The Future of Roses in Today's Gardens
Award winning rose hybridizer, Tom Carruth, curator of the Rose Collection at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, updates us on the many big changes taking place in the world of roses.
Tom oversees the renovation of the three-acre Rose Garden, which showcases more than 1,200 cultivars and 4,000 individual shrubs, with an eye on refocusing the collection to equal the beauty of the many other spectacular gardens at The Huntington.
Tom earned his Bachelors in Horticulture (1974) and a Masters in Plant Breeding (1976) from Texas A&M University, and immediately launched his dream to become a rose breeder. He has worked in the rose industry in California since 1975, first with Jackson & Perkins Co. and the former Armstrong Nursery. From 1987 until early 2012, he was Director of Research & Marketing in charge of rose hybridizing at Weeks Roses, one of the nation’s leading commercial wholesale rose growers, and recently retired to assume his new role at The Huntington.
During his long career as a rosarian, Tom’s goal was to make the rose a contender with all plants, rather than a fussy queen of the garden. His introductions stress disease resistance, fragrance, floriferousness, novelty and attractive habit. He has introduced more than 100 rose hybrids, among them such notable blooms as ‘Julia Child’, achieving a very rare world-wide introduction, and ‘Ebb Tide’, which represented a true color breakthrough for its stable, deep purple tones. Some other “stars” from his work include ‘Scentimental’, ‘Cinco de Mayo’, ‘Hot Cocoa’, ‘Wild Blue Yonder’, ‘Strike it Rich’, ‘Chihuly’, and ‘Betty Boop’. He has won numerous national and international awards, including, most recently, the American Horticultural Society’s Luther Burbank Award for outstanding plant breeding.
Rose Auction: Bid on award-winning roses generously donated by Weeks Roses. Among the 18 on sale in our silent auction are the 2011 AARS winner 'Dick Clark' (cream-cherry blend grandiflora) and 2012 introductions 'Oh My!' (ruffled red floribunda) and 'Yabba Dabba Doo' (orange-pink shrub).
Ask A Rosarian: Bring your rose questions to be answered by experts from the San Diego Rose Society. Gary Bulman and Ruth Tiffany are consulting rosarians and experienced San Diego rose growers. Bulman also is a Master Gardener and Tiffany is past president of SDRS.