One of my favourite English Roses is The Ingenious Mr Fairchild. I’ve just recently posted a picture of this wonderful rose from David Austin Roses.
Really though, who can resist a name like The Ingenious Mr Fairchild, how cool is that???
I love the shaggy, peony-style blooms and the very good old rose scent, but… it is the name that gets me every time.
The rose is named after the title of a book about Thomas Fairchild, a famous 18th century botanist. The publisher of this biography (shown below) gives a good summary:
By the early eighteenth century botanists were inching towards the shocking truth that plants had male and female organs and reproduced sexually. The first person to realize the practical implications of this was London nurseryman and author Thomas Fairchild. By transferring the pollen of a sweet William into the pistil of a carnation, he created a new plant that became known as ‘Fairchild’s Mule’: the first man-made hybrid in Europe. But this primitive form of genetic engineering aroused a scientific and religious furore.
The Ingenious Mr Fairchild introduced the method of breeding plants that would eventually lead to the breeding of thousands of plants which we have in our gardens today, including the rage for breeding roses that has occurred over the past 200 years.
Thanks Thomas, our Ingenious Mr Fairchild, for bringing us an amazing variety of roses to grow in our gardens today, and thanks David Austin for a lovely rose that helps us to remember him.