Hedi und Dr. Wernt Grimm
by Hermann Mielke
(Translation by E.A. Newton)

"Perle von Weißenstein"The “Pearl of Weissenstein” is one of the 133 roses which the Court Miniature Painter, Salomon Pinhas drew in about 1806.
This rose is associated with Hedi and Dr. Wernt Grimm in a very special way and will always remind us of this couple. It is through their initiative that the present day collection of roses in Wilhelmshöhe Park was founded again.
An almost complete contemporary document on bush roses has resulted on account of their knowledge, energy and constant commitment.

For Mrs. Hedi Grimm and Dr. Wernt Grimm it was their common ambition to the rose water-colours painted by Salomon Pinhas published as an art book so that it would be available to all the world's rose enthusiasts.
Due to their detailed studies of historic roses and above all their search for old sources on the bush roses in Wilhelmshöhe Park, their attention was drawn in the 1970's to the bound collection of roses painted by Pinhas in the Palace of Weissenstein's library.

They were so fascinated by this unique work that they committed themselves with a great amount of enthusiasm and energy for an edition of these hand painted watercolours of historic roses in a printed art form.

In the same way they searched single-mindedly in Wilhelmshöhe Park for old rose bushes which the painter Salomon Pinhas had used as his models. The search was crowned with success and their was great jubilation. They found the long forgotten bush rose, the “Pearl of Weissenstein” in a group of other bushes and trees near the fountain's pond. Since this rose was not grafted, therefore its roots were original, it had been able to survive protected by the surrounding bushes for over 200 years. Salomon Pinhas's painting of the “Pearl of Weissenstein” was identical in its characteristic bud and the flower form with the rose rediscovered in the park.

The “Pearl of Weissenstein” was considered by experts to be the first well known cultivated German rose. It was cultivated and propagated by Daniel August Schwarzkopf, the court gardener of Landgrave Friedrich II (1765-1785) at the time.

This sensational discovery in the history of roses was only a small part of what this married couple achieved. Bush roses were replanted on the “Island of Roses” and in its vicinity according to the precepts of English landscape gardens by the Grimms and the members of the Rose Society of Wilhelmshöhe Park's Island of Roses, founded in 1977, together with the administration of the state palaces and gardens. Up until the present day these roses are looked after and cared for with great enthusiasm by by the members of the rose society with their specialized knowledge.

Owing to the personalities of Dr. and Mrs Grimm the long-standing tradition of the landgraves passion for collecting, in this case roses, has been taken up again and made the visitors to the park aware of it.

In 1982 the couple were awarded the city medal of Kassel for their tireless devotion and work and in 1997 the State of Hesse's Letter of Commendation.

The Grimms also wrote books and informed papers for journals on roses. They founded a yearly course of lectures on roses called the “Kassel Roundtable Discussion”. Dr. Wernt Grimm died on 18th March 2000 when he was 88. His wife became in the same year an honorary member of the Rose Society of Wilhelmshöhe Park's Island of Roses.

Up until a ripe old age she tirelessly took upon herself using her specialist knowledge and practical experience the task of looking after and caring for the bush roses in the park. It was a remarkable achievement.

For all the rose enthusiasts who personally knew Hedi and Dr. Wernt Grimm the “Pearl of Weissenstein” will perpetuate their memories of them and their influence.

Hermann Mielke