By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District
As a boy growing up on the farm and helping my mother and grandmother tend to their rose bushes, I fondly remember the arrival of the Jackson & Perkins rose bush catalogs. The postman would always tell my mother when the Jackson & Perkins catalog was in that day’s mail with a big smile. You see, back then, the Jackson & Perkins roses catalogs were scented with a wonderful rose fragrance.
I came to love the smell of those catalogs over the years, nearly as much as the smiles I saw them bring to my mother and grandmother’s faces. Page after page of pictures of beautiful “bloom smiles” were featured in those catalogs. Bloom smiles is something I have come to call the blooms on all flowering plants, as I see their blooms as their smiles, gifts to us to help us through each moment of each day.
History of Jackson & Perkins Roses
Jackson & Perkins was founded in 1872, by Charles Perkins, with the financial backing of his father-in-law, A.E. Jackson. At the time his small business was wholesaling strawberries and grape plants from a farm in Newark, N.Y. He also sold his plants to those local folks whom stopped by his farm. Every Jackson & Perkins plant sold was guaranteed to grow.
Jackson & Perkins began the selling of rose bushes before the turn of the century. However, it was many years before rose bushes became the company’s main item sold. In 1896 the company hired Mr. E. Alvin Miller, who had an interest in roses and tried hybridizing them. Mr. Miller’s climbing rose bush named Dorothy Perkins was marketed and became one of the most widely planted rose bushes in the world.
Jackson & Perkins roses became a strong and sought after name when shopping for rose bushes. The name always seemed to be attached to a rose bush that any rose lover could count on to do exceptionally well in their very own rose beds.
The Jackson & Perkins Company of today is, of course, not the same company it was then and the ownership has changed hands a few times. The rose catalogs have long ago ceased being rose scented but are still filled with beautiful pictures of their rose bushes bloom smiles. Dr. Keith Zary heads up the hybridizing and research staff that still work very hard at developing many beautiful rose bushes for our rose beds.
A List of Jackson & Perkins Roses
Some of the Jackson & Perkins rose bushes available for our rose beds and rose gardens today include:
- Enchanted Evening Rose – Floribunda
- Fabulous! Rose – Floribunda
- Gemini Rose – Hybrid Tea
- Lady Bird Rose – Hybrid Tea
- Moondance Rose – Floribunda
- Pope John Paul II Rose – Hybrid Tea
- Rio Samba Rose – Hybrid Tea
- Stairway To Heaven Rose – Climber
- Sundance Rose – Hybrid Tea
- Sweetness Rose – Grandiflora
- Tuscan Sun Rose – Floribunda
- Veterans’ Honor Rose – Hybrid Tea