Last week, at the Huntington Botanical Gardens, I had the unique opportunity to meet one of the foremost international leaders in roses - Alain Meilland, of the House of Meilland, where he was the featured guest for the Great Rosarians of the World event. He is the 6th generation to lead this company, which is probably most famous for producing the hybrid tea rose known as 'Peace'. It is perhaps the most recognized rose of all time and figures into the lineages of a great many of the modern roses on the market today.
He shared about the importance of family, friends, and roses in his life. Due to his father's unexpected passing, Alain had to take the helm of the company at the early age of 18 years.
One of the more interesting things about their operation is that they built their greenhouses on tracks so that the surviving rose seedling plants could be exposed to the outdoor elements without having to transplant them. Instead of moving the roses outdoors like I have to do, the greenhouses are "rolled" out of the way - pretty slick!
My rose hybridizing efforts are dwarfed by the tremendous work done in France by the House of Meilland. Nevertheless, I still have hopes for producing something unique and worthwhile. After all, this rose hybridizing hobby is not only about numbers, but it is a combination of having the sometime good fortune of doing the right cross at the right time.
It was a real pleasure meeting the man, Alain Meilland. I hope to have the opportunity to one day meet him again in France.