Sunday, July 11, 2010

For the love of a rose.

Photography courtesy of Michael Gordon

It brought a big smile to my grandmother's face when she recounted the story of how the rose Peace was created. The Meilland family in France were the hybridizers and were successfully trialing it around Europe before the beginning of World War II. On the last Clipper flight to leave France before the Nazis came in was a box of cuttings sent to a notable rose hybridizer.

The family was unsure if the plane had been shut down by the Nazis or if the cuttings had made it into usable condition. After no communications for four years, they received a letter from the grower informing them that 3-25-40 had been a complete success. The huge flower with yellow petals with touch of pink blush had enchanted rose growers around the world and the introducer was inspired to call the rose Peace. The date it was first introduced to the rose world, was Sunday, April 29, 1945 -- the day Berlin fell. And on the day it received the All-American Rose Society Award, Japan surrendered. This is the hardest thing for me to grasp, within the first nine years over 30 million bushes were sold. And Francis Meilland was the leader for worldwide plant patents, so he made a ton of money and built the Eiffel Tower (just kidding!)

Of course, this was before I surrendered to blackspot. So I just have the memories of my grandparents plant and the huge Climbing Peace bush that was front and center in front of the old house in Sydney.

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