Wilhelm Kordes II

On my visit to Germany in 1971, my 3rd year into hybridizing, I made sure to arrange a visit with this world famous hybridizer. Especially since I had learned all my rose breeding skills from his book : “Das Rosenbuch”(in German) by Wilhelm Kordes II, 1966. This was the first rose book that I had read.

Different rose publications referred to Mr. Kordes as “the worlds foremost Rose Hybridizer”, so this was my chance to meet this great man of roses.
Mr. Kordes was already 80 years old then. We talked for more than 2 hours as my main interest was in parent selection. I was especially interested in the seed parent of the world famous Fl. ‘Iceberg’, the Hmsk ‘Robin Hood’. He had very much encouraged me to try my luck with it and possibly use different pollen parents on Robin Hood. ‘Shades of Pink’, my first floribunda, was the first result - years after our discussion.

Just as I am writing this, I thought I would search the internet with Google and see what comes up under “Wilhelm Kordes II”...

Here are just two items of interest out of several results :

In the American Rose Annual 1977
(pp. 121-122) there’s a memorial to
Wilhelm Kordes, “the grand old man of
rose breeding
”-- he had passed away in
1976. (His dates are: March 30, 1891
to November 8, 1976.)

[From, Botanica’s Roses, p. 213:]
Wilhelm Kordes II (1891-1976)....
Dr. A.S. Thomas of Australia has said
of Kordes that he was ‘possibly the
greatest rose man of all time

I believe I was very fortunate to have had the privilege to meet this “Renowned Hybridizer” and to take several photographs of him at his home.

George Mander
May 2001

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