List of famous rose breeders

Category: Rose Breeders

List of famous rose breeders, prominent rose breeders, rose history, famous rosarians, notable rosarians

Here’s a detailed list of famous rose breeders known for their particular contributions to the field. I hope this will be beneficial in discovering a little more history behind the rose flowers we all love.

Rose breeders are a patient bunch… it can take a lifetime to produce the perfect rose. If you ever do. How many of us actually consider the time, work, patience, and expertise that goes into producing the latest varieties in your local garden centre?

The best breeders through the ages have been part gardener, part scientist, part rose historian and part artist. Just wafting a bit of pollen around a rose then hoping you get some viable seed to plant next year is never going to produce anything of note. Each new generation of rose breeder builds on the work and advances of the previous ones… we have never had such a wide variety of beautiful roses as we do today.

So here is a tribute to some of the best, the notable, the people who gave us varieties that have become the backbone of our rose gardens. These are listed in alphabetical order.

List of notable rose breeders

Letter Breeders Name Born Died Country Known For
A John S. Armstrong 1865 1965 US In 1889, John Armstrong established Armstrong Garden Centers, became a renowned rose-breeder, and the first to create a rose catalog.
A David C. H. Austin 1926 2018 UK Was a British rose breeder and writer who lived in Shropshire, England. His emphasis was on breeding roses with the character and fragrance of old garden roses
(such as gallicas, damasks, and alba roses) but with the repeat-flowering ability and wide color range of modern roses such as hybrid teas and floribundas.
B Rene Barbier 1845 1931 France Founder of the Barbiers nursery.
B Peter Beales 1936 2013 UK Was a specialist in classic and species roses, preserving many old and wild roses at his Norfolk nursery and also introducing 70 new cultivars. He was also the author of several classic books on roses.
B Henry Bennett (rose hybridizer) 1823 1890 UK Was one of the first rosarians to systematically breed roses. His hybrids, between Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals, were called Hybrides de Thé or Hybrid Teas.
B Eugene Boerner 1894 1968 US Boerner was known, was a world-renowned rose breeder, and a pioneer in the development of Floribundas. Boerner developed more than 60 floribundas rose cultivars during his 45-year career at Jackson & Perkins; eleven Boerner rose cultivars were given the All-America Rose Selections (AARS) award.
B Johannes Böttner 1861 1919 Germany A German horticulturist who created several new rose cultivars, e.g. ‘Frankfurt’ and ‘Fragezeiche.
B Griffith Buck 1915 1991 US Professor of horticulture at Iowa State University from 1948 to 1985, hybridized nearly 90 rose varieties known for disease resistance and winter hardiness.
C Tom Carruth US Tom Carruth has worked for Jackson & Perkins, Armstrong Roses and Weeks Rose Growers,has created more than 100 rose varieties, including eleven All America Rose Selections (AARS). He is currently the E.L. and Ruth B. Shannon Curator of the Rose Collections at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.
C Alister Clark 1864 1949 Australia Was an amateur nurseryman based near Melbourne, who introduced more than 130 new roses suitable for the Australian climate. Notable introductions include ‘Lorraine Lee’ and ‘Squatter’s Dream’.
C Anne Cocker 1920 2014 UK Known for her unusually colored and patterned rose varieties. Award-winning rose breeder.
C Pierre Antoine Marie Crozy 1831 1903 France Was a nineteenth-century French rose breeder.
D Georges Delbard 1905 1999 France Delbard of France is a world pioneer in Apple, Rose and later Dahlia breeding.
D Alexander Dickson 1801 1880 UK Founder of the rose nursery Dickson Roses.
D Anna de Diesbach 1844 1929 France French rosarian. Has a rose named after her.
D Pedro Dot 1885 1976 Spain Put Spanish rose growing on the map and is best known for the shrub ‘Nevada’ and his work to improve the flower shape of miniature varieties.
F Olive Fitzhardinge 1881 1956 Australia Was the first Australian rose breeder to patent her work. Her three surviving roses ‘Warrawee’, ‘Lady Edgeworth David’ and ‘Lubra’ can be seen in Australian collections.
F Eugenio Fojo 1899 N/A Spain Was a Spanish rose breeder and the founder of ‘La Florida’, the most influential plant nursery and garden design firm in northern Spain and the Basque Country in the 1930s.His rose ‘Irene Churruca’ is still sold as one of the classic roses of that era.
