How rosarian S Viraraghavan and his wife Girija launched Richard Rose, a water rose named soon after the guy who uncovered it in the 19th century  

Rosarian S Viraraghavan and his spouse Girija, who a short while ago launched a hybrid wide variety of rose and named it ‘Richard Rose’. Image: Rohit Ghosh

The story begins with a rose and finishes in a grave. Its genesis is in Calcutta and touches Kanpur, then again Calcutta. It then requires a 180 diploma transform and traverses 8,000 kilometres up to Brussels. It arrives back again to India, and ends in Kanpur — 125 years later on.

The story would have been dropped for good had it not been for rosarian MS Viraraghavan and his spouse Girija, each octogenarians living in the hills of Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu.

Viraraghavan served in the Indian Administrative Service in Andhra Pradesh for 20 several years. In 1980, when he was 43, he opted for voluntary retirement to devote his time to hybridising roses.

Girija is the granddaughter of S Radhakrishnan, the very first vice-president of India who went on to grow to be India’s 2nd president.   

The hills of Tamil Nadu are most suited for escalating roses. The pair remaining Hyderabad and settled in Kodaikanal in 1980. Given that then, they have devoted much of their time and electrical power to hybridising roses.  

Viraraghavan recently introduced a hybrid ‘Richard Rose’, named soon after a gentleman who, in the previous quarter of the 19th century, was the deputy postmaster common of the Kanpur and Lucknow area, then acknowledged as the Oudh location.  

Richard Rose was born to an English couple on April 12, 1838 at a household on Dharmatala Street in Calcutta. His task typically took him to the then undivided Bengal that experienced several water bodies. He typically had to retain the services of boats for travelling.  

As soon as while sailing in 1888, Richard discovered roses sticking out of the surface area of the lake. He was intrigued as he experienced in no way seen just one developing in h2o just before. So he gathered a handful of as samples and gave them to David Prain, director of the Calcutta Botanical Backyard garden, to analyze.

Prain, in convert, sent the roses to Francois Crepin, a well-recognized taxonomist and director at Meise Botanical Back garden and Herbarium, in the vicinity of Brussels in Belgium for further investigation.

The accompanying letter that Prain despatched along with the roses in 1888 however exists at the Botanical Backyard garden in Belgium. It reads:  


“The main of the article workplace in the province of Oudh- R. Rose Esq.- an ardent gardener himself, visited these gardens very last 7 days and told me that a calendar year ago he was purchased to go down to Dacca in East Bengal to have charge of the postal arrangements for this postal province (which involves Sylhet) for some time. 


Though there, his obligations took him on a journey this kind of as I have explained, (heading by boat by way of rivers and streams, and minor lakes called ‘jheels’) and he found when sailing while these jheels that from finish to end of the province they were being whole of a wild rose, hitherto not known to him, which had no leaves on it and was in total fruit only the fruits becoming higher than the drinking water.


This truth he experienced pointed out on returning to Lucknow (now the cash of the condition of Uttar Pradesh) to his friends there who mentioned it could not be a rose at all, but he had introduced seeds absent with him some of which germinated and throve rather very well until the ensuing very hot temperature (that is, April) when all died a person by just one in a thirty day period.


This account is that of a extremely observant person, and it materials at a single second an rationalization to all the complications I have had in thinking of the behavior of this rose.”


The Viraraghavans saw the letter on their stop by to Belgium in 1995.

Girija reported: “What Richard Rose experienced discovered was the only tropical rose species in the planet. It grows in or near to h2o.  Similar species had been identified earlier in the Himalayas but they were subtropical in character. Richard found the definitely tropical species, growing in water, as opposed to the other people.”

The scientific title of the rose was before rosa involucrata and was afterwards adjusted by botanists to rosa clinophylla.

Viraraghavan’s emphasis has generally been on hybridising the tropical species of roses. He commenced performing on the rose found by Richard Rose in 2015 consequence has at last bloomed now.

He made a decision to identify the wide range right after Richard Rose.

Richard Rose. Image: Rohit Ghosh

Girija explained, “When we identify a rose soon after a useless person, we tell his or her spouse and children or descendants.”

Girija committed lots of time to obtaining the descendants of Richard Rose, and was finally able to create the family members tree. So she experimented with to call them, but did not get any reaction.

She also tried out to uncover a photograph of Richard Rose, but failed.

From the documents of the Church of England, Girija came to know that Richard Rose died in Kanpur on 25 August, 1896, and was buried at the city’s Lal Kurti Cemetery.

“We will launch the rose alongside with the photograph of Richard Rose’s grave,” reported Girija.

William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet: What’s in a name? That which we simply call a rose, by any other identify would odor as sweet.

It’s a coincidence that a new selection of rose will not be identified by a different name but as Richard Rose. And it has a distinctive wealthy, spicy fragrance, according to Girija.