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. In recent years we have won eight Roses of the Year (seven of our own raising): 1983 - Beautiful Britain (Dicfire), 1991 - Melody Maker (Dicqueen), 1986 - Gentle Touch (Diclulu), 1993 -Dawn Chorus (Dicquasar), 1987 - Sweet Magic (Dicmagic), 1996 - Magic Carpet (Jaclover), 1990 - Harvest Fayre (Dicnorth), 2000 - Irish Eyes (Dicwitness).
See below an old interview with Patrick & Colin Dickson.