G Rudolf Geschwind 1829 1910 Germany Was a Austro-Hungarian amateur rose breeder who introduced 140 new varieties, focusing on winter hardiness and vigour. His creations include ‘Gruss an Teplitz’, which was included into the Old Rose Hall of Fame in 2000. Author of the first German book about rose breeding.
G Jean-Marie Gonod 1827 1888 French Was a French rosarian, working for the Parc de la Tźte d’Or in Lyon.
G Jules Gravereaux 1844 1916 France He built the first garden devoted exclusively to roses, the Roseraie de L’Haō. He created 27 new cultivars. Primarily for rose oil production – the cultivar ‘Rose ą parfum de L’Haō’, among others.
G Jean-Baptiste André Guillot 1827 1893 France Was a pioneering rose hybridizer in Lyons, France, in the later half of the 19th Century. He introduced roses from 1850 to about 1887. He is famous for producing the first Hybrid Tea, ‘La France’, introduced in 1867.
H John Harkness 1857 1933 UK Founded Harkness Roses nursery in 1879 in Yorkshire together with a brother.
H Robert Harkness 1851 1920 UK Founded Harkness Roses nursery in 1879 in Yorkshire together with a brother.
H Nicolai Anders von Hartwiss 1793 1860 Russia Was a Livonian-born Russian botanist, plant explorer and plant breeder, who created more than 100 varieties of roses at the Nikita Garden.
H Roy Hennessey 1897 1968 US Was a rose nurseryman in Scappoose, Oregon in the early part of the 20th century. He published works on rose cultivation that often countered prevailing practices.
H Nicolas Jean Henri 1875 1937 US Rose author, breeder and discoverer.
H Albert Hoffmann (horticulturist) 1846 1924 Germany Was a German rosarian and one of the founders of the “Sangerhausen Rosarium”.
H Sir Abraham Hume, 2nd Baronet 1749 1838 UK Both Sir Abraham Hume and his wife Amelia Egerton were active as rosarians and developed several rose cultivars at their estate in Hertfordshire.
J Albert E. Jackson 1807 1895 US One of the founders of Jackson & Perkins an American company that cultivates roses.
J Henri Antoine Jacques 1782 1866 France Was a breeder of several French roses, under the patronage of King Louis Philippe I.
J Brad Jalbert US Is a Canadian rose hybridizer, known for introducing the ‘Loretta Lynn Van Lear’ rose, the ‘Marylou Whitney’ rose and the ‘Royal City Rose’. Jalbert also created The Divine Miss M rose named after Bette Midler to honor her work as founder of the New York Restoration Project.
K Hermann Kiese 1865 1923 Germany Was a German rosarian. He is one of the founders of the Verein Deutscher Rosenfreunde and was chief editor of the magazine Rosen-Zeitung for five years. Notable cultivars he introduced are ‘Tausendschön’ (1906), ‘Otto von Bismarck’ (1908) a nd ‘Gruß an Frankfurt’ (1918).
K George Robert Knight 1879 1961 Australia Was an Australian rose breeder.
K Wilhelm Kordes I 1865 1935 German Was a German horticulturist. In 1887 he created a rose garden in Elmshorn, specializing in growing garden roses. Founded rose breeding company W. Kordes’ Sohne with his sons.
L Peter Lambert (rosarian) 1859 1939 Germany Was a German rose breeder from Trier, who bred many original rose varieties. He was a founder of the Verein Deutscher Rosenfreunde (German Rose Society), was a jurist for several rose competitions (Saint Petersburg, Paris, London, etc.) and helped establish the Europa-Rosarium at Sangerhausen.
L Henri Lédéchaux N/A N/A France Was a French rosarian and the breeder of ‘American Beauty’ (1875).
L Louis Lens 1924 2001 Belgium Belgian rose breeder. His cultivars ‘Pascali’ was chosen as World’s Favourite Rose in 1991.
M Sam McGredy UK/ Refers to 4 generations of Northern Irish rose hybridizers. Sam McGredy I founded the family nursery in 1880. Sam McGredy II focused the nursery on roses in 1895. Sam McGredy III took over in 1926, and was the first to name roses after family members. Sam McGredy IV moved operations to New Zealand in 1974,  and focused on Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras.
M Antoine Meilland France The founder of Meilland International SA.
M Ralph S. Moore 1907 2009 US The California based breeder of more than 500 roses, is known as ‘the father of Modern Miniatures’ and was a hugely influential figure in the development of commercial approaches to rose hybridization.
M Hilda Murrell 1906 1984 UK Was an English rose grower, naturalist, diarist and campaigner against nuclear energy and weapons. She led Edwin Murrell Ltd from 1937 to 1970 and was an internationally respected rose-grower and authority on rose species, old-fashioned varieties and miniature roses.
