“Ann’s Beautiful Daughter.” “Champagne Elegance.” “Flying Doctor ’03.”
Visitors to the Greater Atlanta Rose Show (May 7-8), hosted by the Greater Atlanta Rose Society on Mother’s Day weekend, might notice that the floral competitors can have rather unusual monikers. The American Rose Society is there to judge every stem’s form and shape, and they also have the final say on approving rose names.
So how exactly does a flower come to be known as “Foxy Lady,” “Dolly Parton,” or “El Presidente”? After years of developing the perfect rose specimen, the hybridizer submits a name request to the American Rose Society’s registration committee. If the rose is being named for a person, the submission always requires a letter of authorization, whether the namesake is a celebrity or not. (The registration committee also will not approve names with any profanity.)
Until the mid-20th century, most roses were named only for royalty, but that changed around the 1950s. Today, so long as the rose meets the requirements, the hybridizer receives a patent to make it official. A few roses even have local connections.
Photography credits: King: Image Collect/Bill Holz/Globe Photos; Carter: Image Collect/Michael Ferguson/Globe Photos; Scarlett: Everett Collection; Illustrations by Kendyll Hillegas
This article originally appeared in our May 2016 issue.