous, thick-limbed shrubs and perfect, glossy foliage. In my fantasy world, however, tea roses are still as delicate as the women of yesteryear, holding court with their beaus under an arbor of blossoming beauties.
Simple Rose Potpourri
1 quart rose petals
3 tablespoons ground orris root *
8 drops rose essential oil
Place in a covered plastic container for 3-4 weeks, stirring occasionally. If the scent does not seem strong enough you may add more oil. You can also substitute or add dried lavender blooms and lavender essential oil. Store in a pretty jar or use as you would other potpourri.
* Orris root is a dried ground rizome from a variety of Iris. It can be purchased from an herb shop or online.