What are Vintage Roses?
Just as vintages of wine reflect the year the wine was produced, the idea of vintage roses is that the age and flavor of a rose reflect the aesthetics of the time it first appeared in gardens.
Are Vintage Roses easy to grow?
Every rose is assigned to a rose group or class with similar DNA like Hybrid Teas and Floribundas. (Think of pure bred dogs or cats.) The genetics of a rose class may tend to make the individual rose variety better suited to a particular climate. Delve into our catalog where some 35 rose classes are very simply described.
Where can I find more information about roses?
Help Me Find roses is the best resource on the web. Thousands of rose varieties are documented, described, illustrated by shared photos, and commented on by today’s gardeners. Resources for finding plants for sale are provided in a simple tab system, which will include gardens public and private where it grows.
Where can I go to see and learn more about vintage roses?
The Heritage Roses Group formed in the 1970s and is still active. Regional groups exist around the country. Many groups have old rose celebrations during the peak of rose bloom, to show hundreds of different vintage roses and offer advice about what grows well where you live.
About Our Rose Collection
What is The Friends of Vintage Roses collection of historic roses?
A collection of nearly 5000 rose varieties was gathered by Gregg Lowery and Phillip Robinson beginning in the early 1980s. These roses formed the basis of a nursery that Gregg began by mail order in 1988. The nursery grew into a retail/mail order nursery and continued until 2014 when it closed. The collection was given to a nonprofit that formed in 2012-13 in Sebastopol, California.
Where is the collection now?
The core of the collection, some 3000 varieties resides in the garden originally created for them in Sebastopol. That garden spaced is leased by the nonprofit. Many of those varieties are being curated by other gardeners across the USA. An inventory of the mother plants and locations is being developed and documented on HelpMeFind.com.
Can the collection be visited?
Not yet, but stay tuned! The original garden and its rose collection has been undergoing a gradual restoration over the past decade. Progress has sped up in recent years with the support of monthly donors dedicated to preserving the roses, our Guardians of the Rose. We work toward a day when the general public has an opportunity to visit, within the limits of our site.
About Our Rose Sales
Is The Friends of Vintage Roses a nursery and can I go there?
We actively propagate these rose varieties in order to provide our curators across the country with plants to seed their preservation collections. We propagate about 3000 roses each year. Once we have fulfilled our commitments to the curators, small quantities of a rose variety may remain for us to offer in virtual online sales. Plants purchased must be picked up at the Sebastopol site by appointment. WE DO NOT SHIP PLANTS!
Are The Friends of Vintage Roses a retail nursery?
No, we are a plant preservation nonprofit, and our mission is to preserve. Most of the work that goes into propagating plants is done by volunteers. Some of the maintenance of our mother plants is performed by paid professionals.
Do you ship your roses?
No, roses purchased in our online sales, twice yearly, must be picked up at our Sebastopol site. WE DO NOT SHIP PLANTS!
About Our Work
What does The Friends of Vintage Roses do?
Our efforts are focused on building a strong community of passionate rose lovers who share and search for the next generation to steward this collection of historic roses into the future.
About Helping Us
What is the best way I can help the Friends?
Join us as a sustaining member. A Guardian of the Rose is a monthly donor of $10 per month, or the yearly equivalent. Guardians have priority ordering when we offer plants for sale. Whether you live near or far, as a Guardian you are helping us to maintain a legacy of roses as a gift to future generations of gardeners and lovers of roses, and for their potential value to human knowledge and scientific research.
What do volunteers do?
Some local volunteers assist with the maintenance of the rose mother plants and rooted plants, and with propagation of varieties for curators. Others have extended a virtual hand by helping us to proof our newsletters and website, by offering articles to enrich our newsletters, and by assisting on public education projects, like the Heirloom Expo or the Celebration of Old Roses. Photographers are assisting us with cataloging the collection, and experienced rosarians have helped with identification of rose varieties. Ask our volunteer coordinators if your skills are needed!