Archiving roses

I’ve long known gardens, collections and interesting/important roses seldom outlive their creators. This has been driven home once again this past week. The thread concerning breeding modern moss roses set me on the hunt for Ralph Moore’s 7-58-1, a modern mossy HT/floribunda (depending upon whose Bible you believe).

I grew this for many years and Ralph donated it through me to The Huntington Library, with several other roses, for them to use as exclusive fund raisers. I propagated what I could as a garden volunteer there and worked out an arrangement with Ashdown for them to propagate plants to be sold at Ralph’s Great Rosarians of the World celebration. Ashdown provided the plants and the volunteers dutifully potted them. I spent that morning before the event selling all the plants we had potted for the sale.

This week, that thread brought back the idea that this should be in other hands to be made good use of. My garden had to be dismantled a few years ago and moved after 18 years. Sadly, I no longer have the rose. Fortunes have changed for Ashdown and there is no longer a plant of it there, either. Neither Carolyn nor Burling have access to a plant of this rose and it no longer exists at the old Sequoia site. Paul Barden doesn’t have it. Cliff Orent doesn’t have it, either, as it was something which never came his way. Texas A&M MAY have it, however it can’t be located as there are many unidentified plants there and none of the identified ones bear this tag. Even sadder is none of the fund raising roses were ever planted at The Huntington. I find no evidence of it being listed on any nursery list available through HMF.

I have posted requests for anyone still having it to please contact me on Rosarian’s Corner, Help Me Find-Roses and Garden Web with no responses. The San Jose Heritage doesn’t have it. HMF lists one public garden in Canada which lists it in their garden. I’m waiting for a response from them about my request for cuttings.

Until he donated this rose, it was one of many shared with the understanding of “don’t let this get away from you”, meaning don’t distribute it.

Unless the rose is widely distributed, each one’s existence is tenuous at best. If you create something useful, interesting, potentially important, even if only in your eyes, please share it far and wide! Perhaps, contacting someone like Burling Leong at her nursery in Visalia and offering it to her with an explanation of what it is and why you feel it important would be a good idea? Share it with someone who can produce it and distribute it, then write about it, make it known it exists and where. Create a pull demand for it so it gets out there to increase its chance of survival. Ralph handed out a few plants of this rose over the years. I sold a number of them to the public at his event. Several of us had it, but have lost it among the many other roses which have passed through our hands. Ralph lost it, and many others, a few times over the years. If there aren’t others out there from which to collect material, it’s as if it never existed and that effort and creativity are lost.

Point well taken, Kim. Perhaps its time the members of the RHA created a document listing what rare plants we have archived in our collections?

Paul B.

Wonderful idea! Perhaps put something here accessible to anyone who wishes to include things? A document where someone has to moderate or maintain it will likely not be used as few have the time nor energy to keep it going, but something here where we can list them ourselves, like nursery listings on Help Me Find might work?

It’s probably time to make sure things get spread around, again, too. With the demise of so many nurseries, of all sizes, and the loss of people who have been mainstays in the rose world, we ARE entering into “The Dark Ages” of roses and many other things. When I first really took notice of roses, 25+ years ago, there were actually more nurseries around than now, but far fewer than existed ten to fifteen years ago. It’s cyclical. OGRs weren’t really being paid attention to as they’d fallen out of favor. Renewed interest brought them, and many odd things, out of hiding and those offering wonderful things started businesses to distribute them. Had it not been for people growing forgotten roses, they couldn’t have been “found” and reintroduced. Ralph’s roses, Basye’s roses, many other more widely known breeders’ roses came out of the wood work and were grown and enjoyed. The world is contracting. Nurseries of all sizes are disappearing. People are dying and gardening is taking a back seat to existing. If we want important things to be available to be rediscovered when the Dark Ages end, they have to be KNOWN to be somewhere. And, there has to be greater willingness to actually share them.

Ralph’s Zee came to mind. He never shared that rose and he lost it. Because of just normal occurances, it became extinct. I have heard him say numerous times over the years how he wished he’d spread it around as he would love to have used it again. He finally had other roses he thought would be great with it, but the rose was gone.

Along the same lines, if Ralph had not shared 0-47-19 with one or two people, it would be long gone now, since Ralph lost it himself at one point.

I wonder if people would collaborate on a Google Document to list their assets? Google Docs is meant to be used in collaborative situations where multiple authors must write a single document. Its not that difficult to do, and not very time consuming. HMF doesn’t offer anything like that, as far as I know. It would be most meaningful to have a single document listing these assets. sounds perfect to me. I know OF them but am not familiar with them yet. That should make it much easier for the RHA, too, as it wouldn’t require any “official action” be taken to create programming on the site. How do we get that started?

Yes, we both have replaced 0-47-19 for Ralph. I know I also gave him MORqueencrest, as I think you have, also, when it croaked on him.

