Photo by Mike George
Elizabeth Park is home to the largest display of arched trellises in the U.S.; on them we grow four varieties of ramblers: Excelsa, Crimson Rambler, White Dorothy, and the subject of this post, Dorothy Perkins. Dorothy Perkins was named for the granddaughter of Charles Perkins, founder of American plant wholesaler Jackson & Perkins (Scanniello, 1994, p. 89). Charles started the business in 1872 to sell strawberry and grape plants; his foreman, E. Alvin Miller, happened to dabble in hybridizing roses, prompting the company to market one of his successes as “Dorothy Perkins” in 1901 (Jackson & Perkins, 2018).
Noted for its abundant light pink blossoms, Dorothy Perkins was the first rambler hybrid to truly thrive in northern climates (Scanniello, 1994, p. 89). From the time of its introduction until a nationwide move toward repeat-blooming climbers in the 1930s, Dorothy Perkins was the best-selling climbing rose in the United States (Scanniello, 1994, p. 89). In response to Dorothy’s success, Jackson & Perkins began focusing exclusively on roses (Jackson & Perkins, 2018), becoming one of the largest rose retailers in the world.