Harkness Roses

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Rosa 'Alexander', 1972

Harkness Roses (a trading name of R. Harkness & Co. Ltd) are rose breeders based at Hitchin, Hertfordshire in England;[1] the nursery was founded in 1879 in Yorkshire. Early varieties included a sport of 'Heinrich Schultheis' introduced in 1893 as 'Mrs. Harkness'. In the 1950s, Harkness popularized 'Frensham' and 'Ena Harkness', both developed by amateur Albert Norman, and for a time 'Ena Harkness' was the most popular red hybrid tea rose in the world.

Ted Hughes worked for the firm during the summer of 1955: "The job is following round the expert as he grafts expensive rose-buds onto common bushes, and doing all the trimming and tying-up-with-raffia—a back-breaking job apparently, but outside, and with roses, and with good employers." §[2]

Jack Harkness (1918–1994) began developing new roses for the company in 1962, and improved roses' health by introducing genes from various wild rose species. Early successes were with hybrid teas, and then later with floribundas.

Varieties introduced[edit]

Rosa 'Ena Harkness'.


  1. ^ "English Company 00539359 R.HARKNESS & CO. LIMITED". Companies House. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
  2. ^ (p.29, Letters of Ted Hughes ed. Christopher Reid, pub. 2007)
  3. ^ "Rose grown for Soham girls". BBC. 17 April 2003. Retrieved 2009-06-13.

External links[edit]