Friday, April 2, 2010

The Rose Gets Fussy

Rose growing while still popular in the early part of the 20th century, was no longer set against the backdrop of the leisure time of the Victorian Era. Two wars, a great depression and the movement to the cities meant attention was elsewhere.

However, after World War II the United States in particular entered an era of unprecedented prosperity. The Marshall plan in Europe meant they too would join in although it would take longer. In addition chemicals were suddenly cheap, popular and naively considered safe to use. The vision of Leave it To Beaver’s Mother June Cleaver tending roses in her skirt, pearls and quaffed hair had arrived.

Hybrid Teas were the rage and as mentioned the flower form of the Peace rose set the standard to be built upon. Cheap chemicals meant disease resistance was not an issue. Many families had only one working parent, the Soccer Mom had yet to arrive on the scene and homes in the suburbs meant space for gardening.

The demand was for high centered Hybrid Teas on long stems and the rose industry complied. Fragrance began to lose importance as did disease resistance and vigor. Why worry about it when you could hop down to your local hardware store and buy DDT! Form was everything. What did happen is that many roses really meant for the cut flower/exhibition market were now being sold as Garden Roses which for the most part they were not.

But meanwhile in Europe.....
(stay tuned!)

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