House & Garden 55: 82, 140, 142 (June 1929)
Despite Which, Were They Called by Any Other Names, They Would Be Just as Sweet in Scent and Fair to Look Upon
J. H. Nicolas

EUROPEAN customs have much to do with Rose names, and these customs, little understood here, are responsible for those long names often preceded by a handle or title either of nobility, office (political or otherwise), army rank or even profession. Democracy may have invaded the European governments but not the individual; any title or honorific distinction becomes part and parcel of its possessor's name.

In Europe, the dedication of a Rose to a person is considered one of the greatest social honors and results in a large distribution of the variety among friends and courtiers, thus bringing a substantial revenue to the producer of the variety. The privilege of naming a novelty is often bought for a considerable cash payment, which explains to a certain degree the multiplicity of novelties—names at least—that appear annually on the market. The hybridizers are not altogether to blame: naming a Rose is an important item of recompense for an art that would otherwise be poorly remunerated.

THE Rose is also used as a memorial to a departed relative or friend, this explains the frequent term "Souvenir de", which is the French for "In memory of"— as Souvenir de Claudius and Georges Pernet, dedicated by Pernet to his two sons killed on the battlefield of the last war. The death of Claudius was particularly tragic. He was a reserve officer and not yet called to front line service. He resigned his commission and enlisted as a private in a regiment at the firing line because of disappointment in love; he wanted to marry a young woman whose father was a bitter enemy of his [father] and both refused to consent to their children's union.

Other examples are Souvenir de Claudius Denoyel, dedicated by Chambard to his favorite nephew and assistant, also killed in the war; Souvenir de George Beckwith, named by Pernet for his intimate friend and agent in England; Souvenir de H. A. Verschuren, dedicated to their father by the Verschuren boys when they took charge of the vast Verschuren Rose nursery in Holland, producing over a million budded Roses a year. The word "Feu" is also used to men "The late" or "Deceased" as in Feu Joseph Looymans, the last Rose hybridized by Joseph Looymans and named for him by his children.

WOMEN are very keen for having "their" Rose; hence the Madame, Mrs., or Miss. It is a frequent occurrence that a husband will surprise his wife by presenting her on some birthday or anniversary with a new rose bearing her name. Children will honor their mother with a Rose of her favorite color, and parents often want their children remembered with a Rose, a modern way that is gradually displacing the century-old custom of planting a tree for each child of the family. This Rose custom dates as far back to 1827, perhaps starting then, when a rosarian by the name of Jacques had twin daughters but only one Rose to dedicate, so he gave it the names of both children, Félicité et Perpétue. Dorothy Perkins, now a young matron with children of her own, was a little tot when her father named the popular climbing Rose for her because of the size and daintiness of the individual bloom; Franklin, Raymond and Constance were named for Admiral Ward's children; Alida, Bess and Mary Lovett were the children of one of Dr. Van Fleet's dear friends and associates. Louise Walter, a Polyantha, justifies its popular class name "Baby Rambler", as Louise was a baby in arms when her father named the Rose for her.

SENTIMENT is not always the motive back of a Rose name; personal pride, self indulgence or advertising plays sometimes an important part in adding to Rose disemination and nomenclature. Some one will inspect a prominent hybridizer's seedlings, admire a particular one and demand—with cash in hand—that it be named for her or him. Madame Caroline Testout, a fashionable couturière of London, thus forced on the market a seedling which Pernet did not think good enough, but she paid the price—and much to Pernet's surprise, the Rose made good, although it is now much passé. Madame Jenny, also a ladies' tailor in Paris, did not wish to stay behind her London colleague and advertised herself with a climbing Rose.

Hybridization is considered a gentle art, the Rose a thing of beauty; and its artisans are patronized, often financially helped, by the nobility or the wealthy owner of a nearby chateau. Hence the "Lord," "Lady," "Dame," "Countess," "Prince," etc., that lengthen the name of a Rose. The Marchioness of Londonderry owns the land on which the Dickson Nursery stands in Ireland, and she expressed the desire of having a Rose for herself and each one of her seven daughters; for her name, Dame Edith Helen, she selected that big pink Rose, probably because she, herself, is a large, masculine looking woman! One of her daughters, Lady Margaret Stewart, received that yellow beauty which was further honored with the Gold Medal, the only one awarded at the Bagatelle trial gardens in 1928.

THE weaker sex is not alone in feeling the charm of the Queen of Flowers; men also succumb to her wiles. When visiting Pernet Ducher in quest of a Rose to bear his name, the Prince of Bulgaria was attracted by a [140] particular seedling; Pernet informed him that it was not available as it was already dedicated to his friend Antoine Rivoire, President of the Horticultural Society of Lyons; the Prince insisted that such was the Rose he wanted, so Pernet showed him the twin of the same cross (Hybrid Tea x a Bourbon seedling) and Prince de Bulgarie thus came on the market, although it is similar to Antoine Rivoire. When Pernet told me the story, he did not mention the amount received beyond that it was "sufficient". The Prince had just concluded another loan with the French government and he felt flush!

