Beloved for their beauty and fragrance, roses were cultivated by the Ancient Greeks to make perfumed oils and by the Romans for use in cosmetics, remedies and foods. Today, the rose is a symbol of love and a source of inspiration for garden-ers, painters and poets around the world.
Cultivars in Canada
Foreign roses were first imported into Canada from France nearly three centuries ago. Around 1890, breeding took place to develop hardier species that were disease-resistant and which would with-stand harsh Canadian winters. William Saunders, founding Director of the Experimental Farms network, established in 1886, was an early Canadian rose breeder.
In 1900, Saunders crossed the deep-pink wild Asian rose, Rosa rugosa with the yellow-flowered Middle-Eastern ' Persiana ' of R. foetida. This cross bore the hybrid ' Agnes ', which Saunders named after his wife. Seldom affected by disease, the repeat flowering rose is yellow-to-pale amber in colour.
Floral stamp design
Designer Gerry Takeuchi and photographer Alex Waterhouse-Hayward, both of Vancouver, decided to let the topic "speak for itself." The beauty of each rose was emphasized through dramatic full-colour photography and straightforward typography that wouldn't detract from colour and shape. The selected species represent the four pure main rose colours (white, red, pink, yellow), and reflect the diversity of categories, series, and time-lines of rose breeding in Canada. All are connected historically to Quebec, Ontario, the Prairie provinces and British Columbia.