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Hill Co., E. Gurney
'Hill Co., E. Gurney'  photo
Photo courtesy of scvirginia
Rose breeder   Listing last updated on 24 Jun 2024.
Richmond, Indiana
United States
Edward Gurney Hill (1847 - 1933)

[From The Book on Roses, by Dr. G. Griffin Lewis, p. 134:] E. Gurney Hill of Richmond, Ind., was born in Rochdale Lancashire, England, in September 1847. He began hybridizing when very young, on geraniums, fuchsias and other soft-wooded plants. His work on roses began in a serious way in 1890.

[From The Ultimate Rose Book, by Stirling Macoboy, p. 226:] E.G. Hill Company have been growing greenhouse roses since before World War I. [p. 114:] they are located in Indiana.

In The Rose: An Encyclopedia of North American Roses, Rosarians, and Rose Lore, p. 63, Sean McCann calls E. Gurney Hill the father of greenhouse growing in the United States.

He goes on to say, on pages 84-85, that E. Gurney Hill "founded his Indiana nursery in 1881, where initially he introduced only European roses. But when he began hybridizing, with the help of his son, his reputation was made... In England, he found the amazing 'Ophelia', which he saw in the rose field of William Paul... 'Ophelia' begat a whole race of roses, many of them entering the cut-flower trade. 'Ophelia' sported... giving the Hill firm the wonderful 'Mme. Butterfly'. And the firm bred from it, too, turning up the top greenhouse rose 'Columbia', another rose that sported freely.

[From Roll Call: The Old Rose Breeder, p. 233:]
E. Gurney Hill
Born in England in 1847
Working location:
Richmond, Indiana, U.S.A.

[From] "Edward Gurney Hill was born in Rochdale, England in 1847, and when he was four years old his family emigrated to America, settling in New York. Hill's father, Joseph, worked as a nurseryman there, and Gurney also followed that line of work. In 1870, he was enticed to come "out west" from the east to Richmond, Indiana. Here he worked at the Cascade Gardens Nursery in the south part of town, later becoming the manager. Soon after, the rest of his family relocated to Richmond.
In 1881, Gurney Hill and his father, Joseph, started a new business called Hill and Company with two greenhouses near their home in what was then known as Linden Hill. That house still exists at 2037 East Main in the midst of "Millionaire's Row." This was the start of a company that would grow to become a leader in the worldwide floricultural industry. Hill, and later his son, Joseph H., would build greenhouses near Glen Miller Park, then move the entire operation to the west side of town near Richmond State Hospital and still further to Peacock Road.
Over the course of his more than fifty year career, E. G. Hill was a leader in hybridizing roses, winning internationsl awards and medals often. He was also one of the founders and third president of the Society of American Florists, and he served as a president of the American Rose Society, the American Carnation Society, and the American Chysanthemum Society. Locally he was one of Richmond's first Park Commissioners, and he supervised early plantings at Earlham College and Earlham Cemetery.
He died in 1933, and in 1937 the city dedicated a fountain in his honor in the Rose Garden at Glen Miller Park."

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