The Peace Rose

March 22, 2014

 According to Wikipedia, the Peace rose was developed by French horticulturist Francis Meilland in the years 1935 to 1939. When he foresaw the German invasion of France he sent cuttings to friends in Italy, Turkey, Germany, and the United States to protect the new rose. It is said, that it was sent to the US on the last plane available before the German invasion, where it was safely propagated by the Conard Pyle Co. during the war.

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As Meilland sent his cuttings just before the war, communication between the cultivators was not possible, which is why the rose received different names. In France it was called ‘Madame A. Meilland’, in honor of the breeder’s mother. This is the formal cultivar name; all other names are selling names. In Italy it was called Gioia (It. for joy), in Germany Gloria Dei (lat. for glory of God) and in the USA, Peace.

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The rose became known as Peace because in early 1945 Meilland wrote to Field Marshal Alan Brooke, the principal author of the master strategy that won the Second World War, to thank him for his key part in the liberation of France and to ask if Brooke would give his name to the rose. Brooke declined saying that, though he was honored to be asked, his name would soon be forgotten and a much better and more enduring name would be “Peace”.  The adoption of the trade name “Peace” was publicly announced in the United States on 29 April 1945 by the introducers, Messrs Conard Pyle Co.. This was the very day that Berlin fell, officially considered the end of the Second World War in Europe. Later that year Peace roses were given to each of the delegations at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco, each with a note which read:

“We hope the ‘Peace’ rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace”.

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It is easy to see why the Peace rose is as popular today as it was in 1945.  Its delicate beauty certainly does “influence thoughts of everlasting peace”.

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