A Legacy of Excellence
The Guillot family is proud to have fathered six generations of rose growers. The Guillot Roses story began in 1834, when Jean-Baptiste Guillot established his firm ‘La Terre des Roses’ (the Terrace of Roses) in Lyon, France, thus establishing the great Lyonnaise rose-growing tradition. Its first creation was a Bourbon Hybrid christened ‘Lamartine’, which was produced in 1842. In the following years, the firm accumulated an impressive 81 new varieties. Among these were many of the most beautiful old roses still marketed today, such as Mme.Bravy, Pavillon de Pregny, Triomphe de la Guillotière and Comtesse de Barbentane.
Over the next century, the Guillot family revolutionised rose growing, creating in 1849 the process which would ensure its recognition by rose-growers throughout the world: Shield-Graft Budding On Dog Rose Seedlings. Guillot’s son, Jean-Baptiste André Guillot, went on to create 69 varieties, including in 1867 a rose which would change the world of roses forever – the first hybrid tea, ‘La France’ (climber) – and in 1875, the first polyantha, ‘Ma Pâquerette’.
The firm was handed down from generation to generation, until in 1972, Jean-Pierre Guillot took in hand the destiny of the ‘RoseraiesGuillot’. It is he who manages the firm at the present time. After moving the nurseries from Saint-Priest to Chamagnieu, Jean-Pierre tackled the task of the firm’s modernisation to meet market requirements. These days, the firm produces and markets 250,000 rose plants a year. For several years now, two major aspects have guided the firm’s policy: The enhancement of old roses and the creation of new varieties.
Enhancement of the Old Roses
With an incomparable legacy of more than 500 varieties representing all the rose families, the Guillot family is without a shadow of doubt in the best position to talk about old roses. After years of research in the collections of rose gardens such as de l’Hay les Roses, Lyon or Bagatelle, Jean-Pierre has grouped together all the ‘House’ varieties still in existence, and has completed this collection by choosing the best varieties obtained since the seventeenth century, and in 1990 offering amateurs a list of 160 varieties. The following year saw the publication of the first illustrated catalogue entirely devoted to Old Roses.
Their current catalogue offers more than 500 varieties, including many that are not offered by any other rose grower. Research continues, and the next few years will no doubt see new treasures unearthed.
Creation of New Varieties
In this field as well, Jean-Pierre Guillot has continued the work of creation undertaken by the Guillot family since 1834. Jean-Pierre Guillot has created new roses that combine the charm and diversity of the Old Roses with the qualities of modern roses. They group these ‘New Old Roses’ under the name of ‘Rosa Générosa’. Sonia Rykiel® is a perfect example of this new type of rose. The RoseraiesGuillot are renowned for the delicate process of successful cross breeding and first year selections from the Marseillaise region, which benefit from optimal climatic conditions – long periods of warm weather favourable to the perfect ripening of the fruits.
The very carefully elaborated cross-breeding programs have the following objectives:
• To escape from the constraints of the present standards by looking for variance in shape, habits and foliage, which are the stamp of Old Roses.
• To reinforce and diversify the ‘Scented’ character, as the rose has the unusual particularity of developing numerous scents. With scents of violets, apple, banana, and lilies of the valley, roses create a whole world of aromas to be explored.