Parc del Roserar de Dot i de Camprubí

Parc del Roserar de Dot i de Camprubí

This garden in San Feliu de Llobregat, within easy reach of Barcelona, was created in 1997 and dedicated to Catalonia’s most notable rose breeders. It holds over 2,000 roses and more than 400 varieties.

 

It was the brainchild of Jaume Garcia i Urpi, who has scoured the world to recover lost roses from two families of rose breeders in pariticular – the Dots and Camprubís. My particular fascination is with the prolific Pere Dot – known as Pedro Dot outside Spain – who was born in 1885. His rival, Cebrià Camprubí’, was born in 1889. Both lived and worked through tumultuous times in Spanish history.

Jaume Garcia i Urpi is writing a biography of the Dot family

Jaume says: “The Dot family alone bred over 270 varieties, of which 180 were by Pere, who started the business in the 1920s. In the rose garden we have 92 rose bushes from him and 81 from his children and grandchildren. About 30 remain to be restored. The rest we believe have been lost forever. It is an important part of the town’s heritage and I want to preserve these roses for the people.”

This is the largest Dot collection in the world. It has been built with the help of collectors sending cuttings which have been patiently grafted and grown on. Soon before I visited in May 2023, ‘Marí Dot’ arrived in the garden – export restrictions meant it took five years to get a cutting from California, where it was found. The rose was created in 1927 and dedicated to Pere Dot’s son, Marino.

Creating this garden has been a slow, laborious task, and faced a number of perils – from wild boars uprooting the grafted stock offsite, to a financial crisis when in 2006 the local council withdrew funding. It took five years before it was reinstated and the garden reopened. During that time many roses were lost and the collection had to be restored, with the help of the Dot family, who until this year have taken responsibility for reproducing roses for the garden using donated cuttings.

Parc del Roserar de Dot i de Camprubí in St Feliu de Llobregat, Spain – the world’s biggest collection of Dot roses

No pesticides are used at the park, and some of the roses respond better than others to the modern regime. The roses are monitored closely and, if there are any losses, attempts are made to reproduce them again.

Unless you are a serious rose afficionado it is probably not worth making a serious effort to get to, but if you time your visit to coincide with the annual “National Rose Festival”, held here each May, then you are unlikely to be disappointed. You’ll see amazing flower arrangements, a display of competition roses and the whole town buzzing.

At Spain’s National Rose Festival, roses from members of the Dot family feature strongly. Left to right front row: ‘Armor’ by Marí Dot; ‘Rosa Sant Feliu’ by Victor Dot, and ‘Profesor Pañella’ by Simó Dot

If you are in Barcelona at that time of year, make a visit to the rose garden at the Parc de Cervantes, too. The rose beds are great and you may get chance to see the international rose trial beds – here breeders from around the world compete against each other with their newest creations, hoping to win a prestigious award.

Learn more about rose trials in this video.

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About the Storyteller Gardener

Martin Stott is an award-winning journalist who has written for most of the UK national press and reported from 21 countries for the BBC World Service and Radio 4. The storyteller garden history blog combines his passion for storytelling, gardening and history.