Roses & their names

Roses and their names

According to the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) naming a new rose can be a very expensive procedure and, if you are hoping to persuade a rose breeder to use a particular name it can cost anywhere from £2000, to more than £10000.

The British Association of Rose Breeders (BARB) was formed in 1973 and is a non-profit making, unincorporated association, whose members are breeders, or representatives of breeders. It represents its members’ interests to Government and Industry bodies nationally and internationally. It also provides an economic licensing, monitoring and royalty collection service to its Members.

There are many named roses, some, sadly, no longer available, that have an interesting history.

In our previous blog we told you about one of our own most popular breeds, “Just Joey”, developed in 1972 and was given its name when it was still in early development when and when the family was considering what to call it her brother, and co-director, Roger (Pawsey)  the breeder  showing a bloom of  this seedling  to his father one breakfast said  he would name it  after his wife, Joey. To which his father queried “Just Joey?” and this became its name. To show why Roger named this after his wife the rose “Just Joey” entered the Rose Hall of Fame in 1994 the World exclusive club of  World Favourite Roses.

Since then it has had a number of memorable moments. It has been painted on an elephant, appeared on Japanese TV and used on the cover of a book.

In May-July 2010 in London there was an “elephant parade” that transformed various places in London with 260 brightly-painted model elephants, including one depicted by Karen Hollis featuring Just Joey. The elephants were eventually auctioned by Sotheby to raise money for to conserve wild African elephants and raised just over £4 million.

One of our customers, Larry Drummond, a photographer, used Just Joey for his work and then a Toronto publisher bought the image to feature on the cover of a romantic novel, The Wedding of the Century, by Mary Jo Putney.

In 2012, Just Joey, became the subject of a feature on Japanese television explaining how the name came into being and how it was bred.

Famous named roses

A Hybrid Tea developed just at the end of World War 2, was named “Peace”. On May 8, 1945, when Germany signed its surrender, the 49 delegates who met to form the United Nations were each presented with a bloom of ‘Peace’ and a message of peace from the Secretary of the American Rose Society.


The ‘Winchester Cathedral’ actually came about by accident.  The white rose  named after the famous cathedral, is actually  a “ sport” of  the original pink ‘Mary Rose’ . The Mary Rose was, of course, named after the famous ship.

The “Lady Emma Hamilton” was named after Admiral Lord Nelson’s mistress. Its buds are a dark red with dashes of orange and when fully open it is a tangerine orange on the inside of the petals and a more yellow orange on the outside.

“Olympic Spirit” was launched at Chelsea in 1998 by the athlete Tessa Sanderson to help the British Olympic Appeal.

“St Boniface” was launched in 1992 to honour the thirteen hundredth anniversary of this British saint.

“Fair Bianca” was named for the Shakespearean character Bianca, youngest daughter of Baptista in The Taming of the Shrew.  Her father will not let her marry until his elder daughter, Kate, has been married.

Many roses have been named in honour of someone famous to mark the setting up of a charity.  They include the “Freddie Mercury” launched after the Queen singer’s death from AIDS for the Phoenix Trust, the “George Best” for the foundation set up in his name to research liver disease, and “Desert Orchid” after the famous racehorse, and used to raise money for the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre.

Cultivation notes for July

Your second slow release fertilizer feed should be applied by third week in July.  Then no more should be used until after pruning next March.

Unfortunately, the unusual weather has seen an outbreak of powdery mildew, which is unsightly but does no real permanent harm. Spray with a fungicide such as Fungus Fighter which may help to prevent new growth being affected.

You can also plant containerised roses in July

When needed keep watering newly-planted roses.  Established roses should, except in exceptional circumstances, be able to look after themselves. Roses in permanent containers/pots should be watered regularly with approximately half a pail each.

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