The story starts with Sam McGredy (the first) (late 19thC) and his passion for pansies. To fulfil his dreams he moved from Southern Ireland to a small plot in the townland of Garvaghy, Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland.
Here his plan was to settle into a quiet life of farming and growing his beloved pansies. His hobby was creating hybrids of the lovely velvet flowers to create new colours and textures.
However one day his curiosity stretched to another beautiful flower The Irish rose. The challenge led him to successfully breeding a brand new rose variety, perfect in form and scent. A business was born “McGredy Roses”
With the onset of WW1 the government took over McGredy Roses land at Garvaghy and the business was moved to a larger site of 350 acres at Mullavilly, Portadown. WW2 came and once again the government claimed the land however the McGredy’s Roses resumed once again at the end of the war.
With Sam (the fourth) the business successfully created more “new” hybrids. Sam’s roses were recognised as the most beautiful in Ireland! Medals were won at the top Flower Shows throughout the UK and the demand for McGredy Roses grew.
Sam named his award winning roses after celebrities of the day – Ginger Rogers, Louis Armstrong, Ena Sharples and Queen Elizabeth. One outstanding rose was given the name “Picasso” although not until permission to use the name was agreed by Picasso himself!
With international recognition Sam decided to stretch his business out further and moved his business to New Zealand. McGredy Irish roses now bloomed at the other side of the world.
Successful breeding continued in New Zealand and today McGredy Roses are blossoming all over the world.