The Father of the Miniature Rose
Often deemed the Father of the Miniature Rose, it only follows that 75% of all miniature roses have a Ralph Moore rose somewhere in their genetic lineage. He began in 1921 with the introduction of his first new seedling variety, ‘Shelby Wallace,’ and over the course of his life received awards for his extensive work including 20 Awards of Merit, the Gold Certificate. and the Gold Honor Medal from the American Rose Society, the Silver Medal in Holland, the Research Award from the California Association of Nurserymen, the prestigious Dean Hole Medal in England, the Gold Medal and special Service to the Rose from the Australian Rose Society, Huntington Botanical Garden’s Lester E. Harrel Award, the Award of Distinction from UC Davis, and was presented with the first Lifetime Achievement Award at the All-America Rose Selections. Needless to say, he was accomplished and internationally famous in the rose industry.
His work was pioneering, and he was known to favor wild species such as Rosa bracteata when making hybrids instead of following what was routine. As a result, he created a dizzying amount of new strains of miniature roses and instigated several landmark practices. First, he rejected the idea that rose crosses needed to stay between two short parents, and often only used one short parent. This opened the genetic playing field considerably, and allowed him more freedom to choose parents. He also made unprecedented advances in the creation of moss roses, variegation, halo roses, crested roses, and striped roses.
Upon the closure of his retail rose business, Sequoia Nursery, Moore donated his breeding stock and plants, around 80 rose patents, to Texas A&M University’s Department of Horticultural Sciences, along with a donation that enlarged the existing rose breeding program to include miniature roses. Ralph Moore passed on September 14, 2009 at the age of 102. His dedication, passion, and hard work will live on in his cultivars and in the indelible changes he has left in the rose industry.
Below is a tree showing genetic relationships among some of the different varieties that Ralph Moore created.