Oh, Robert, the “dwarf Clinophylla X Bracteata” seedling you gave me, dated 12-19-04, has limped along all this time. Today, in the torrential rains, there is a four inch, #2 pencil thickness basal shooting up through the center of it. The rest of the plant still looks like an asparagus fern, like the more “weepy” 1-72-1 X (Dottie Louise X Fedtschenkoana) seedling. Standing, looking at it in the rain, they impressed me as being potentially interesting to cross together. The Clinophylla X Bracteata plant has very nice foliage, very dense, bright green, with quite short internodal sections. I hope it remains smaller.

Kim, et al:

I winder what format of doc would be more useful: a word doc or a spreadsheet? If you want to archive as much detail about the origin and nature of the plant as possible, a spreadsheet might be more helpful. (I am leaning towards the spreadsheet idea, myself) That way you could include columns for parentage, provenance, growth habit, etc.

What other data do you think should be included?

How about using both types of documents? A spreadsheet would be most useful to catalog crosses, locations, etc. A word.doc permits more information to be collected. don’t provide quick referencing and may become too unwieldy while speadsheets prevent full descriptions and observations from being collected.

I’d hope for as indepth observations and descriptions from the contributors as they can/will provide. The ideal would be for the information collected to be good enough to enable identification of the plant.

You might think about making a Google Earth maplet to mark the location of the plants. It’s one thing to know someone had it, another to know where they had it.

Google Earth as well as a spreadsheet column for location. Might make it a little more fun and interesting seeing where some of these things perform as they do.

Kim and Paul:

I like the idea and I think some type of program would be very useful for someone like me that is just getting started. I’m wondering though if HMF would be a good solution. I know that I can look through there and see the plants that I have as well as those of others. What I don’t see is a way to search for gardens, nurseries and breeders that have a particular rose and whether it is available for purchase, cuttings, seed or whatever.

I don’t know much about how such a program would be constructed, whether in HTML, spreadsheet, database like Access, etc. But I think most of what you both have suggested is already in HMF, but I’m not sure if HMF could or would be willing to make this search addition to their site. I for one would be more than willing to pay for that information on top of the membership fees.


What HMF does not offer is a concise list of proprietary breeding plants that is shared by a certain group of people. The idea here is to provide a list of important breeding plants that are not in commerce and/or are traded only amongst other hybridizers. At least thats my take on the concept.

I am not very interested in providing Google Map info about where individual plants are located, because of the problems I know some people have had with theft from their gardens. I am not suggesting we cannot trust one another with such data, but any date, once shared, is never truly private data anymore.

Theft from their gardens? Seriously? …wow. Ive seen it wholesale and retail. And I have seen blooms stolen. But actual plants, specifically breeding stock?


Yeah, I absolutely agree with Paul.

SOME breeders may, rightly, not wish to disclose the location of their precious breeding stock, I imagine for security reasons.

The feature is on It catalogs roses in user gardens.

The important thing, really, is to circulate the roses around. I’m not sure how many people have 0-47-19, but as far I know… you and Paul are the only ones to have it.

Which is good because now Ralph Moore’s collection is gone… at least it’s in other garden.

But, as everyone here gets older… the chances of it becoming lost will increase. And more than likely, it will be lost in the future-- and luckily, found again.

This is why documentation of roses are needed. Pictures, descriptions, places last seen, nurseries that sold it, etc–

Anything and everything that could be read in the future and help a future rosarian to find it again in the future.

I had access to many of the things at Sequoia but chose not to take them on for one reason or another. I’ve got proprietary breeding stock here from other sources but I’m not delusional enough to think I will keep these things forever.

I don’t have the space nor will I be around forever. I’ve already reduced my collection of named varieties at least by half. Others soon to be on the chopping block.

As time passes I have more and more of my own things I’d like preserved. It’s up to each of us to make sure our stuff is perpetuated. Once we’re gone all bets are off. That’s just the way it is.

We’ll be lucky if the stuff we’ve created isn’t perpetuated and claimed by someone else.

As we know that’s already happening in the industry as we speak.

"We’ll be lucky if the stuff we’ve created isn’t perpetuated and claimed by someone else.

As we know that’s already happening in the industry as we speak."

Wow! So my question is, how are you that are putting roses into commerce protecting your investment?

And I’m surprized that Paul said people are stealing breeding stock.

Geez. I worked with parolees for years and thought I left that BS behind.

“So my question is, how are you that are putting roses into commerce protecting your investment?”

Now there’s a concept. There’s no such thing. Even patents have their limitations. The roses I have released into commerce have no protection whatsoever. Like Robert, I am a cynic and expect at some point some unscrupulous nurseryman is going to just rename one of my roses and treat it as his own, reaping all of the rewards in the process. Not a bloody thing I can do to prevent such a thing.

The thought of patents in horticulture is depressing.

“I worked with parolees for years and thought I left that BS behind.”


I worked in the wholesale trade for years. We used to sell Moore minis under generic names all the time.

Just another cog in the machine. We should all be so flattered.