Help Us Preserve this Comprehensive Collection of Old Roses
Educating the public about the importance of the rose to human history, cultures, technology and science
The world’s a garden; pleasures are the flowers,
Of fairest hues, in form and number many; …
—William Shakespeare, The Garden
Rosarians world-wide consider the collection to be one of the most comprehensive multiple-class collections of old roses ever assembled. Of particular note — the Hybrid Perpetuals, Bourbons, Gallicas, Hybrid Chinas, Teas, Noisettes and Chinas — are among the most complete in North America and the old Hybrid Teas include an extensive group of Pernetianas.
In addition to the historic roses in our collection, TFoVR also owns approximately 1,000 books, pamphlets, and journals on miscellaneous rose subjects.
Tax ID is 45-5624170.
All contributions are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.
The Friends of Vintage Roses exists to preserve and enhance the unique and extensive collection of historic roses developed by Gregg Lowery and Phillip Robinson, to establish the collection in a garden, and to share the collection with other public rose preservation efforts, all for the purpose of educating the public about the importance of the rose to human history, cultures, technology and science.
Events: Find out about our ongoing work on the collection and how to volunteer on our Dirt Days page.
Beginning in the early 1980s, Gregg Lowery and Phillip Robinson, with the assistance of others, developed the collection through gifts of plant material from then still-existent old gardens or small nurseries in the United States, from cuttings propagated from old plants discovered in California and other states at abandoned homesteads, old cemeteries and the like, and by purchasing and importing cultivars no longer available elsewhere from specialized nurseries abroad.
This passion for old roses resulted in documented inventories of 5,412 named cultivars. While some of the cultivars cannot be found in the collection at present, TFoVR is working to inventory all existing plants and to obtain replacements for lost specimens deemed worthy of continued representation in the collection.
The collection has provided DNA for important scientific rose studies as well. Notable studies include the research of Professor Maurice Jay at Strausbourg University in France, the pigment research pursued by Dr. Yuki Mikanagi at Kobe University in Japan, and the Noisette and Tea studies conducted by Dr. Nancy Morvello at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida.
Roses in the collection have been the source of propagation material provided to numerous public rose gardens, including in California: the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, the Historic Rose Garden in the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, the University of California Botanical Garden (Berkeley), the Rose Garden at The Huntington Botanical Gardens (San Marino), and Hearst Castle State Park (San Simeon); in Shreveport, Louisiana: the Heritage Rose Foundation Garden at the American Rose Center; in Charleston, South Carolina: the Noisette Garden at Hampton Park; in New York: the Heritage Rose District of New York City; and in Sakura, Japan: the Sakura Heritage Rose Garden. Plant material from the collection also has provided replacements for old roses long missing from the world-recognized rose gardens at Roseraie de l’Hay-les-roses in Paris, the Europa-Rosarium in Sangerhausen, Germany and in the United Kingdom, the National Trust’s historic rose garden at Mottisfont Abbey.