Pickering Nurseries is now located in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada, where we consolidated our operations in 2004, closing the garden center in Pickering. We have been growing and shipping roses to rose lovers all over the continent--and sometimes beyond, since 1956. We grow a large variety of cultivars, including modern varieties and, our specialty, Antique Roses from years past. Our website contains a large rose database (892 varieties) full of information and includes as many pictures as we can take. So whether you are buying or just browsing, please take advantage of it.
Family History: Parents Henri and Trinette Schraven (pictured in car below) raised ten children during the depression years, prior to World War 2. It was a difficult time for a nurseryman in Holland: roses and fruit trees (my father’s specialties) were burned by the thousands those years for lack of export markets. At the end of the war, during the winter of ’44-’45, the family home in the picture’s background, was badly damaged while the family was evacuated. At extreme left in the picture is eldest son Mathew who operated the family nursery with his son Henri until he passed away December 31 1984. Henri continues to operate the nursery.
Having traveled extensively, my father was a great believer in his sons looking beyond Holland’s borders. Thus, in 1946 I sojourned in France at two nurseries, working for “pocket-money”. Believe it or not: wine was rationed in France at the time; the fortnightly allowance of a litre bottle didn’t usually last long, especially when consumed with a tough horse steak, which was a common item on the French menu shortly after the war. The “Midway Victory” (a former war freighter) sailed in March 1947 from Rotterdam to New York, and I was one of its 13 passengers. In June I witnessed the opening of Jackson & Perkins’ newly developed beautiful rose garden in Newark, New York. The Hybrid Tea ‘Diamond Jubilee’ was featured on the front of the ’47 J&P catalogue. Apart from the generosity of the company’s directors/owners (among others: Charles Perkins, Gene Boerner, Dick Holmes) what impressed me also was the fact that the budding crews were taken to the fields by company busses. After all, they budded a few million roses each summer! They budded more than the combined total of a number of nurseries in the area where I grew up in Holland. It was also my first acquaintance with ‘potted roses’ for summer sales, a concept as yet unknown in Europe.
But, as much as I wanted to stay in the USA permanently, I had to leave since my visa was “temporary”. Thus, passage on United Fruit’s banana boat “Ouisqueya” from New York to Honduras, had me arrive there in November 1947. Though not engaged in rose growing, work in seedling production of teak, mahogany and oil palm, and ultimately as assistant manager on one of Standard Fruit Company’s banana plantations, was most interesting. Meanwhile I had applied for an immigration visa to both the USA and Canada, thinking of settling in whichever country granted the first opportunity. Consequently, I arrived in Canada in September 1950, and planted the first few thousand rose understocks in the spring of 1951. I had the name “Pickering Nurseries” registered in 1956.
partnership with my son Joel, and with the help of a dedicated staff, may
we look forward to supplying you with quality rose plants for years to