Jacques Ferare wraps up his series on florist and garden rose similarities and differences.
By Jacques Ferare
While there is a trend for florist arrangements to look more natural, at the other end of the spectrum, a variety developed for the florist trade can make the jump over to the garden. These are rare occasions, as most new florist roses are poor garden performers. It happens usually because of the overwhelming popularity of that particular rose as a cut flower.
The most vivid example is probably Sonia, a fragrant, soft salmon pink Grandiflora from the House of Meilland that at one point in the 1970s was the most planted rose in the world. Sonia was a breakthrough in cut rose breeding because it was extremely productive year-round, even in northern climates under low light, when heat was provided in greenhouses. It can be said that Sonia revolutionized cut rose production by enabling it to become truly industrial. It was also a very elegant flower that opened fully in the vase and a breakthrough in color with a unique fragrance. Sonia was so highly recognizable that soon people began to ask it by name. It was not long after that people wanted that rose in the garden, where it performed extremely well. For more than 30 years, Sonia remained a very popular garden rose. In fact we carried it in the Star® Roses catalog for more than 20 years.
More recently the same thing happened with Leonidas™, the russet brown rose, and with Black Baccara™, the black red rose. It should come as no surprise that all of these were created by the House of Meilland, as they may be the most successful rose company to bridge garden and florist roses. There are other examples, but these are probably the most successful ones.
Does this mean that florist and garden roses are coming together again? Probably not, as the requirements of a flower grower in Ecuador will never be the same as for the home gardener in New York or Chicago, but there will always be instances where they once again cross paths. One of the latest examples is Francis Meilland®, our 2013 All America Rose Selection award winner, the first Hybrid Tea to win without any spraying, which is also a great florist rose under the name Prince Jardinier. Look for these unique roses to remind us about their common heritage.