Roses in Catalonia
At the end of the 19th Century, and especially at the beginning of the 20th Century, the conception of gardening and cropping changed. Technical developments and fashion for travelling made rose breeding develop in Catalonia and Spain.
Joaquim Aldrufeu was remarkably important as he was one of the pioneers regarding the application of new genetic techniques to rose hybridization. Joaquim’s production was so vast that by 1890 he had already published 18 catalogs including more than 350 varieties of rose.
On the other hand, Joaquim Aldrufeu is also remarkable as he became one of the most important Catalan master rose breeders, alongside the likes of Pere Dot i Martinez, born in Sant Feliu, who is the ultimate rose breeder and the main referent in the rose field on a worldwide scale.
Roses in Sant Feliu and its region
It is not by chance that the Baix Llobregat region is mentioned when talking about rose breeding in Catalonia. Many illustrious names within Catalan and Spanish rose breeding tradition are linked to the Baix Llobregat: Camprubí, Torre Blanca, Llorenç Pahissa, Pere Dot and his descendants –born in Sant Feliu-, and the Marquis of Monistrol’s estate, spread over Sant Just Desvern, Sant Joan Despi and Sant Feliu de Llobregat, and well-known by its rose gardens until the 70s.
Pere Dot i Martínez was introduced into horticulture by his father Simó and started off a family tradition of rose breeding which so far has lasted for three generations.
His beginnings, though, were not easy. After arguing with his father because of his passion for floriculture, Pere started to work for Joaquim Aldrufeu. His interest in horticulture and above all floriculture took him to Belgium and France. It was actually in Paris where he found his true passion for roses after reading a book.
Actually he achieved his first breed using two French roses (Mme. Ravary and Mme. Edouard Herriot), resulting in the variety named Margarita Riera.
From that moment on his production increased along with his reputation. After 1936 he started researching how to obtain small roses, known as miniatures, and he managed to obtain the smallest rose in the world, called Si. He gave it that name because when asked if it was the smallest rose in the world, he answered “Si” (Yes). Some of the most remarkable miniatures are Perla de Alcanada, Regina, Perla de Montserrat or Para ti.
However, the challenge had just begun for Pere. He started working to obtain slimmer roses, with longer stems, bigger leaves and new colors. Regarding color, his son Marí Dot obtained a very dark rose which was named Tarradelles.