In my last post on the Greenwich Park Rose Garden, I mentioned a learning curve... turns out this is looking more and more like a steep hill, but I am sure the view at the top is worth the climb!

Memento: DICbar
It all started when I decided to find out why the two roses I have already talked about, the Peacekeeper and the Lord Mountbatten, had been given their names. You want to imagine some romantic reason behind it all: a mysterious woman, stolen diamonds, secret societies, Hercule Poirot... I did of course suspect that the Lord Mountbatten had some sort of connection with the 'real life' Lord Mountbatten, but I wasn't sure what: was he a rose lover? did he grow roses? You know, the kind of questions the answers to which will not make any bit of difference to your life, but you start obsessing about them, if you are like me!

Loving Memory: KORgund81
In my various searches, I did not really find out much about the 'why' of roses names, but I managed to create more opportunities for more questions for myself! Anyhow, along the way I found out that both of my roses had in fact two names; on most websites, on the information section accompanying their mugshot, I noticed that there was a 'registered name' and an 'exhibition name' ('trade name' for the US, ever so pragmatic!). So, my Lord Mountbatten, this name being the exhibition name, was also called HARmantelle, which, as has been mentioned, was its registration name. A similar thing for the Peacekeeper, I found out that its registration name was in fact HARbella. Strange, me thinks! Why would that be?

Margaret Merril: HARkuly

And another thing, before you start thinking that I am having a problem with my CAPS LOCK, the HARmantelle, and the HARbella, were actually written that way on more than one website, the first three letters as capitals. Doubly strange, me thinks! And here I go, in search of information I don't really need, with little clue as to what I should search for anyways, in the first instance.... But - praise be given to the internet - I did quite quickly come up with some answers, albeit rather scattered and fragmented, some bits I found in some places and some other bits in others; so, I have decided to summarise here all these little bits. For those who, like me, are a bit obsessive in their love of learning new things, I will post a separate article at some point with 'credits' and links to blogs, websites, or other, which I have found very helpful so you can go and read some more.

Troika: POUmidor
What is in a name?
When a breeder produces a new specimen that s/he feels might be successful as a commercial product, they register it with the International Cultivar Registration Authority. The cultivar registration name is like a code, not really a name - and definitely not something which would stick in your mind... imagine, you see the KORgund81 somewhere and love it so much you decide to plant one in your back garden, when you get back from holidays... well, I don't think KORgund81 would stick in your memory that long. On the other hand, if I told you that particular cultivar is sold under the name Loving Memory, I am sure you'd be able to recall that easily on your next trip to the garden centre.

Peacekeeper: HARbella
The code is usually made of initial capitals, a unique indentifier given to the breeder by the International Cultivar Registration Authority, and is usually made of the first few letters of the breeder's last name, or the company s/he works for. So, HAR is for Harkness. Et voilà! Simples... Now, my satisfaction at knowing something never lasts very long, as my brain is so wired that as soon as I get an answer to one question, I immediately find something else to ponder about. In this case, I quickly came to wonder WHY, if the trade name / exhibition name is easier to remember, why not simply register the cultivar with that name?

Well, it turns out the same rose may be given different trade names in different countries, so, for example, the sweet smelling KORzaun, known by its friendlier name Royal William in the UK, goes by Leonora Christine in Denmark, or La Magie du Parfum in France. So, should you be tempted to buy a plant in France, looking at the sticker, which shows both trade and registration names, will ensure you do not buy the same plant three times!

Lord Mountbatten: HARmantelle
Additionally, it seems that the world of rose breeders is a little like the world of perfume makers, or virtuoso composers, with some earning serious reputations for a distinctive style. Apparently, there are some 'traits' which can be found across roses bred by one particular breeder, and knowing that a particular rose you wish to plant comes from a breeder whose other cultivars have done well in your garden in the past, should be a sign that the new one is likely to succeed too...

What an amazing world, the world of roses and rose breeding... I think I am becoming a bit of a rose-watcher, and if this category does not exist yet, well, I am happy inventing it!