The Nursery was founded by Alexander Dickson in 1836.DICKSON, A. (Alexander)
(1801- October 11, 1880 )DICKSON, George
(1832-1914), son of AlexanderDICKSON, Hugh
, (.... -1922) son of AlexanderDICKSON, Alexander II
(1857-1949), son of George, started 1872, retired 1930DICKSON, George II
, son of GeorgeDICKSON, Alexander III
(1893-1975), son of Alexander II, retired ca. 1958DICKSON, Alexander Patrick (Patrick)
(1926-2012), son of Alexander III DICKSON, Colin
, son of Patrick (1956-....). Ceased breeding in 2018.
Although Dicksons' business is mainly breeding new roses, they have between 5000-8000 bare root roses for sale in the autumn (end of October-end of March).
[From The Florist and Pomologist
, November 1880, p. 176:] Mr. Alexander Dickson, Sem., of the Newtonards Nurseries, died on October 11th, aged 78. He was born near Hawthornden, and apprenticed to the gardening business at Dalhousie Castle, and removed thence to the Comely Bank Nurseries, Edinburgh, where he remained for several years. He subsequently removed to Ireland, to take charge of the gardens at Greyabbey, Down; and in 1836 founded the Newtonards Nurseries, which, in his hands and those of his sons, have acquired a well-earned fame.
[From "County Down Guide and Directory", by George Henry Bassett, 1886, p. 337:] ...nurseries of Messrs Alexander Dickson and Sons. They are within view of the railway entering the town from the Belfast direction. Here will be found the results of 50 years, spent in the most painstaking effort to reach the highest attainable rank among the seedsmen and nurserymen of the United Kingdom. The lands devoted to nursery purposes include about 30 acres, and in addition there is a farm of no acres, available for raising seed potatoes, and for testing seed oats, etc. Having plenty of room for experiments, Messrs. Alex. Dickson and Sons have succeeded in doing wonders in the various departments of their extensive enterprise. The raising of roses from artificially fertilized seeds is a special feature of their labors. It has enabled them to carry off over a thousand first prizes, medals and certificates of merit at shows throughout Great Britain and Ireland, and in the Isle of Man. Highest awards have been obtained at the shows of the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland, Dublin, the Horticultural Society, Liverpool, the West of Scotland Pansey Society, Glasgow, and the West of Scotland Rosarians' Society, Helensburgh. It also secured their appointment to the position of nurserymen and seedsmen to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. About two acres of the nursery are reserved for rose cultivation, and rhododendrons have an acre. The nursery on the Circular Road, about 12 acres, is used for the nurturing of coniferous and other trees, evergreen and flowering shrubs, including the latest novelties that have proved hardy out in the world. The finest yews in the County Down are in the Dickson nurseries. About an acre and a half of the 12 acre nursery is laid in grass, and set apart, without cost, for the annual show of the Newtownards Horticultural Society. It takes half and acre or more of glass houses to enable the firm to maintain an average annual production of about 30,000 pot plants. In the processes of development the plants pass through various houses, and are subjected to no end of atmospheric changes until they are ready for shipping. The firm of Messrs. Alexander Dickson and Sons was founded in 1836. Mr. Alex. Dickson died in 1880, since which time the business has been carried on by his son, Mr. George Dickson. A large amount of money has been spent in bringing the nurseries to their present state of perfection, and upon buildings in the immediate vicinity, including a handsome private residence and offices. The town establishment for the distribution of the nursery products, seeds, bulbs, etc., is at 55 Royal Avenue, Belfast.
[From Journal of Horticulture, Cottage Gardener and Home Farmer
, March 14, 1893, p. 217:] On the 4th inst, the Committee of the Newtownards Horticultural Society presented Mr. G. Dickson, J.P., the head of the firm of Messrs. A. Dickson & Sons, with a testimonial in recognition of the valuable services he has rendered the Society during the past thirty-seven years.
[From The Rose Annual
, 1921, p.122:] Around the Nurseries. ...Alex Dickson & Sons Ltd. Early in the 19th century, to be precise in 1836, this fine nursery was started by Alexander Dickson, great grandfather of the present Alexander....
[From A Rose Odyssey
, by J. H. Nicolas, 1937, p. 125ff:] The house of Alex Dickson and son is older than McGredy, having been established 1836...Alexander Dickson, the founder of the firm, was born in 1801. He was an enthusiastic hybridist; in fact, it was he who first demonstrated the possibility of preserving the vitality of pollen in hermetically sealed tubes (Dickson used quills in his earlier researches) and by this means he crossed the spring-flowering heaths with the autumn-flowering species...Last summer (1936) Alexander Dickson presented to the council of Newtownards a magnificent chain of oofice, to be worn by whoever may be chairman of the council in the years to come...No fewer than three generations were present at the proceedings. In addition to Alexander Dickson, there were his two sons, G. T. Dickson and Alexander Dickson, Jr, and Master A. P. Dickson, his grandson and the great-great-grandson of the founder of the firm.
[From the American Rose Annual 1950
, p. 187:] Dickson, Alexander, & Son, Newtownards, County Down, Ireland.
[From Australian Rose Annual
, 1976, p. 26:] Pat Dickson. Alex Dickson & Sons. In 1971 we opened new nurseries on a most pleasant site......
[From The Makers of Heavenly Roses
, by Jack Harkness, 1985, p. 43ff.:] Alexander Dickson was born in Scotland in 1801. In Northern Ireland, he obtained employment in the gardens of Grey Abbey and marries a young lady by the name of McGredy. They had two rose-growing sons: George, who was born in 1832, and Hugh. Alexander started into business on his own account in 1836....The two boys ..in 1853 ..became partners in the firm, which from that date was entitled Alexander Dickson & Sons. When Alexander died...Hugh decided to have a nursery of his own. He therefore withdrew in 1869, receiving one third of the value of the old business, with which he set up his new one in Belfast...
George Dickson...had four sons and employed them all in his nursery. The eldest was Alexander, born in 1857. He entered the business in 1872....[Alexander II] He and his brother George, whom we had better enter as George II, are the two out of the four brothers of interest to us, because of their future work on roses....George Dickson, ever receptive to new ideas, promptly started breeding roses in 1879. ...[He] and his two rose-minded sons became engrossed in this new venture, in the idea that they could determine the progeny by selecting its parents....Seven years later, in 1886, Alexander II took Dickson's 'First Set of Pedigree Seedlings'...to London...
In 1900, Dicksons became a limited company, with George as chairman and his four sons as directors....Alexander II retired in 1930. Of his two sons, Alexander II took over the roses and George III attended to the rest of the business, which consisted mainly of glass-houses producing carnations and other flowers for the market, and the Belfast seed store...
[From The Ultimate Rose Book
, by Stirling Macoboy, 1993, p. 224:] Dickson's had a fire in their offices in 1921 and the records of the breeding of their roses up to then were all destroyed.
[From The Complete Book of Roses
, Bush Roses and Standards
, by Sean McCann, 1994, p. 126:] In recent years the Dickson output of roses has tended to be in the pink-orange and yellow categories, and have always been widely appreciated. They are renowned for their flower power, producing lots of blooms right through the year...