As spring arrives and the rose bushes begin to bud up, what better time is there to look at pictures of gorgeous roses? While looking at pictures, I found some interesting stories behind some of the many rose cultivars that have been named for celebrities. Feast your eyes on the beauty of a dozen of them.
1. President Herbert Hoover
Rose breeder Gene Boerner developed a rose that displayed a gaudy combination of orange, pink, and yellow that won a gold medal at New York's International Flower show in 1929. Inspired by Herbert Hoover's 1928 campaign slogan, "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage," Boerner named the cultivar President Herbert Hoover. By the time the rose went on sale in 1930, the Great Depression had reared its ugly head, and the rose did not sell well. Boerner learned a lesson, and later advised other growers not to name roses after politicians.
2. Julia Child
Plant breeder Tom Carruth has developed more All-American roses than anyone else. HIs yellow floribunda rose Julia Child won All-American honors in 2006. Chef Julia Child herself selected the rose to be named in her honor before she died in 2004. The rose is sold by Weeks Roses.
3. Ingrid Bergman
The Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman died of cancer in 1982. It wasn't long afterward that she was honored with a rose cultivar. The World Federation of Rose Societies named the rose known as Ingrid Bergman the "World Favourite Rose" in 2000, and inducted it into their Hall of Fame. It was developed by Pernille and Mogens Olesen of the Danish rose company Poulson in 1983 and has won numerous awards in the years since it was introduced in 1984. The patent for the rose has expired, so it can be grown from cuttings and propagated, but the company registered a trademark on the name, so propagated roses cannot be sold under the name Ingrid Bergman.
4. Dolly Parton
The Dolly Parton rose was developed by Joe Winchell in the basement of his home, where he experimented with growing roses under plant lights through the winter. It was introduced in 1984. The orange-red hybrid tea rose is as colorful and spicy as its namesake. Parton reportedly was flattered that a rose was named after her, as she thought a wildflower might have been more appropriate. Her namesake roses grow at Parton's home and at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
5. Lynn Anderson
Lynn Anderson's biggest hit was the 1970 song "Rose Garden," which was #1 on Billboard's country chart for five weeks and reached #3 on their pop chart. Joe Winchell of the American Rose Society cultivated a hybrid tea rose that became known as Lynn Anderson in 1995.
6. Betty White
Finding information on the Betty White rose by search is difficult, because Betty White played a character named Rose in The Golden Girls TV series. Also, there are a lot of white roses. The hybrid tea rose was introduced by Meilland International under the name André le Nôtre in 2001. It was imported to the US in 2004 and renamed Betty White. This rose is old-fashioned, vigorous, and sweet—just like our favorite comedienne.
7. Marie Curie
8. Natasha Richardson
Actress Natasha Richardson died in 2009 in a skiing accident in Quebec. In 2011, her mother, actress Vanessa Redgrave, was at the Chelsea Flower Show for a ceremony to unveil the new cultivar named Natasha Richardson. All proceeds of the sales of the light pink rose go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The rose is grown exclusively by UK grower Harkness.
9. Mark Twain
American writer Mark Twain has been honored with schools, buildings, awards, and even an asteroid named after him, so why not a rose? The Mark Twain rose was bred by Richard Huber in Switzerland and named in 2000. It is described as a good rose to cut, and quite durable as well as sweetly-scented.
10. Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II died in 2005, after reigning for 27 years. In 2006, rose company Jackson & Perkins worked with the Vatican to develop a white hybrid tea rose named for the late pontiff. Ten bushes were planted at the Vatican, and the company gives 10 percent of the proceeds to the Vatican, which they designated for a charity to aid sub-Saharan Africans.
11. Liv Tyler
Meilland International was commissioned by Givenchy Perfumes to create a rose to be used in a new perfume. The rose was developed in 2001 and the perfume, Very Irresistable, was introduced in 2003. In 2005, the rose cultivar was named after actress Liv Tyler, who was Givenchy's new spokesperson at the time. Tyler still works for Givenchy.
12. Freddie Mercury
A tribute to the singer who died in1991, the Freddie Mercury was introduced in 1994 by Eric Stainthorpe of Battersby Roses. The pink, yellow, and apricot rose is related to the Tina Turner rose. Members of the Freddie Mercury fan club raised £2,000 to name a rose in his honor. The first official bushes were given to his relatives and close friends.
See also: Daffodils Mean Spring is Coming!