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CLIQUES : By Any Other Name . . .

August 15, 1993|Samuel Greengard

Everything's coming up roses--here in Southern California, where more than 80% of the nation's roses are grown, rose culture has blossomed in these post-drought days. In the past year, rose sales have risen by a third and the varieties sold have doubled, according to Armstrong Home and Garden Place. And two new rose societies--one in Carlsbad, the other in West Los Angeles--have sprouted, bringing the area total to 10. Like all amateur and professional growers, they devote themselves to cultivating the beautiful, the fragrant, the mildew resistant.

But creating the perfect rose is not enough. Growers spend long hours in search of the ultimate moniker to register with the American Rose Society, which weeds out the overused and, occasionally, the obscene. Swiping celebrity names is always popular--Cary Grant, Dolly Parton and, more recently, Barbara Bush--but that isn't all that easy. The people or their estates must approve the flower; one candidate, for example, was deemed too red to be a Lucille Ball and another variety with a more apricot hue, (shown here), eventually won out.

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