The naming of a Rose is not always a mercenary transaction and the human side of life sometimes attaches a beautiful meaning to it. The French hybridizer Turbat had been awarded a certificate of merit at the Contest of Bagatelle during the war in 1916 for a hardy climber. According to the rules the award could not be final until the variety was named. While Monsieur Turbat was looking up the requests he had for a new Rose, the story was related of a young officer, the Comte de Feligonde, who had been seriously wounded in battle and left between the lines in No Man's Land where none would venture to fetch him. His wife, Ghislaine, a Red Cross nurse, hearing the plight of her husband, started at night, found him, dragged him to safety and nursed him back to health. Monsieur Turbat, moved by the story of the heroic woman, decided right then to name his new Rose Ghislaine de Feligonde. Again, one day the owner of a large English Rose nursery asked his superintendent, Charles P. Kilham, in charge of hybridization, to point out which he thought to be the best of the many seedlings in process of testing. After the most worthy Rose had been selected, the owner said, "Kilham, in recognition of your many services to the firm, we will name this Rose for you."


Bishop Pemberton had a predilection for biblical, mythological or exotic names: Ruth, Naomi; Ceres, Clytemnestra, Daphne, Galatea, Penelope, Nur-Mahal, the surname of Omar al Khayyam's favorite wife, meaning "the Joy of the Palace". I Zingari was a Gypsy Queen whose tribe camped one day on Pemberton's land; the Queen was arrayed in such strangely vivid colors that a recently organized cricket club adopted her name and colors. Pemberton labored for years to produce a Rose of the color; he succeeded, but unfortunately the bloom is not lasting and the plant a poor grower, so it is doubtful whether it will ever be distributed to any extent in America.

In the early nineties, Pernet Ducher had dreamed to transmit into the garden Roses the brilliant yellow of the Austrian Briar Persian Yellow. After years of experimentation and failure, he finally succeeded in raising a batch of hybrids of Persian Yellow parentage, among which were Soleil d'Or (Golden Sun) and Le Rêve (The Dream). In Le Rêve he began to see the realization of his dream, of a clear yellow Rose and while it was not disseminated until twenty years later, it was used for further breeding and known among Pernet's associates as Le Rêve. Pernet never intended to put it on the market because it was not recurrent in bloom, but when Star of Persia came from England, Pernet's friends prevailed upon him to let Le Rêve out. Well that he did, as Le Rêve is the better of the two Roses.

The politicians of the day (or their wives) are sometimes remembered — for cash or hope of a favor in the gift of their office — and the Rose remains afflicted with what seems later to be an obscure name: Etienne Rebeillard, Chairman of the Fine Arts Commision of Paris, which has charge of the public parks, Gen. Jacqueminot, a trusted supporter of Napoleon III in the French parliament; Jacques Porcher; Marechal Niel, minister of war under Napoleon III; Mme. Carnot; Mme. Edouard Hcrriot; Mine. Henri Queuille, wife of the present minister of Agriculture of France; Mme. Jules Bouché; Mme. Poincare; Paul Neyron, Senator from the district of Lyons; President Cherioux, president of the Municipal Council of Paris; Senateur Mascuraud, representing Lyons in the French Senate.


Royalty does not disdain the dedication of a Rose, but it has to be done by special warrant after a commission has passed on the merits of the Rose: Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria (Germany); Konigin Carola (Saxony); Konigin von Danmark; King George V (England); Louis Philippe (King of France, 1830-48); Queen Alexandra (England), herself a learned rosarian who every year opened the London Rose Show; Queen Mary (England); Queen Marie of Roumania; Queen of the Belgians; Reine Marie Henriette (consort of King Leopold of Belgium).

Friendship and neighborliness have produced their share of the nomenclature and the presidency of a Rose Society is generally good for a Rose: Dean Hole, Rev. F. Page-Roberts, Edward Mawley and H. R. Darlington were presidents of the National Rose society of England. Jonkheer J. L. Mock at one time presided over the Danish Rose Society.

Some Roses have been named on competition started by some city or organization. Soon after the war, the Municipal Council of the City of Paris offered a large purse for a Rose proving, after extensive trials, worthy of the name Ville de Paris (City of Paris). It was not until 1925 that a suitable one was found. The writer and Mr. Richardson Wright were members of the International Jury that awarded both the Bagatelle Gold Medal and the name of Ville de Paris. The Rose has made good in America and is one of the best yellow garden Roses we have today. Other cities have elected to have a Rose for local emblem: Orleans Rose, Chatillon [142] Rose,