Tuesday, November 2, 2010


WHITE O'HARA, with apologies to Scarlett O'Hara. Or should it be Rhett Butler?     Clearly, all our harangueing of rose breeders as well as impressing on growers both in Ecuador and Colombia that fragrance is an extremely important component is finally starting to pay off. In association with those pleas, our desire for more romantic flower forms are also being addressed and now we can see that roses with characteristics of the old damask, bourbon and gallica roses are finally appearing in commercial cut flower production. At Mayesh we have reiterated these concepts like a broken record for the last twenty years, so it is gratifying to see the market finally catch up to our needs and wishes. And lets be clear, these are not original ideas but simply the manifestation of what our customer have been telling us for years.
For almost twenty five years, Mayesh has been selling fragrant garden roses in its Los Angeles location, and were the pioneers in Southern California for this esoteric product. We purchased them from Ray Ridell's rose farm in Northern California, a man who was certainly way ahead of his time.
The problem with garden roses is that they are bred to be enjoyed on shrubs in the garden, and thus generally do not have a good vase life. However, the fragrance and the romantic rosettes are simply too alluring to be ignored and slowly the marketplace demanded these products and the obvious flaws were tolerated fro many years. Nonetheless, it was obvious that this could never be anything more than a niche market, as issues with weak peduncles, debilitating diseases, especially downy mildew and aphid infestations, made them an item only for the most esoteric designers who were determined to capture the look and feel of sumptuous "Belle Epoque' rose garlands and arrangements. 
Today however, we can now count several roses that have been bred specifically for the commercial cut flower industry that have delightful fragrance, many of which have the double petal forms that are so much in demand but which deliver the critical floral pre-requisite of performance for the consumer.

Of course we are now familiar with David Austin's roses that he created specifically for the cut-flower industry, the most notableof which is "Patience" a spectacular white rose with a  fully double, quartered rosette that is a destined to be a classic. "Patience" has a delightful light sweet fragrance and overall is reminiscent of the exquisite garden rose "Felicité Hardy". "Vitality" is another exceptional white rose from the breeder De Ruiters, and although it is a somewhat high centered tea rose, it opens to a rather attractive aperture and is divinely fragrant. It has an exceptional vase life.
A few years ago, the French breeder Delbard introduced a delightful pink rose called O'Hara, which featured many attributes of a garden rose but is in fact bred for the commercial cut flower market. It has a disarmingly casual habit and opens somewhat loosely, liked a ruched silk scarf. It has a sweet aroma and is a delightful flower. And this summer, its companion "White O'Hara" was introduced to the marketplace.
The introduction of this rose, along with "Vitality", represents a seminal moment in the rose industry as several breeders have now demonstrated that it is possible to produce a vigorous, viable product for the cut flower industry that combines the desirable aesthetic attributes associated with garden roses with the hardy and abuse-tolerant  aspects of a commercial cut rose.
After doing several vase tests, we are of the opinion that "White O'Hara" will be a much sought after rose for weddings and events in 2011. We observed the following charcatersitics which we shall share with you here:
In the stage at which is shipped the bud is somewhat indifferent and resembles a rather bland hybrid tea. Removal of the guard petals is recommended, and probaly necessary, as they do sustain some bruising on transit. As the rose starts to open, a pink hue will be observed in the heart of the rose, and rather characteristically some will appear more pink than others. At the half way stage many of the blooms will reveal a formation of double and more typically triple hearts which are not particularly attractive, but this is just a phase. Shortly thereafter the rose develops into a very informal rosette which resembles, likes its cousin "O'Hara", a gathered handful of the finest creamy white silk. The pink hues fade away, and the result is an oustanding casual double rosette, very American in its loose disposition, and which holds in the vase.
Of course, while it is undoubtedly beautiful to look at, the coup de grace is the superb sweet scent, echoing sweet vanilla pods with notes of peach aroma and the fragrance of lilac.
The grower has assured Mayesh of a substantial supply of these roses for 2011 and beyond.
In fact we have his word on it!

For more information on this rose and all the Mayesh products please contact your sales associate or click here.


  1. Fabulously gorgeous!

    David - Are you familiar with a rose call "Ivanhoe"? Stumbled across it on the Flower Academy Belgium blog - http://florabee.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/news-for-those-who-have-asked-this-amazing-creature-is-called-ivanhoe-she-also-has-an-equally-beautiful-sister-in-white-witha-green-heart-called-not-so-romantically-but-maybe-its-just-her-nickn/

    But no one can find it for me here... :-(

  2. Sprout, the "Green Eyes" is, or will be available shortly. I shall hunt for "Ivanhoe", although I am sure there is something very similar in the marketplace right now.
    Watch this space.

  3. I am always watching this space!

  4. wow, what an amazing rose, amazing. I want some!


Related Posts with Thumbnails