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The 'Montréal' rose

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The 'Montréal' rose.
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Roméo Meloche)

Fact sheet

Origins

Jean Gaujard, President of Roseraies Gaujard, in France, created the 'Montréal' rose to commemorate the Floralies Internationales held here in the spring and summer of 1980.

Description

  • The plant is very vigorous and has an erect habit. The strong and very straight stems have few thorns, and bear elongated, coral pink flower buds. The leaves are broad and leathery, with 3 to 7 leaflets.
  • The large flowers are well formed, full, double and lightly scented. They are slow to open but produce a perfect bronze pink flower with 45 petals. Each flower is about 9 cm wide by 7 cm high.

Parents

The 'Montréal' rose is a cross between the 'Americana' rose and pollen from the 'Dora' rose. Its registration number is 1123.298, dated February 12, 1980.

From the 'Québec' rose to the 'Montréal' rose

The 'Montréal' rose was given its name after Robert Prévost, Quebec General Commissioner of Tourism in France, met Jean Gaujard, an internationally renowned horticulturist and President of Roseraies Gaujard S.A.

The story began when Mr. Prévost fortuitously learned, at the Quebec Delegation General in Paris, that there had long been a rose named 'Québec' available on the market.

After inquiring at different nurseries in and around Paris, he discovered that the 'Québec' variety had been created in 1943 by Jean Gaujard, of the Lyon region.

It was not difficult for Mr. Prévost to track down Mr. Gaujard, since he was one of the best-known creators of roses in France and was widely known in the horticultural community.

The two first met in May 1979, in Feyzin, at Roseraies Gaujard. Mr. Gaujard gave his guest a rundown of his family history, explaining how one of his ancestors, Pierre Gaujard, had worked at the Versailles gardens in the days of Louis XIV, under the direction of the famous garden and park designer André Le Nôtre. The horticultural tradition had been passed down from father to son, and in 1845 the Feyzin rose garden was founded, in part to create new rose varieties.

Mr. Gaujard explained the birth of the 'Québec' rose as follows: “It was 1943, during the war. The Nazis in their jackboots were tromping all over French soil. All communication with the outside world was cut off. I believed that one day, soldiers from North America would come to help free my country, and that among them would be French-speaking soldiers from the St. Lawrence Valley. I decided right then and there to call my new rose 'Québec'.”

Horticulturists in the United States had already received this rose but were unable to communicate with France to find out its official name. So they gave it a very French name, calling it 'Madame Marie Curie'.

During his visit, Mr. Prévost noticed a rose identified with just a number and no name. He asked Mr. Gaujard about it and, after his host had given him some details about the new creation, suggested that it could be named 'Floralies de Montréal' to commemorate the horticultural event. Mr. Gaujard accepted the suggestion, but said he would like to name it simply ‘Montréal’.

Mr. Prévost later met one of his friends, André Boily, who had just been named Commissioner General of the Floralies Internationales de Montréal, and explained his plan. Mr. Boily enthusiastically agreed. In spring 1980, Mr. Gaujard sent 150 rose bushes to the city of Montréal, which then went into production in the Botanical Garden’s greenhouses.

You can admire 'Montréal' roses in the Rose Garden at the Montréal Botanical Garden.

Based on an article by Normand Cornellier in Bulletin de la SAJIB, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 24-25.

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