Parentage: (‘George Dickson' x ‘Souvenir de Claudius Pernet') x (‘Joanna Hill' x ‘Chas. P. Kilham') x ‘Margaret McGredy'. Hybridized by the French hybridizer Francis Meilland in the late 1930s, and introduced by Conard-Pyle Co., West Grove, PA. in 1945.
The rose that is called ‘Peace' in the United States and Great Britain is called ‘Mme Antoine Meilland' in France, ‘Gioia' in Italy and ‘Gloria Dei' in Germany. ‘Peace' is one of the most famous roses of the century if not of all times. It is one of the few modern roses surrounded by legend and myth.
One story goes that it was hybridized in France in the last years before World War II, and escaped as unnamed cuttings in the last American diplomatic bag to leave Paris as World War II began. Recognized as a winner, the rose was propagated by Conard-Pyle Co., a leading American rose nursery and released in 1945. Because it returned in peacetime to a liberated France, ‘Peace' was the name the rose was given. Later, the ‘Peace' rose decorated all the tables at the organizational meeting of the United Nations.
Another version of the story of ‘Peace' is that it began in France when the Nazi invasion forced young Francis Meilland to smuggle three one-pound packages of an experimental rose into other countries. Two of the packages were confiscated, but the third made it to Robert Pyle of Conrad-Pyle Co. in the United States. Ten years later, after this rose of outstanding character and quality had been tested throughout the United States, the ARS planned a special name-giving ceremony. At the Pacific Rose Society Exhibition in Pasadena, CA, Robert Pyle declared "We are persuaded that this greatest new rose of our time should be named for the world's greatest desire - Peace." Francis Meilland's rose was given its American and English name ‘Peace' on April 29, 1945, the day Berlin fell to the allies.
The day the war with Japan ended, ‘Peace' was given the ARS All-America Award. A month later, the day the peace treaty was signed with Japan, ‘Peace' received the ARS's supreme Award, the Gold Medal. ‘Peace' has won most of the world's top rose awards: Gold Medal Portland 1944, All-America Rose Selection in 1946, ARS National Gold Medal 1947, Golden Rose of the Hague 1965, Hall of Fame 1976.
Another melodramatic story, so often told, is that budwood of ‘Peace' was smuggled out of the south of France by a heroic U.S. embassy official in November 1942, just hours before the German invasion. It's a very good story, but the truth of the matter according to Francis Meilland, is that budwood was sent to Germany, Italy and the United States via ordinary postal channels in the summer of 1939. Southern France at that time was not yet invaded. It was perfect timing. By receiving few cuttings in 1939, Conard-Pyle was able to introduce this rose at the San Francisco conference to found the United Nations, the day Berlin fell in 1945. If these cuttings were received in November 1942 they could not have started budding until 1943, and they could not have built up enough stock of this rose in time for nationwide distribution three years later.
‘Peace' is a vigorous, bushy, upright plant, 4-5 ft. tall with stiff canes covered with large, leathery, dark green, glossy foliage with good disease-resistant quality. New growth appears light red. ‘Peace' is a big plant that resents heavy pruning. Colors vary from day to day but are essentially golden yellow edged in rose pink. Flowers were huge in 1940s. Somehow ‘Peace' planted in the 1940s and still thriving today at a well-maintained public garden, war memorial, or at the home of a veteran gardener are larger compared to the blooms on the ‘Peace' plant you will receive from any nursery today. Even if genetic science tells you otherwise, still the ‘Peace' sold today is just a pale imitation of the old ‘Peace'. Buds are high-centerred and cupped at opening. Blooms are double (40 to 45 petals), 5 to 6 incles across, near perfect in form and more or less continuous flowering throughout the season. It has a slight fragrance. It is a good exhibiton rose and an excellent cut flower. It's rated 8.0 on the 2011 Handbook for Selecting Roses. Vita Sackville-West hated it and thought it horridly coarse.
Hybrid teas bred since the 1950s often have at least a little ‘Peace' blood on it. Of the many mutations of ‘Peace' introduced over the years, the most popular is ‘Chicago Peace'. Other sports of ‘Peace' are ‘Berlin', ‘Garden Party', ‘Gold Crown', ‘Glowing Peace', ‘Love and Peace' (2002 AARS Selection), ‘Perfume Delight', ‘Pink Rose', ‘Princesse de Monaco', ‘Royal Highness', ‘Speaker Sun', ‘Sterling Silver', and ‘Tropicana'.
A Climbing form was introduced in 1950. ‘Climbing Peace' is a climbing sport of ‘Peace'. It has shiny, deep green, almost-leathery foliage, and it has a very pleasing color, peachy pink suffused with apricot yellow. Its buds are exquisitely pointed, and they open into large, long-lasting flowers. It is so robust and healthy that you never have to spray it with pesticides. Its one real flaw is a complete lack of fragrance.
Copyright © 2010. By Rosalinda Morgan, "The Rose Lady". All rights reserved. *ROSE OF THE MONTH - PEACE*
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