The man behind it all

Lauren Bonar Swezey,  – November 10, 2004

California nurseryman Ralph Moore, 93, is often called the father of modern miniature roses. “He’s the most innovative of American breeders,” says Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses in Upland, California. Moore’s miniatures have received 20 American Rose Society Awards of Excellence and have earned him the famous Dean Hole Medal of Great Britain’s Royal National Rose Society.

For 65 years, Moore has devoted much of his time to creating miniature roses at his Sequoia Nursery in Visalia, California. “When I started,” he says, “you could count the number of miniature roses on one hand.” Since then, he’s introduced more than 300 miniature varieties; 75 percent of all miniature roses have a Moore rose in their breeding background.

The first striped miniature rose and the introduction of moss characteristics (mosslike growth on the stems and buds) into repeat-blooming miniatures are among his most important achievements.

What’s his favorite? “One I haven’t developed yet, because it will be perfect and have no flaws,” he modestly explains. Others might point to ‘Rise ‘n’ Shine’, considered the best yellow miniature, and award-winning ‘Magic Carrousel’.