To comprehend the struggle The Friends of Vintage Roses face working to save 3500 old rose varieties, we offer this aerial view of the garden, the pots and roses we must care for, and pass along to others who’ve volunteered to help us preserve.
This image comes from 2 years ago, just prior to our work to remove blackberries from the garden and from swallowing 4000 roses in containers. Around the perimeter of the 3 acre site are rows and rows of roses in plastic pots.
Your donations will aid us in weeding, repotting with fresh soil, feeding and mulching these roses. Many will be adopted by groups assisting the Friends. Others will bear new growth this summer that we will use to strike cuttings from, to share with others, and pass on in our yearly sale to supplement donations that keep us going. Step back to the 1990s for a glimpse of that beauty with me!
—Gregg Lowery, curator, The Friends of Vintage Roses
In 1992–3 stage 3 of this garden was developed and planted: 983 Hybrid Teas and Floribundas in an amphitheater, surrounded by 300 Hybrid Perpetuals, Bourbons, Ramblers and species roses. At the top a long arbor with three pergolas and parallel walls of old climbing roses.
An explosion of roses, 1994. A young nurseryman answers questions.
The Celebration of Old Roses in El Cerrito, California brought together a great community of lovers of old roses when it began in the 1980s. That community embraced the Vintage collection of historic roses and supported the building of a garden to display these living treasures. The many friends we made back then have continued to the present to make a difference. Dr. Gene Peck of Oakland stepped up to make certain we got a start with a site for the roses to live. It is fitting that today this collection belongs to the world, to all of the Gene Pecks in it, the friends of vintage roses.