Mr. Ralph Moore has begun his new life

Mr. Moore passed away today. Heaven has a new gardener - their gain, our loss.

Jim Sproul

Thanks Jim, I guess we all got word about the same time.

Best wishes. Robert


Sorry to hear the news; though it was to be expected. When Japan was honoring some of its seniors designating them as National Treasures who had excelled in diverse fields though were not necessarily well known to the public, I immediately thought of our Mr. Moore as our National Treasure. I remember reading when Dee Bennett decided to go into hybridizing minis and setting up a small rose nursery, most of the noted MALE hybridizers at the time that she consulted discouraged her. It was Mr. Moore who was the exception and not only encouraged her but gave her some of his roses to get started with. She was middle aged, living alone, and look what she accomplished thanks to his encouragement and help. I know he has been equally encouraging and generous with many on this forum. He has left a beautiful legacy of his roses, his groundbreaking horticultural endeavors, and his goodness and generosity towards others.

Thank you for sharing the news with us,

Jim Provenzano

What a life well fulfilled that he lived. He was an important man full of creativity. My regards to his family…

He’s dead, but his legacy survives and it will live for several years.

I read this news just after admiring some of the roses he created. What a creative and talented man whose name will hopefully live on for a very long time.

Sorry too hear this. He will be missed, but what a legacy to leave!

What a wonderful life he lived that resulted in the happiness for so many rose loving people all over the world. He had encouraged and helped many hybridizers to get started in this wonderful hobby. Mitchie and I often talk about the times that we were fortunate to spend visiting with him. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on.

I’d guess that 85% or more of my own seedlings and hybrids have Moore roses in their makeup. His roses are the foundation of much of what I am doing.

Very few people are as influential as Ralph has been to so many of us. He opened eyes and minds as much as he opened doors.

Until his death Monday night at age 102, lifelong Visalian Ralph Moore, celebrated internationally for introducing more than 500 miniature-rose varieties to the marketplace, remained a scientist.

During weekly outings to church, the doctor’s office or elsewhere, his daughter said Tuesday, Moore would observe and report, observe and report.

“He would say, ‘Wow, the mountains are really clear today,’ or ‘That used to be a blacksmith’s shop,’ or he’d notice a certain tree or bush and have a story to go with that,” said Eleanor Bergthold of Fresno. “He was very aware. He was a natural observer who was very aware of minute differences. That’s a good scientist.”

Moore died of natural causes about 8:45 p.m. Monday at Kaweah Delta Medical Center, Bergthold said. He lived with a caregiver at his Noble Avenue home near the site of his former business, Sequoia Nursery until the end.

Funeral services will be private, Bergthold said, but a “celebration of life” will be held Oct. 3 at First Presbyterian Church of Visalia.

“Ralph lived a long, good life,” said Visalia City Councilman Greg Collins, who met Moore about 25 years ago. “And it really brought Visalia some notoriety in that he grew up in this community.”

In 2004, the city dedicated the Ralph Moore Rose Garden in downtown Visalia’s Memorial Park. Among those on the garden-creation committee was Alan George of Visalia, who said Tuesday that Moore’s real monument is a body of work that millions of people will continue to enjoy.

That contribution has not gone unnoticed, said George, whose own yard features a hedge of Moore’s “Orange Honey” roses.

“I was down at the L.A. airport and picked up a book about significant people in the United States,” said George, a retired farm adviser for the University of California. “I looked up ‘California’ and it talked about Ralph Moore.”

A Google search is revealing as well, said Irene Lindsey, a friend of Moore’s who photographed roses for his catalogs

“Just do a search for ‘Ralph Moore, rosarian,’” she said. “You’ll be blown away at how the world sees him.”

Moore opened Sequoia Nursery in 1937 with “$800, a few hundred rose bushes and an idea,” according to the Web site for the nursery, which closed in 2008. He eventually crossed a pair of rose varieties to create “Zee,” the first miniature rose.

It was the first of hundreds, including “Climbing Jackie,” “Easter Morning,” “Yellow Doll,” “Pink Cameo,” “Mona Ruth,” “Fairy Princess” and “Magic Wand,” according to the Web site.

When the business closed, Moore donated hundreds of plants and his intellectual property rights to Texas A&M University. Moore continued to do backyard research until his death, his daughter said when he wasn’t on the move or entertaining Saturday afternoon visitors, that is.

"He would sometimes say, ‘I haven’t gotten much work done this week. There was too much going on,’ " Bergthold said.

Moore is survived by Bergthold and another daughter, Mona Sorenson of Eugene, Ore.; a son, Keith Moore of Visalia; and 10 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.