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Also attending and taking part in the event was Arturo S. Rodriguez, President of United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO. Jackson & Perkins roses are skillfully tended by members of the United Farm Workers in the Jackson & Perkins fields outside of Bakersfield, Calif. The company proudly displays the UFW label on all of its Jackson & Perkins roses.
"To countless millions of people in the Americas and elsewhere, Our Lady of Guadalupe has brought a message of faith, hope and love for nearly 470 years," said Bill Williams, President and CEO of Jackson & Perkins. "It is only fitting that we honor Mary with a rose of this beauty. At the same time, it is a tribute to the heritage and traditions which our southern neighbors have made to the life and culture of the United States."
Arturo Rodriguez noted the company’s agricultural employees are especially honored to cultivate the new rose. "Since they found out that this rose is dedicated to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, the employees have been very excited," Rodriguez said. "They consider it a special honor to nurture this rose."
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the name given to Mary, the mother of Jesus, when referring to Her apparitions in Mexico in 1531. Juan Diego, an Aztec peasant whose canonization is widely expected to be announced by the Vatican, reported the visions to Bishop Juan de Zumarraga. As proof of Her appearance to Juan Diego, She told him to gather some flowers that he would find at the top of Tepeyac hill. At the top of the hill, he found an abundance of roses growing in the frozen ground. The apparitions resulted in one of history’s most famous artifacts, an image of Mary believed to be of miraculous origin, which is venerated to this day outside Mexico City. Interest in the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe has transcended Mexican Catholic culture and today Her image can be found in Christian churches of many traditions, ranging from Episcopal cathedrals to Pentecostal churches.
Darío O. Márquez, Jr., Chairman of the Hispanic College Fund, noted that the tradition of Our Lady of Guadalupe has special significance for their organization. "The message of Guadalupe that has reverberated through history is one of inclusion, acceptance and compassion for the less fortunate," he explained. "By providing scholarships to Latino students who will become tomorrow’s business leaders, we are empowering the community to take its place in society."
The Our Lady of Guadalupe floribunda rose is a unique blend of silver and pink tones. This rose will grow many blossoms per stem and will spread over a wide area. The pink blossoms produce a sweet fragrance and are offset by a contrasting dark green foliage. The rose joins the ranks of the company’s other cause-related roses and tributes to inspiring leaders introduced by Jackson & Perkins in the past, such as Diana, Princess of Wales; Veterans’ Honor; Billy Graham; Barbara Bush; John F. Kennedy and Mister Lincoln.
The Our Lady of Guadalupe rose will retail for $15.95 and is available by calling 800-292-4769 or on the Web at www.jacksonandperkins.com. Founded in 1872, Jackson & Perkins is America’s first mail-order nursery, a catalog marketer of gardening lifestyle products and the world’s largest producer of roses.