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Notable Rose Hybridizers

The list of rose breeders is long. The process of breeding was haphazard and poorly recorded in the early days. Many parents of the seedlings were unknown because of the lack of recording. It required both skill and luck. Two roses could produce 250 new roses with an array of colors, shapes, sizes, fragrances, blooms, and health. The following is a short review of some of the noted rose breeders that impacted the world of roses.


Jean-Pierre Vibert

Jean-Pierre Vibert is a 19th century master rose hybridizer that introduced hundreds of roses from 1816 to 1851. He was a modest man born on January 31st, 1777, in Paris, France. He joined Napoleon's First Army of the Republic. He was injured and returned home where he set up near Dupont, which was one of Empress Josephine's favorite rose suppliers. He took over a property from a noted rose breeder, Decemet. The property included Decemet's rose breeding notes, roses, seedlings, and nursery.

He suffered the loss of one of his daughters in 1815, followed by the death of his wife soon after. He put his energy into rose breeding and selling. He published essays and articles on roses in the 1820s. He spoke out against horticultural abuses, discussing the failure rate of 'forced grafts'. In one of his essays, he verbally attacked members of the court's horticultural society, made up of professors, botanists, artists, writers, and nurserymen. He became one of the most respected rosarians and nurserymen in Paris.

He offered many varieties of roses totaling 600. His named varieties include Chinas, teas, noisettes, Aimee Viberts (named after his daughter), centifolias, moses, and damasks. He introduced 'Parkes Yellow' tea-scented Chinas.

At the age of 74, he retired from his successful rose business and spent his time writing letters and articles for journals. His nursery business was sold to his foreman. He was quoted as saying, "I have loved only Napoleon and roses. There remain to me only two objects of profound hatred: the English who overthrew my idol and the white worms that have destroyed my roses". He died shortly after on January 25th, 1866. His life, as well as his roses, continues to influence the rose world today. He is a rosarian held in the highest esteem. Vibert's roses grown in our gardens include: 'Glorie de Rosmones' (1825) and 'Aimee Vibert' (1828).


Claude Ducher (1820–1874) began his nursery in 1845. His widow, Veuve Ducher, continued his work after his death. They raised teas and noisettes. One of their greatest accomplishments was 'Mlle. Cecile Brunner'. Climbing roses that they produced were the 'Reve d'Or' and its seedling 'William Allen Richardson' and "Bouquet d' Or".

Jean Pernet (1832–1896) started his nursery in 1856 in Lyon. His son Joseph was apprenticed at the age of 12 and later worked for Veuve Ducher. Joseph married her daughter, Marie Ducher, in 1881 and was appointed foreman of the nursery and became known as Joseph Pernet-Ducher. He worked with tea-noisettes and bred unusual parents to breed a new combination resulting in the tea-noisettes 'Beaute Inconstante' (1892) and 'Billard et Barre' (1898). Joseph Pernet-Ducher was active in the breeding of roses from 1870 to 1920. He produced large flowered hybrid teas. His greatest contributions to today's gardens was to breed yellow and orange hybrid teas, all descended from crossing with 'R. foetida persiana'.

Both of his sons were killed in action in World War I. He named the roses 'Souvenir de Claudius Pernet' and 'Souvenir de Georges Pernet' in their memory. Jean Gaujard took over his business after his death.

Roses we grow in our garden by Pernet-Ducher include:

'Beaute Inconstante' (Tea, 1892) | 'Mme. Ravary' (Permetiana, 1899) | 'Mme. Caroline Testout' (Tea) | 'Antoine Rivoire' (Tea)

Paul Nabonned

Jean-Baptiste Guillot

The Guillot family had six generations of rose growers. Jean-Baptiste Guillot was born on December 10th, 1803, in France. He settled in Lyon, France, and raised flowers and vegetables. In 1834, he focused his efforts on growing roses.

The first rose produced was a bourbon rose, "Lamartine" in 1842, named in honor of the French poet. Jean Baptiste died in Lyon on April 18th, 1882. His son Jean-Baptiste Andre (Guillot Fils) worked with his father at the age of 14 in the nursery business. He later created his own nursery firm, which resulted in the production of 80 new roses. His first creation was the tea rose 'Mme. Falcot', a seedling of Safrano (tea, 1839). He produced the first hybrid tea ('La France', 1867), that revolutionized the world of roses. He also bred one of the first polyanthas, 'Mignoette', in 1880. He produced roses that are known throughout the world today, including 'Catherine Mermet', 'Etoile de Lyon', and 'Mme. de Watteville'.

In 1884, Jean-Baptiste and his son, Pierre (Guillot Fils), produced many new varieties. Among them was 'Mme. Laurette de Messimy', a small-growing China rose. Pierre also created 'Comtesse du Cayla'. Altogether, he produced 41 different roses. Pierre died in 1893 at the age of 66.

Pierre's son, Marc, assumed the firm. He died early in 1953, leaving a wife and four boys. They took over the business and continued the promotion of the rose. The family business continues today and carries on their love for the rose.

Dr. Griffith Buck

Dr. Buck developed roses that were both cold-hardy and disease-resistant. 'Carefree Beauty' is one of the healthy shrubs he produced that does well in the Florida climate. A group of his roses in which one of the seed parents was that of 'Carefree Beauty' have been planted in our gardens to see how well they perform in Florida's climate.

Jean Gaujard

He was a rose breeder in Lyon, France. He succeeded Pernet-Ducher. He raised many large-flowered hybrid teas that were suited for the warm climate.

Rev. Joseph Pemberton

Rev. Joseph Pemberton lived from 1850 to 1926. He produced roses between 1900 and 1920. He was born on October 5th, 1852, in Essex, England. After his father's death in 1974, he continued to live with his sister, Florence. He grew his grandmother's roses, which gave him fond memories of childhood and family. With his sister as his helper, he decided to enter the family's roses in a rose show. He became an exhibiter of roses and was growing more than 4,000 roses at that time. He loved and admired his grandmother's roses and wanted to produce fragrant roses. In 1882, he took some of his grandmother's roses to a rose show. People admired these roses and thus developed an interest in the old garden rose. His ambition was to breed fragrant roses that would bloom up until Christmas. His grandmother's roses stopped blooming in July. He used the rose 'Trier' in the development of his roses because of its fragrance. He developed the line of hybrid musk roses that are large graceful arching shrubs. These shrubs produce fragrant white, pale-pink, and yellow flowers that bloom in clusters. Shrubs we grow by Pemberton include: 'Moonlight' (1913), 'Penelope' (1924), and 'Cornelia' (1925).

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