170 Years of Award-Winning Roses
For 170 years, James Cocker and Sons have been producing and selling award-winning roses. The policy of the Cocker family through the years has been to grow and supply roses of real quality whilst delivering first class service, and this still continues today.
It was in 1840 that the late James Cocker – great-great-grandfather of the present senior partner, Alec J. Cocker – quarrelled with his employer about picking fruit on a Sunday. At that time, he was Head Gardener on the Castle Fraser estate and told his employer that he would gather fruit on Saturday night, no matter how late, but never on a Sunday. As a result of this, he left his employment and came to Aberdeen in the following year, 1841, and started a nursery business.
At the outset, the business catered mainly to forest trees and herbaceous plants, and as the business prospered it had to move several times to larger acreages until eventually, in 1960, the company purchased the farm of Whitemyres. The decision was then taken to specialise in rose growing. In 1964, with the introduction of the Plant Breeders Rights Act, the breeding of new varieties of roses was undertaken.
James Cocker and Sons have bred outstanding varieties such as ‘Silver Jubilee’, ‘Alec’s Red’, ‘Glenfiddich’, ‘Remember Me’ and ‘Gordon’s College’ (a.k.a. ‘Braveheart’), many of which have won numerous national and international awards over the years. New, outstanding varieties are still being bred and introduced, many of which have been commissioned by clients for personal, corporate and charity purposes.
In 1976, in recognition of the quality and high standards achieved, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted the late Alexander M. Cocker the Royal Warrant as Suppliers of Roses. The following year, the rose now known as ‘Silver Jubilee’ was bred by Mr. Cocker. By kind permission from Her Majesty the Queen, he was allowed to use the name in celebration of her 25th year as monarch on the British Throne. ‘Silver Jubilee’ was to become the world’s number one selling rose for many years and won several distinguished awards, but unfortunately he did not live to see the worldwide success of his rose as he passed away in November 1977. The Royal Warrant was then granted to Mrs. Anne G. Cocker, wife of the late Alec. In 2008, the royal warrant was passed on to Alec J. Cocker, the present senior partner. Being granted a Royal Warrant is a notable achievement of which the family is rightly proud.