Blooming Ballet

Blooming Ballet

Anna Pavlova, Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, Swan Lake, Bolshoi Theater, etc. These names are associated not only with ballet. Do you know that these are flower varieties?

It is no surprise that some flower breeders came up with such associations - a sumptuous flower on a thin stem really reminds of a ballerina. Let's talk about the most famous "ballet" varieties.

Tulips Bolshoi Theater and Galina Ulanova

Dutch florist Derek Lefeber traveled the world looking for new forms for his tulip breeding experiments. In the 1920s, on an expedition to the Asian part of the USSR, he found and purchased wild tulips that made it possible to improve the existing varieties and develop new ones. After the end of World War II, Lefeber came back to the USSR with a generous gift of 30,000 red tulips. During that visit, he also went to the Bolshoi Theater and saw Galina Ulanova in Swan Lake for the first time. Lefeber was so impressed by the production and talent of the star prima ballerina that later he named the new varieties of tulips Bolshoi Theater and Galina Ulanova.

Bolshoi Theater is a red tulip with a hexagonal black bottom and a yellow border. A classic, vivid, big flower on a strong stem, it is worthy of the sonorous name. The Galina Ulanova variety is more feminine and graceful. For several decades, these fragrant flowers were planted every year in front of the Bolshoi Theater.

Rose Swan Lake

There is another episode connecting Swan Lake and flowers. Irish breeder Samuel McGredy named the new climbing rose Swan Lake in 1968. According to one version, the name is due to the similarity of petals of these large white and pink flowers with swan wings; according to the other, the resemblance lies in the “nobility and intelligent nature of the plant”. Swan Lake blooms profusely throughout the summer season exuding a delicate scent. Landscape designers often use this variety to decorate architectural structures.

Peony Maya Plisetskaya

Maya Plisetskaya, prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater, was fond of lilacs, but her name was given to another beautiful flower - peony. In 1963, an employee of the Botanical Garden of the Moscow State University, Anastasia Sosnovets bred a double hemispherical peony Maya Plisetskaya. It has large pale pink flowers that fade to white under the sun, their shape resembles a lush ballet tutu.  Outer petals frame the dense flower ball like a tulle frill.

Rose Anna Pavlova

In 1981, the 100th anniversary of the ballerina Anna Pavlova, the legendary performer of The Dying Swan adored all over the world, was celebrated. English breeder Peter Beales named a new rose with large, globular pink flowers in her honor in the same year. The variety is considered collectible and belongs to the "Four Russian Roses of the 20th Century" series dedicated to famous talented women. This rose has an expressive scent easy to tell because of its “strawberry, mint and vanilla notes”.

Rose Vera Zorina

Another flower from the "Four Russian Roses of the 20th Century" series is named after the ballerina. In 1963, Eugene Boerner bred an unusual orange rose and named it Zorina after Vera Zorina, an American dancer of German-Norwegian origin, actress and wife of George Balanchine. Her real name was Eva Brigitta Hartwig, she assumed a pseudonym when dancing with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The variety dedicated to her is distinguished by small bright flowers as if glowing against a background of exuberant foliage. In 1964, the Zorina rose won the first prize at a competition in Rome, but, despite its popularity among flower growers, it didn’t become commercially successful.