Rose Horticulturist - Henry Bennett
Henry Bennett was the pioneer in the deliberate and systematic hybridization of roses. It is inspired by the systematic breeding he used in raising the cattle. He is known as the father of the Hybrid Tea class of rose. Among those cultivars, there are the Hybrid Tea ‘Lady Mary Fitzwilliam’ (1882), a parent of ‘Mme. Caroline Testout’ and the Hybrid Perpetuals ‘Captain Hayward’ (1893) and ‘Mrs. John Laing’ (1887).
2 Gold Medals from National Rose Society
Henry Bennett from A Cattle Farmer to A Rose Hybridizer
In the mid of 1800s, Henry Bennett was a cattle and wheat farmer before he started his career as a rose hybridizer. In 1870 to 1872, he visited rose hybridizers in France and he was surprised that the masters rose hybridization there did not practice deliberate hybridization through controlled pollination. The major short coming not practicing deliberate hybridization is the pollen parent was never known. It is significantly reduced the repeatability, control and genetic inheritance of the hybridization.
Henry Bennett Invented Glass House System for Rose Breeding
On returning home from France, Henry Bennett started to built a heated glass house, in order to allow him to keep his parent rose plants in pots and work nearly year-round with Tea roses, and gave him a longer bloom season with the Hybrid Perpetuals. During that time, other British rose hybridizers worked primarily in summer, Bennett’s system allowed him to begin cross-pollination in March. Which give him an edge in the market.
Henry Bennett Shaken the Rose Hybridization Industry
Henry Bennett first introduces his hybridized rose in 1879 and he was the first to guarantee the parentage of roses hybridization at that time. He claimed those roses are having better repeat bloom, higher petal count, and being ‘altogether different in type’ compared to other roses. Once Henry introduced his hybridization roses, other hybridizers rushed to copy Bennett’s system, with controlled pollination and heated glass houses.
In 1883, the National Rose Society introduced the gold medal, awarded to the most outstanding new rose introduced at one of its rose shows. With his controlled pollination and heated glass houses, Bennett introduced ‘Her Majesty’ (Hybrid Perpetual) in 1883 and ‘Mrs. John Laing’ (Hybrid Perpetual) in 1885 and won the first and second Gold Medals awarded.
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