The ‘Peace’ rose was introduced to the world in 1945. Today this is one of the most popular roses in the garden and cut flower trade with over one-hundred million sold as of 1992. Much of the success of this beautiful rose lies in its perfect form, fragrance and colour; Large flowers, light yellow to cream color, slightly blushed at the petal edges with crimson-pink. For me it is the history of its origin that captured my heart.
In 1935 at the age of 23, French horticulturalist Francis Meilland, developed a hybridized tea rose known at the time as #3-35-40. In 1939 as war began in Europe, Meilland foresaw the impending invasion of France and secretly sent cuttings to friends in Italy, Turkey, Germany, and United States to protect the new rose. Rumor has it, that it was sent on the last U.S. plane out of Europe before the German invasion, to Conrad Pyle Company where it was successfully propagated during the war. For over five years, because of no communication due to the war, Meilland had no knowledge of what happened to the rose. It survived its clandestine journey under three separate names. In Germany- ‘Gloria Dei’ (Latin for glory of God), in Italy ‘Gioia’ (Joy), in the United States ‘Peace’ and in France, Meilland named it ‘Madame A. Meilland’ in memory of his dear mother. The latter name is recognized as the true cultivar while the others are the commercial names.
The variation of the commercial name ‘Peace’ was announced by the Conrad Pyle Company on April 29, 1945. Interestingly, on the same day that Berlin fell, which is also the day officially recognized as the end of WW2 in Europe. Later that year the ‘Peace’ rose was given to the delegates at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco with a note which read “We hope the 'Peace' rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace”.
It’s remarkable that sixty-six years later the ‘Peace’ rose is still the most enduring and beautiful hybrid tea rose on the market. Unfortunately world peace is still so elusive to our world today.
Nothing is more precious than peace. Peace is the most basic starting point for the advancement of humankind.
~Daisaku IkedaPeace rose image by Firegodess1-photobucket