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Part 1: From Your Garden to Your Florist and Back
The first in a four part series from Jacques Ferare about how trends and markets affect the roses you grow in the garden and the ones you can find at the florist. Are they ever the same?
Ever since rose production became an industry, the worlds of florist roses and garden roses have followed very different paths. As a result, today's florist roses have very little in common with the large majority of the roses we enjoy in the garden. But once in a while, a special variety comes along that bridges the gap and brings them together again.
Part One: A Brief History of Florist Roses
By most accounts, the tradition of enjoying roses as cut flowers goes all the way back to the Antiquity, but it really became an industry in the mid 1800s, when the development of railroads in Europe made it possible to ship flowers from the Mediterranean area to the markets in Paris and other capitals of Northern Europe. In fact, according to some growers in the San Remo area of the Italian Riviera, who have been growing roses for generations, it was the variety General Schablikine, a Tea rose which flowered very early in late February to early March in the Mediterranean, which made it all possible. The fully double, quartered coppery pink, fragrant variety was developed by the Nabonnand family on the French side of the Riviera. The roses were sent by train all the way to Moscow where it was unheard of to have roses in bloom in February, when the ground was still frozen and covered with several inches of snow. (For the record, General Schablikine was a war hero from Crimea). The ensuing popularity of that rose and others created by the same family, created such a strong demand that soon an industry was born. The Nabonnand family created a dynasty of roses at their French Riviera nursery from 1872 to 1924, and the flower industry stayed very strong there until the 1970s when the oil crisis and the real estate boom made it all but impossible to grow flowers economically there. Next week: The paths of garden and florist roses separate.