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Cocker (1907-1977), Alexander M. (Alec)
'Cocker (1907-1977), Alexander M. (Alec)'  photo
Photo courtesy of Cambridgelad
  Listing last updated on 23 Jul 2024.
Code = COC---
COCKER, James: 6 October 1807 - 22 October 1880
COCKER, James: [son of James 1807-1880]. 15 November 1832 - 15 September 1897
COCKER, William: [son of James 1832-1897]. Died 1915
COCKER, James: [son of James 1832-1897].
COCKER, Alexander: [son of James 1832-1897]. 1860 - 1920
COCKER, Patrick: 10 November 1841 - ????
COCKER, Alec (Alexander Morison): [son of Alexander 1860-1920]. 1907 - 2 November 1977
COCKER, Mrs. Anne Gowans (Rennie) Wife of Alec. born 25 May 1920 - 21 November, 2014.
COCKER, Alec (Alexander James): born 2 July 1960, present partner of James Cocker & Sons and rose hybridizer

James COCKER & Sons: The company began in 1882.

[From The Quest for the Rose, by Phillips & Rix, p. 132:] James Cocker & Sons of Aberdeen was founded in 1841, soon after James Cocker left his job as gardener at Castle Fraser following a disagreement with his employer, who had told him to pick fruit for the house on the sabbath. Rose breeding began in the 1890s and the company's first important rose was 'Mrs. Cocker' (1899). The business closed in 1923 soon after the early death of Alexander Cocker, the founder's grandson, but in 1936, it was revived by Alexander's son, Alec Cocker [which see], as a general nursery.
[From The Quest for the Rose, by Phillips & Rix, p. 132:] By the early 1950s [Alec] and his wife, Anne, had decided to specialize in roses. Alec's first new introductions were in 1968: three climbers and seedling of 'New Dawn' called 'Morning Jewel', 'White Cockade', and 'Rosy Mantle'. 'Alec's Red' (1970). 'Silver Jubilee', raised from a seedling of the Kordesii Climber 'Parkdirektor Riggers', and introduced the year after Alec's death in 1977, was also widely acclaimed.
[From Botanica's Roses, p. 677:] The Cockers [Alec and Ann] have been active since the 1960s with James Cocker & Son, Aberdeen... Alec Cocker obtained a rare seed of Rosa persica in the 1960s and began breeding work with it...
Anne Cocker, the wife of Alec Cocker who died in 1977, continues the business.
[From The Makers of Heavenly Roses, by Jack Harkness, pp. 150-159:] The Cocker nursery began in 1841... a small nursery in the Sunnypark district of Aberdeen... By the time James the founder died... his firm had taken on more ground nearby at Morningfield, and had leased a shop as a seed warehouse at 82 Union Street, the city's main shopping street... The second James Cocker had three sons, William, a third James, and Alexander. All three were brought into the business... the firm became in 1882 James Cocker & Sons... Alexander, having survived his two brothers in the business, eventually became the sole proprietor... Their first [rose] varieties, brought out in 1892, were two chance sports from Hybrid Perpetuals ('Duke of Fife' and 'Duchess of Fife')... [Alexander died in 1920 and the trustees appointed to attend to the affairs of his children, Margaret and Alexander Morison ("Alec"), closed the nursery in 1923]... [Alec] rented a field at Springhill in 1936, and started to grow such plants as chrysanthemums and polyanthas... He became engaged to Anne Gowans Rennie... They agreed to postpone their marriage until the business was safely established, and they both worked hard in the nursery until they judged that first objective was reached, some eight years later. They were married in 1952... They had decided that the best course for the business was to specialize in roses... [their first new roses] appeared in 1968 ['Morning Jewel' and 'Rosy Mantle']... [Alec's] first big success was 'Alec's Red'... In 1975 Her majesty Queen Elizabeth granted a royal warrant to James Cocker & Sons as suppliers of her roses... 'Silver Jubilee' [which Jack Harkness told him was "the best rose you've ever raised..."] won for [Alec] his second President's International Trophy...
[From Roll Call: The Old Rose Breeder, p. 88:]
[James] Cocker & Sons
Aberdeen, Scotland
James Cocker, 1831-1897

1974 The Rose Annual, UK.
p69. Nigel Raban. The Men Behind the New Roses. Alec (Alexander Morison) Cocker.

1978 Roses  by Jack Harkness
p116.  Finally we have Alec Cocker and his 'Silver Jubilee'.... Alexander Cocker started to breed roses in 1963, and enjoyed his first triumph with 'Alec's Red' only seven years later. He was deeply conscious of the need to breed healthy roses, and he thought of a way to do it, by using some of the climbers which Wilhelm Kordes had bred from R. kordesii. With R. rugosa and R. wichuraiana  as parents, R. kordesii has a fine promise of foliage upon which fungi do not feed……
And  the sense of transmitting our work to the future is all the more poignant; for a few hours after I laid down my pen on finishing the previous paragraph, my dear friend, the breeder of 'Silver Jubilee', died at his home. God rest you, Alec Cocker..
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