Posted tagged ‘floriculture’

Floricuture once Bloomed in Park View

February 14, 2011

George Field property and nurseries from Baist's real estate atlas of surveys of Washington, District of Columbia, 1911

The last significant estate in Park View to be sold and subdivided was that belonging to George Field. Prior to Field’s ownership, the farm — located just south of Princeton Place on the east side of Georgia Avenue — had belonged to Frank Stickney.

According to the history written by Fred S. Walker in the 1921 Directory and History of Park View, George Field came to the United States from England and brought with him the first American Beauty roses to be seen in America and was noted for its cultivation. While Walker got Field’s home country right, his attribution of the American Beauty Rose was not quite right.

American Beauty Rose

The American Beauty was created by the American historian George Bancroft’s English gardener, John Brady. The story of Brady’s creation, and later betrayal by his wife who sold the  rose plants to George Field is documented in an August 25, 1912, article of the New York Times. While Field did not create the rose, he was credited for popularizing and cultivating the rose and through skillful advertising was able to sell the exclusive right to reproduce the rose for $5,000.

That Field was able to make the rose popular should not have been surprising. He was a skilled florist in his own right. A well known Washington wholesale florist, Field was the gardener at the White House during the administrations of Presidents Grant and Hayes.

Field was especially known for his orchids and in this capacity provided the cattleya orchids used in Alice Roosevelt’s wedding bouquet in her marriage to Representative Nicholas Longworth on February 17, 1906. The orchids supplied by Field were from specimen plants valued at over $300 each and the only plants of the strain in the United States at that time.

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