What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet.
An added bonus of loving roses is learning the history, names and parentage of roses. Rose names have wonderful stories of life-long achievements in the dedication to rose breeding and the work done in perfecting new roses and preserving old roses. When I first came across the remarkable stories of the history of roses I was fascinated, such as the extraordinary Peace rose. See post Peace Rose
The Dorothy Perkins rose was the first rose to be named after a living person early in the 19th century and this rose went on to win first prize at the Royal National Rose Society in 1908. The American rose breeders, Jackson and Perkins developed a rambling rose and named it after Charles Perkins, grand- daughter- Dorothy. The company are still current today in the USA.
Since that time many roses have been named after friends, family, celebrities and Royals.
Sharifa Asma- Austin UK 1989, Maman Cochet – Cochet 1893 France, Paul Bocuse – Guillot-Massad France 1992, Fantin Latour -1840 France, Camille Pissarro – Delbard France 1996 and Pierre Gagnaire Delbard France 2003 amongst many other roses have become like close friends living silently outside in my garden. The hours spent planning and searching through websites and catalogues to choose the right rose, planting them and nurturing them to bloom has meant I’ve become attached to them and know all their names.
There is something quintessential in asking a rose gardener ‘What is her name?” When offered a rose, it is the next thing one does after raising the rose bloom to your face to catch the scent. Many people have been honoured by having a rose named after them and have therefore been immortalised by the perfection of a rose.
Today it is estimated according to Roger Mann in his book ‘Naming The Rose’ that for every new rose some five to ten thousand seedlings have been grown, tried out for five years or so and then rejected before the species is perfected. It was at the end of the eighteenth century that the sexuality of plants was discovered that made it possible to plan cross pollination and sow pollinated seed.
The Empress Josephine Of France (1763 -1814) set up a botanical and horticultural research centre at the Château de Malmaison in France. History tells us she introduced over 200 new plants to French gardens, and her passion was roses. The Malmaison Garden was the first to have a specific garden just for roses. The impact on the world was immediate, with gardeners developing rosariums of their own to primarily show off their rose specimens. The Old Garden Roses are in the main, French because the French rose breeders dominated horticulture until the World Wars.
Roses have been named after many celebrities, the aristocracy, writers, artists, Generals, chef’s and politicians and of course their wives. Since the introduction of the code name by Alain Meilland and the purchasing of naming rights for roses and the added trend of roses being named for causes, groups and charities means it does not matter if we call a rose one name in Australia and another in the UK or anywhere else in the world.
There is a wide selection of Roses named after famous women including; Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, Marilyn Monroe, Mme Isaac Pierre, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlene, Princess of Monaco, Dolly Parton, Queen Elizabeth 11, Diana Princess of Wales, Olivia Rose Austin, Princess Alexandra Of Kent, Governor Marie Bashir, Princess Monaco, Mary MacKillop, Dame Judi Dench, Gertrude Jekyll, Margaret Merril, Claire Austin, Lady Hillingdon and many many more. Christian names are also used widely as in Elle, Ellen, Shirley’s Rose, Penelope, Sylvia, Jude the Obscure, Olivia, Millie, Naomi, Susan, Rebecca, Renae, Rosemary, Sally, Violet, Tess, Jessica and the list goes on.
Many men too are honoured by roses such as Charles de Gaulle, Benjamin Britten, Maurice Utrillo, Claude Monet, Pierre Gagnaire, President Franklin, Claude Monet, and one of my favourites Graham Thomas. Lord Byron, Mr Lincoln and Paul Bocuse another beautiful pretty rose. and lastly another favourite Fantin Latour. There are so many roses to research and every single one has a history and story to tell.
Roses have been developed from across the world and in all walks of life and if I look out to my rose garden, there they are living together in perfect harmony and exquisite beauty. I have almost 300 rose varieties and if nothing else it’s a good memory trainer to know them all by name.
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