We are UK rose growers and breeders, and for five generations we specialised in creating new varieties of roses. We have agents in many countries all over the world, so if you would like to buy one of our roses, please contact your local rose grower. Creating a rose is a very time consuming occupation. It takes several years before knowing if you have created a rose good enough or better than something already in commerce, see The Breeding Process page for more information.
All roses for sale are supplied bare root from late October to late February.
You too can name a rose in memory of a loved one, or for a new born baby; a birthday gift or wedding anniversary; or why not, name your own rose. Images of roses available can be viewed on the Rose Naming Opportunities page. Prices reflect the work involved. There are a range of colours available at the moment: pink roses, yellow roses, orange roses; floribunda roses, shrub roses, patio ground cover roses; but be assured, the rose you choose was tested for years in our fields, and the rose will be unique to you.
The company was founded in 1836 by Alexander I who came across from Perth, Scotland and set up business in Newtownards, Co. Down. His son, George I, with the assistance of his two eldest sons, Alexander II and George II, (there were eight sons and four daughters in the family) became fascinated with roses and started breeding around 1879. (This makes us the world's oldest rose breeding family, with Colin being the sixth generation to carry on the tradition.)
In 1886 George sent his son Alexander to London to exhibit three varieties of their raising at the National Rose Society Show. They were a red Hybrid Perpetual, "Earl of Dufferin", named for the Viceroy of India, a second red Hybrid Perpetual, "Lady Helen Stewart" and a pink Tea rose, "Ethel Brownlow". In 1885 Queen Victoria granted the company its first Royal Warrant, a distinction that continued unbroken until the end of the reign of King George VI.Many more famous roses were to follow, including: "Mrs. W. J. Grant" in 1892, "Hugh Dickson" in 1904 and "Shot Silk" in 1924.
Patrick Dickson started his successful career in 1957, and introduced many successful varieties such as "Sea Pearl" in 1964, following soon after with "Grandpa Dickson" in 1966, "Red Devil" in 1967 and "Redgold" also in 1967. This won an "All America" Award in 1969. Pat died in September 2012 and one of the true rose greats was lost.
Colin Dickson started in the breeding house in 1977 and he is still in charge. Since 2016, the Dickson Roses Ltd. company disolved, and Colin went self-employed. Since the inception of the Roses of the Year Competition, Dicksons have won ten (nine of our own raising): 1983 - Beautiful Britain (Dicfire), 1987 - Sweet Magic (Dicmagic), 1990 - Harvest Fayre (Dicnorth), 1991 - Melody Maker (Dicqueen), 1986 - Gentle Touch (Diclulu), 1993 -Dawn Chorus (Dicquasar), 1996 - Magic Carpet (Jaclover), , 2000 - Irish Eyes (Dicwitness), 2018 - Lovestruck (Dicommatac), 2022 - It's a Wonderful Life (Dictwix).
For their services to horticulture, both Pat and Colin were included in the Queen Elizabeth II Birthday Honour's List. Pat received an OBE in 1988 and Colin an MBE in 2022 and presented with the award by the Princess Royal in February 2023. In 2018 Colin stopped breeding and will retire after the 2023/24 season.
A few images below of the Princess Royal's visit to Hillsborough Castle, on 2 July 2021, to celebrate the Northern Ireland Centenary. Shown here in the rose garden, where the Northern Ireland Centenary Rose, bred by Colin Dickson, was revealed to the public.
Colin was presented with his MBE medal by The Princess Royal at Windsor Castle in February 2023.
See below an old interview with Patrick & Colin Dickson.
First Dickson to breed roses
Dicksons of Hawlmark staff photo from 1931
Dicksons of Hawlmark staff photo from 1957
Photo of Alex III Dickson for whom the Grandpa Dickson rose was named for.
Dickson of Hawlmark premises on Circular Road, Newtownards
Dickson Nurseries Ltd present premises during building in 1970
Present site aerial view.
Patrick Dickson was the fourth generation to breed Dickson roses.
Pat and Colin evaluating in the rose field...and Sammy