Denmark’s Rose Invasion: Viking Roses Unleash Second Wave of Stunning Varieties Worldwide

by Anna

On January 14, Denmark is set to welcome a new king, but in the world of roses, a reigning queen has long held sway. Rosa Eskelund, a prolific breeder of garden roses, pot roses, and cut roses in Dyreborg, Denmark, has been making waves globally through her company, Viking Roses. According to John Pouw, the spokesperson for Viking Roses, Eskelund’s cut roses have been delivering Danish design to homes around the world.

The Viking invasion takes on a new form this time, with no bloodthirsty warriors but rather stylish designers crafting the most beautiful garden-type spray and standard roses. Pouw describes these roses as possessing big flowers, radiant colors, and an increasing fragrance, making them a beacon of Danish floral elegance.

All of Eskelund’s creations fall under the umbrella of ‘Rosa Loves Me®’ (RLM®). The vibrant orange-pink RLM, known as Firecracker®, led the first Viking rose wave and is now a staple in European supermarkets. Following suit, the bicolor RLM Just a Little bit More emerged as the second of the first wave, produced by a select few farms in Ecuador. RLM Inger Kristine, introduced a few years later in Kenya, made its way into the high-end market with controlled yearly increases. RLM Two Times and RLM Yes, I Do are produced on a smaller scale in Kenya, while RLM with Fatal Attraction is cultivated in the Netherlands.

Last year saw the introduction of RLM Paula’s Champagne Delight, a product of Molo River Roses in Kenya, which has consistently sold out, prompting plans for gradual expansion.

Eskelund’s ‘first generation’ Vikings, rooted in her unique pot and garden rose genetics, faced challenges like limited length at higher altitudes. Seven years ago, selected cut rose parents were added to the breeding program, marking the inception of the ‘second wave’ now making its mark on farms in Africa and South America.

The latest addition, RLM Celebrating Heather, was planted and baptized by Ivan Freeman of Uhuru Flowers in November. It commemorates Freeman’s late mother and pays tribute to the strength of African mothers in the industry. With its natural orange color, large heads, and productive garden shape, Celebrating Heather has already garnered high demand.

Looking ahead, Viking Roses plans to introduce RLM Beyond Venus, RLM Under the Stars, and RLM Under a Majestic Sunrise in 2024, with potential for more additions. The relentless pursuit of excellence seems to be the hallmark of the Vikings, as Rosa’s Scandinavian design boasts a high rate of disease resistance, confirmed by growers. Yet, the quest for a zero footprint remains a priority, with outdoor trials conducted in Denmark and the Netherlands using nothing but water and manure.

Challenges persist, notably in the areas of fragrance combined with longevity. However, Eskelund remains undeterred, asserting that nothing is impossible for a true Viking. The trials of new varieties, such as Rosa Loves Me® Under the Stars and Rosa Loves Me® Beyond Venus, are already underway, signaling the anticipation of a third Viking rose invasion.

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