A fortune for a rose (1905)

Fortune for a rose

A wonderful new variety which brings thirty thousand dollars

Is a ravishing pink and crimson tea — one to two hundred thousand dollars expected profit — other huge figures for flowers

A Washington gardener has originated what is believed by expert florists to be the finest rose ever grown — the Queen Beatrice.

It is a tea of a peculiar shade of pink with a touch, in the bud, of light crimson. Its particular merit lies probably in the fact that none of the beauty of its coloring is destroyed either in natural or artificial light. Added to this it has a fragrance equal to, if not superior to, that of the American Beauty. The rose grows on straight and sturdy stems from two to three feet long; its parents are the two well-known varieties, Liberty and Madam Chatenay, the former, one of the most popular crimson varieties, but uncertain in the production of perfect blooms. Queen Beatrice has none of the faults of its parents and combines all of their good qualities; it is resistant to insect and mildew attacks, and capable of forcing on the hothouse bench.

Grown at Gardiner Hubbard Mansion It was originated by Peter Bissett, and will be put on the market by Florist F H Kramer of Washington. Bissett is the head gardener of Mrs Gardiner Hubbard, the widow of the late Gardiner Hubbard, at one time president of the National Geographic Society. She is the mother-in-law of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. The new rose was produced at her beautiful suburban residence, Twin Oaks, just outside of the national capital.

The leading florists of the country have known of the existence of this rose for a year and have made various tempting offers for it, but it remained for Florist Kramer to offer $30,000 and finally secure the beauty.

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Such a fabulous sum for a rose seems insignificant, however, when it is remembered that but a few years ago Thomas Lawson of “Frenzied Finance” fame paid $30,000 for a mere carnation, while the greater amount of $125,000 was expended for the “Fiancee” carnation. It is hinted that Mr Lawson cleaned up over $100,000 out of the Lawson pink and the buyers of the “Fiancee” carnation easily doubled the amount expended.

Origin of the American Beauty

And yet the “American Beauty” of whom every flower lover is fond has a very, very sad history. A number of years ago a Washington gardener who made only a specialty of garden roses, received from abroad a shipment of plants, among which was a “mongrel.” This, with out-of-door culture produced very large and fragrant blooms. It attracted the attention of Thomas Fields, a Washington florist. Nothing was known by him of the forcing qualities of this rose in the greenhouse, but as he rather liked its color and general appearance, one afternoon while her husband was absent, he purchased the single plant from Mrs Ready for five dollars.

Ready, when he retired and was told of the sale, believed that his wife had asked too much for the flower. Fields experimented with the plant and found that it exceeded even his fondest hopes. He named it the “American Beauty” and probably cleared $25,000 on this one deal. Today, Ready is still a gardener, doing odd jobs for people around town — spading up gardens, supplying rich earth and planting shrubs.

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Mr Kramer is a Washington florist with large experience in the flower line, many new and interesting novelties having originated in his greenhouses. Among the popular garden roses which he produced are the “Climbing Meteor,” a climbing variety with large red blooms; “Champion of the World,” “Robert E Lee,” “F H Kramer,” and many other sorts which have been sold to catalogue houses and named by them. He has just originated the “Climbing American Beauty,” which will probably be listed by flower-sellers next spring. He recently exhibited in Washington the “F H Kramer” carnation — a deep pink sort — which many well-known florists have declared to be the equal of either the “Lawson” or “Fiancee.”

He states that no plants of the “Queen Beatrice” rose will be ready for distribution before the spring of 1907, during which time a large sum of money will he expended in the erection of hothouses and the cultivation and growing of hundreds of thousands of young plants. The estimate is made that probably $150,000 or $200,000 will be made from this flower.

Attempted graftings

Various artifices have been tried by clever but unscrupulous people to obtain specimens of the “Queen Beatrice” rose, many coming into the Kramer establishment where a huge bouquet of the blooms was on exhibition, offering to purchase at large prices a single flower for a boutonniere. Others have gone so far as to order elaborate funeral designs with the proviso that nothing but this particular kind of rose be used. These were only dodges to obtain the healthy wood for slipping and growing, for the best time to make rose cuttings is either just before or immediately after the plant comes into bloom.

One Washington florist who originated the “Ivory” rose — a handsome white flower, and a sport of “Golden Gate” — was unwise enough to sell cut flowers, thereby enabling the purchasers to propagate the variety cheaply.

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The Washington Florists’ Club recently awarded the new “Queen Beatrice” rose a certificate of merit, the first of the kind ever given by the club. The new flower is so striking and beautiful that every member of the club consented to the award.

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