Sunday, July 1, 2007

Rosa 'Peace'

The Peace rose is the most famous and successful garden rose of all time. Over one hundred million plants have been sold. It is a Hybrid Tea rose with very large flowers and a light yellow to cream color. It is very hardy and resistant to disease making it popular in gardens as well as in the floral trade.

It was developed by French horticulturist Francis Meilland in the years 1935 to 1939. When Meilland foresaw the German invasion of France he sent cuttings to friends in Italy, Turkey, Germany, and the United States to protect the new rose. The rose became known as 'Peace' in the following way. Early 1945 Meilland wrote to Field Marshal Alan Brooke (later Viscount Alanbrooke), the principal author of the master strategy that won Second World War, to thank him for his key part in the liberation of France and to ask if Brooke would give his name to the rose. Brooke declined saying that, though he was honored to be asked, his name would soon be forgotten and a much better and more enduring name would be "Peace".

The name "Peace" is a trade name; its formal cultivar name is Rosa 'Madame A. Meilland'. The adoption of the trade name "Peace" was publicly announced in the United States on 29 April 1945 by the introducers, Messrs Conard Pyle Co.. This was the very day that Berlin fell, officially considered the end of the Second World War in Europe. Later that year Peace roses were given to each of the delegations at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco, each with a note that read "We hope the 'Peace' rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace".

Peter Beales, English rose grower and expert, said in his book Roses, "'Peace', without doubt, is the finest Hybrid Tea ever raised and it will remain a standard variety forever".

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