---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 05 Mar 2002 16:51:41 -0800
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: A rose by name of Chavez
March 3, 2002
A rose by name of Chavez
By Lisa McKinnon, Staff writer
A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but it wouldn't mean as
much to followers of Cesar Estrada Chavez, the late founder of the
United Farm Workers.
Available to home gardeners for the first time this year, the rose
honoring the former Oxnard resident and farm labor negotiator was
developed through a partnership agreement involving the UFW, the largest
commercial grower of roses in the U.S. and its employees.
A portion of the proceeds from sales of the hybrid tea rose will benefit
educational and outreach programs operated by the Cesar E. Chavez
"We have used the rose in a few ceremonial occasions, from a source who
has been growing it for a while," said foundation spokeswoman Annie
The rest of us will have to wait: The new Cesar E. Chavez rose is at
this point being sold through nurseries and garden centers as a bare
root, which to the beginning rosarian will look like nothing more than a
bunch of sticks jutting out of a plastic bag with a pretty picture of a
rose on the front. (Some bare-root plants are sold directly out of
containers filled with potting soil; you pick the one you want and take
it home with roots wrapped in plastic or burlap.)
As spring progresses, the sticks -- called canes -- will leaf out and
produce buds. Those buds will lead to what is described in rose catalogs
as bright red blooms of 30 to 35 petals each, with a "light, sweet
Developed in part at a breeding facility in Somis and then grown in
production fields near Bakersfield, the Cesar E. Chavez rose is the
second commemorative rose to come from a UFW contract agreement for the
more than 1,000 farm workers at Bear Creek Corp., parent company of the
well-known rose growers Jackson & Perkins.
The first was Our Lady of Guadalupe, a ruffled, silvery-pink floribunda
inspired by a legend in which Mary, mother of Jesus, directed an Aztec
peasant to an abundance of roses growing in the frozen ground atop
The Our Lady of Guadalupe rose was blessed by Cardinal Roger Mahony of
the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles in a September 2000 ceremony at
Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in downtown Los Angeles. Five
percent of net sales of the rose will help fund scholarships for
Hispanic students through the Hispanic College Fund.
Packaging for both the Our Lady of Guadalupe and Cesar E. Chavez roses
bears the UFW insignia of a black eagle -- as do other roses produced by
Jackson & Perkins.
Among them is the new Habitat for Humanity rose, a red variety with
fewer petals but a larger flower than the Cesar E. Chavez rose. Ten
percent of sales of the Habitat for Humanity rose, available this year
only, will benefit the nonprofit organization that helps low-income
families become homeowners.
Red is a popular color for commemorative roses, "because it speaks of
passion and romance," said Mike Cady, a horticulturist who works out of
the Jackson & Perkins corporate offices in Medford, Ore. The Chavez rose
in particular is "a bright, vibrant rose, with the warm color we tend to
associate with Latin cultures."
The introduction of two roses in as many years that are seemingly aimed
at the Latino community is less a result of marketing than of employee
involvement in the development and naming of roses, Cady said.
"They know what the population is, and they also know that roses are as
much loved in Mexico as they are here," said Camarillo rosarian Jeri
Jennings, former editor of The Ventura Rose, the newsletter of the
Ventura County Rose Society, an affiliate of the American Rose Society.
Naming a rose after Chavez is "just as valid as calling something 'John
F. Kennedy,' " Jennings added. "And as an aside, both (roses) are very
There is a history of naming roses after famous people, with mixed
"Diana, Princess of Wales is a darn good one," Jennings said of a
creamy-pink commemorative rose that, like the Chavez rose, was bred by
Jackson & Perkins in Somis. "But Lucille Ball ... what a dog. It is
truly subject to every disease known to man.
"You have to take these special names with a grain of salt," Jennings
added. "Sometimes the rose comes out and disappears in a year or two, or
comes out under another name."
But the Cesar E. Chavez name shows early signs of sticking, Jennings
"There has been some chit-chat for about a year among people who got
advance copies," she added. "Early indications are that it will be a
good show rose, that it is disease-resistant and that it may be a good
It comes from good stock, Cady said.
The Cesar E. Chavez rose was created from a cross between two roses
introduced in the 1980s: Olympiad and Ingrid Bergman.
According to the 2002 American Rose Society Handbook for Selecting
Roses, Olympiad rates an 8.9 on a scale of 0 to 10, making it an
"outstanding rose." Named for the "Casablanca" star, Ingrid Bergman
rates a 7.2, on the cusp between "average" and "good."
But such rankings are meaningless compared to the recognition the rose
brings to Chavez's efforts, said Brown of the Cesar E. Chavez
"We see the rose as proof that Cesar's legacy is living on today," she
said. "The workers are having their say."
-- Lisa McKinnon's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Net: www.cesarechavezfoundation.org; www.chavezday.ca.gov;
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