Harkness Roses

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Blooming legacies, roses that enchant.
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Harkness Roses has a rich history dating back to 1879 when it was established by brothers John Harkness and Robert Harkness in Bedale, Yorkshire. The business quickly gained recognition and success, with Queen Victoria herself purchasing roses from Harkness & Sons in the 1890s. Notably, renowned garden designer Gertrude Jekyll was also a prominent customer during her career.

In 1892, John and Robert realized that the Yorkshire climate was not ideal for expanding their rose-growing business. As a solution, they decided to establish a branch of the firm in a warmer location. Robert, after a coin toss, moved to Hitchin, Hertfordshire, and founded what is now known as Harkness Roses. In 1901, the brothers dissolved their partnership and created two separate nurseries.

The legacy of rose breeding and cultivation continued with Jack Harkness, the grandson of co-founder John Harkness. Jack established the first rose hybridization program at the company in 1962, focusing on developing vigorous and healthy roses through hybridization with wild rose species. Over the years, Harkness Roses gained recognition for their successful cultivars, particularly in the hybrid teas and floribundas categories.

Robert Harkness, son of Jack Harkness, contributed to the family legacy by breeding over seventy rose varieties during his career. Notably, his varieties such as Rosa 'Belmonte' and 'Princess of Wales' gained acclaim, and Harkness Roses received numerous medals at prestigious flower shows and rose trials worldwide.

Today, Harkness Roses is led by Philip Harkness, son of Jack Harkness, as the Chairman, along with David White as the Managing Director. Together with their dedicated team of horticulturists, they continue the tradition of breeding exceptional roses. Recent releases such as 'The Captain Tom' rose, 'John Ystumllyn Rose,' 'The Duke of Edinburgh Rose,' and 'The Queen Elizabeth II Rose' have garnered significant popularity. In 2021, Harkness Roses also achieved a Gold Medal at the esteemed RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

With a commitment to developing roses that bring joy to the buying public, Harkness Roses invests in an extensive breeding and research program. Their rigorous selection process ensures that only the most robust varieties, capable of thriving without disease protection, make it to market. The company strives to create roses that are not only beautiful and fragrant but also easy to grow, enhancing the experience of gardeners and rose enthusiasts alike.