Friday, August 22, 2008


Picture #3 of my Washington/Victoria trip

Among the roses, the ‘Peace’ rose is unique. It has truly played a significant role in world peace.
It was christened the day that Berlin fell in 1945. That same year, Dr. Ray Allen, secretary of the American Rose Society, arranged for each of the 49 delegations at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco to receive a bud vase with a single, long-stemmed ‘Peace’ rose. He attached the following note, “We hope the ‘Peace’ rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace.”

On the fiftieth anniversary of the rose’s introduction, the firm responsible for its creation released some notes that Francis Meilland had recorded about the plant. He and his father were owners of Meilland, the legendary French rose firm. He wrote, “For all people of good will who love flowers and the rose in particular, it gives the opportunity to praise God with ‘Gloria Dei,’ (the name under which the rose was known in Germany) to conquer life with a smile—with ‘Gioia,’ (the name the Italian rose growers gave the plant) to wish for peace with ‘Peace,’ and for us it is an everlasting remembrance of Mme. A. Meilland.”

Naturally, the most remarkable feature of ‘Peace’ is its flowers. These can be six to seven inches wide. They’re fully double with over fifty petals. Depending on the climate, the flowers can vary somewhat in color. Here’s what Robert Pyle of Conard-Pyle wrote in 1945 to Francis Meilland, “While dictating this letter my eyes are fixed in fascinated admiration of a glorious rose, its pale gold, cream and ivory petals blending to a lightly ruffled edge of delicate carmine. I am convinced this will be the greatest rose of the century.”

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