N Werner Noack 1927 Germany Werner Noack in Germany had been breeding roses since 1957 when, in 1988, he developed what he’d been trying for, a robust garden rose.
N Louis Claude Noisette 1772 1849 France Was a French botanist. The Noisette roses were named after him.
N Pierre Notting 1825 1895 Luxembourg Was a Luxembourgian rosarian known for his breeding of rose cultivars. With his friend Jean Soupert, he established the “Soupert & Notting” company specializing in growing roses in Limpertsberg.
P William Paul 1822 1905 UK Was an English horticulturalists and writer, known for his book The Rose Garden.
P Joseph Pemberton 1852 1926 UK Was a British rosarian, remembered for creating the hybrid musk class of cultivated roses.
P Lord Penzance 1816 1899 UK Was a noted British judge and rose breeder, creating among others the varieties ‘Lady Penzance’ and ‘Jeanie Deans’.
P Joseph Pernet-Ducher 1859 1928 France Was among the first rose breeders to focus on developing the new Hybrid Tea class.
P Jean Pernet 1832 1896 France Was a Lyon nurseryman whose notable roses include the Moss variety ‘Louis Gimard’ and the Hybrid Perpetual ‘Baronne Adolphe de Rothschild’.
P Charles H. Perkins 1840 1924 US One of the founders of Jackson & Perkins an American company that cultivates roses.
R Frank Riethmuller 1884 1965 Australia Was an Australian rose breeder, known to have released 26 roses of which ten are still available, while many have been lost.
R David Ruston 1930 2019 Australia David has achieved worldwide recognition with rose awards including the T.A. Stewart Memorial award 1966, the Australian Rose award 1982, the World Federation of Rose Societies Silver Pin 1988 and Gold Medal 2004, the Dean Ross Memorial award 1997 and the most prestigious rose award of all, the Dean Hole Medal in 1994 from the Royal National Rose Society.  In 1984 David received an Order of Australia for Services to Horticulture.
S George Schoener 1864 1941 US Was a Roman Catholic priest known for his experiments in rose breeding, especially in the use of wild species. Only two of his creations survive today: ‘Arrilaga’ and ‘Schoener’s Nutkana’.
S Jean Soupert 1834 1910 Luxembourg Was a Luxembourg-born floriculturist, who specialized in breeding rose cultivars, working with Pierre Notting in “Soupert & Notting”.
S Seizo Suzuki 1922 2008 Japan Was a Japanese rose breeder and director of the Keisei Rose Research Institute since 1958. His international successes include ‘Olympic Torch’, ‘Mikado’ and ‘Ferdy’.
T Mathias Tantau 1882 1953 Germany Founder of a rose breeding company Rosen Tantau located at Uetersen, Germany.
T George Clifford Thomas 1873 1932 US He began breeding roses on Bloomfield Farm in 1912, cultivating over thousand varieties and creating some new hybrids, e.g. ‘Bloomfield Abundance’.
T Graham Stuart Thomas 1909 2003 UK Was an English horticulturist, who is likely best known for his work with garden roses, his restoration and stewardship of over 100 National Trust gardens and for writing 19 books on gardening, many of which remain classics today.
T George Thomson (rose breeder) Australia Australian rose breeder of over 50 cultivars, including ‘Crown Princess Mary’ (2006), ‘Mawson’ (2001) and ‘Howard Florey’ (1998).
V Walter Van Fleet US Worked for the US Department of Agriculture, focusing on crops, but also developing roses designed to thrive in the American climate. His introductions include ‘American Pillar’ and ‘Dr W. Van Fleet’.
V Jean-Pierre Vibert 1777 1866 France Was a prolific early rose hybridizer, responsible for many older roses still found in gardens today. ‘Aimee Vibert’ (1828), one of his Noisettes, was named for his daughter.
W Bill Warriner 1922 1991 US One of the most notable American Rose Breeders; Bill Warriner often called “the No.1 rose breeder in the United States.
W Ollie Weeks 1912 2002 US Founded Weeks Roses together with Verona Weeks in 1938. One of California’s largest and most reputable rose growers.
W Verona Weeks US Founded Weeks Roses together with Ollie Weeks in 1938.
Z Dr. Keith Zary US Zary is only the second US rose breeder to win the President’s International Trophy (PIT) and Gold Medal Award of the Royal National Rose.

Sources:

1.) Quest-Ritson, C. and Quest-Ritson, B., 2011. Encyclopedia of roses. London: DK.

2.) Helpmefind.com. 2021. Breeder names [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 February 2021].

3.) En.wikipedia.org. 2021. List of rose breeders. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 February 2021].