Ralph Moore's 100th. Birthday!

Sunday January 14, 2007 Ralph Moore will celebrate his 100th. birthday with a few hundred of his closest friends and family at the Visalia Convention Center in Visalia CA.

A dinner and meeting of the Virtual Rose Society will follow at the Vintage Press Restaurant. Jim Sproul, myself and many others plan to be in attendance. (Rose swap to ensue!)

There will a reception at Sequoia Nursery on Monday the 15th. at 11:00 a.m. where light refreshments will be served.

I met Mr. Moore when I was a teenager and young horticulture 30 years ago. He has always been a role model and mentor.

We spent many hours discussing breeding strategies and while exploring his fascinating collection of roses on several occasions. He was always very generous with his time and energy with myself and many others.

I had the good fortune to observe and give perspective on some of his most successful seedlings including ‘Playgirl’, ‘Cal Poly’ and many others before they were introduced.

I’ve only had the luxury to explore rose breeding for the past few years but I can well understand his addiction. Like myself Mr. Moore is interested in many types of plants.

He also has bred and introduced fruit trees, Gerberas, Lilacs, Arborvitae, Amaryllis and others.

He was a contemporary and friend of Walter Lammerts. He Met and had discussion and correspondence with Luther Burbank, Pedro Dot and many in an era long before computers made such communication as simple and efficient as it is today.

Part of the nursery is being sold off to help fund Mr. Moore’s endowment to U.C. Davis where a permanent collection of his work is to be preserved.

It saddens me to see another chapter in rose history come to a close but it is necessary to fund future endeavors.

Mr. Moore has life estate and the portion of the nursery that houses the majority of his work and collection will be preserved as long as he needs it.

The nursery will continue with the efforts of his dedicated employees.

Mr. Moore didn’t begin controlled rose hybridizing until almost middle age which gives us all hope.

May we all have the good fortune to enjoy over 50 years of rose hybridizing. Mr. Moore’s legacy is sure to live on in the work of many RHA members.

As Mr. Moore says, and I paraphrase,

“All rose breeders stand on the shoulders of those who come before”

Any who have the means should try to visit Sequoia Nursery in the near future. It is truly the end of an era in rose hybridizing.

We are all just links in a chain. Thanks, Robert

There are a LOT of people standing on that man’s shoulders, Robert. What a generous man he is. And what a blessing to have the opportunity to do such wonderful work for 70 uninterrupted years. Few of us are that lucky.


You both have had the good fortune of not only meeting the man but learning extensively from him. What an awesome thing that has to be. I cannot add anything more to what has already been said. I just wish I could be there to meet him just once. It would be the thrill of a lifetime.


His generosity, kindness, humility and thoughtfulness are widely known. He is amazingly insightful, and though 100 years old remains sharp, and with a good healthy sense of humor. He is a man of faith, a man of virtue and a man of imagination.

In this day and time, to find all of these qualities in the same man is quite rare.

Since I first met him, I knew that he was an extraordinary human being. Since that first meeting, I have been regularly drawn back to Visalia and hold each visit with him in my mind as special. I am so thankful for each occasion that he has spent with me. The more time that I spent with him, the greater has been my own interest in hybridizing roses. His vision for the future of roses has been infectious to others and to me. It is a malady that I am happy to have acquired and one for which I do not seek a cure!

Happy Birthday Mr. Moore! Thank you for your roses and thank you even more for the important example that you have been to all of us.

Love and God

Up here in moose country, it’s rare to meet such a man. I’d certainly give a man that age a big hug and KISS if he were standing in front of me.

Happy Birthday Mr. Moore :slight_smile:

We had a wonderful turn out with perhaps 500 in attendance at the Visalia Convention Center.

Mr. Moore was awarded a special medal by Ann Bird, President, from the Royal National Rose Society of England.

I need to get the specifics on the award but I believe it has only ever been awarded one other time.

Special awards were made by ARS before and after.

The funding of Genetics Chair in Mr. Moore’s name at U.C. Davis was made official with his contribution of a check for a million dollars.

We adjourned to a special dinner with about 40 Rosarians after, and attended a breakfast reception the next morning at the nursery where most rosarians were scurrying about sharing stories and information and adding to their collections.

It was a special day indeed. Mr. Moore kept up with the festivities for the entire event. He seemed to be very pleased and to be enjoying the whole thing.

He truly is amazing. He has touched the lives of many.

More info

Link: www.fresnobee.com/270/story/24206.html

It was a very special and touching event. Everyone who can make a visit to Visalia this Spring will find the visit very memorable.

Jim Sproul