At the end of 19th Century, and especially during the first decades of the last century, some Catalan rose breeders started working to introduce the varieties of modern roses that were grown in other Southern European regions into Catalonia. Their work was the foundation of Catalan rose growth tradition, which became rooted during the first half of 20th Century thanks to the support of the Association Friends of the Rose of Barcelona, as well as to the mastery and design of Nicolau M. Rubió and Tuduri and Jean Forestier’s Gardens and mainly to the international recognition of the rose breeders creations.
The Aldrufeu brothers, the pioneers
Joaquim Aldrufeu was a pioneer in introducing new techniques to grow roses in Catalonia and Spain. By 1870 he founded a horticultural establishment where his brother Domènec also worked. It was in there where Pere Dot learned how to hybridize roses.
Pere Dot (1885-1976), the universal rose breeder
Pere Dot Martínez was the most outstanding Catalan breeder. His creations, awarded in international contests since 1924, encouraged different generations of rose breeders to obtain new varieties of roses. His work has been the key for rose breeding tradition in our country. From 1924 to 1957 he was awarded with 26 golden medals and 17 merit certificates in international contests.
After the Spanish Civil War he was renowned especially for his miniature roses, nonexistent before then. His work has been recognized all around the world. He began a rose breeding lineage that goes on until today. His sons, Simó and Marí, his daughter in law, Gertrudis, and his grandsons, Víctor, Robert, Pere and Jordi, have created new varieties of roses. We could say that the Dots, through generations, have created more than 200 recognized roses, like: R. Angel Guimerà (1926), R. Canigo (1927), R. Nevada (1927), R. Madame Gregoire Staechelin (1927, R. Sóller (1949), R. Para ti (1946), R. Duquesa de Peñaranda (1931), R. Si (1957), all of them by P. Dot; Chiripa (1957) by Gertrudis F. de Dot; R. Armor (1973) by Marino Dot; Congratulations (1970) by Simón Dot; R. President Tarradellas (1978) by Marino Dot; R. R. Victoria dels àngels (1981) by Jordi Dot; Coral Floc (1984) and R. Gloria Dot (1986) by A. Dot; R. Joana Mariano (1995) by Víctor Dot; R. t Albania (1989) by Jordi Dot.
Cebrià Camprubí Nadal (1889-1972) was one of the most important Catalan rose breeders. In 1972 this international rose breeder started off his work in his crops in Cornellà, Gavà and Sant Feliu. In 1927 he settled down in Sant Joan Despí, from where he managed his business. Cebrià Camprubí started up a family tradition followed by his sons Carles, Josep and Cebrià up to our days. Some of his achievements were awarded in international contests, such as R. Marquesa de Urquijo (Pilar Landecho’s synonym, 1938), R.J. A. Gomís (1933) and R.Tristesa (1953).
Llorenç Pahissa (1890-1940), the ill-fated rose breeder
He was the most prestigious and internationally renowned rose enthusiast from Sant Feliu. Amongst his work, we find R. Lorenzo Pahissa (1941), Bagatelle golden medal in 1941. He died unaware of this award.
Francesc Bofill (1903-1985), the rose breeder from Torre Blanca
This rose breeder worked for the Dots for 35 years, first for Simó Dot and later for Pere Dot. In 1949, once the trading brand Roses Torre Blanca had been founded, he took charge of the technical management of rose cropping and hybridization. He created 8 new breeds of roses, the main ones being R. Marquesa de Aguilar (1955) and R. Señora de Carulla (1961).
The Ferrer Family, producers and breeders
Francisco Ferrer Martí (1919-2004) was the pioneer of an important lineage of producers. Since 1944 this Valencian rose breeder was trained in Sant Feliu de Llobregat and Sant Joan Despí by the rose breeders Dot, Munné and Camprubí. Pere Dot taught him his hybridization techniques. Apart from growing roses for foreign breeders and maintaining his important rose nursery, Francisco Ferrer himself created 24 varieties of roses.
He started off a lineage of rose breeders with his children Matilde, Francisco and José Ferrer Sena, all of them leading several companies in the rose field. Amongst his more than 50 creations, we find the millenary rose of Sant Feliu (2002), R. Barcelona and R. Vanesa Campello.
Other rose breeders
The Munnés were another lineage of rose breeders. Blai Munné i Pons, the patriarch, started his career in Sarrià, Barcelona, in the middle of 19th Century. By 1917 he moved to Gavà, where he worked as a gardener and a rose breeder. He achieved several international awards, such as the Saverne golden medal in 1932 for the rose Elena Castelló, and the Bagatelle merit certificate for the pearl R. Pau Vila in 1935. Blai Senior died in 1941 and his children continued his work.
Although rose breeding was a man’s world, some women such as Pilar Mata de Bassó excelled in breeding roses. After some achievements previous to the Spanish Civil War, she created R. Micheline (1953) by crossing two Dot roses.
Josep Padrossa Borrell (1875-1946) promoted pollination with bees in springtime. One of his creations was R. Toresky (1931), awarded in one of the Pedralbes contests, and R. Cotorrita Real (1931).
Other Catalan breeders were Joan Bordas (R. Maria Teresa, 1953) and Pere Marsal (R. Edelmira Marsal, 1901).