The Legacy of Legends garden honors the legacy of the roses created or recognized by American Rose Hybridizers and Researchers dedicated to providing easy to grow roses to the American gardener. The collections of roses in the Legacy of Legends garden represent the result of years of rose breeding and scientific research.
Dr. Griffith Buck – Rose Hybridizer, Iowa State University – West side of Garden (number A1 thru Y5)
Dr. Buck, a professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University, hybridized roses from 1952 to 1985. Due to budget restraints he was required to grow his roses outdoors with no fertilizers, chemical sprays or winter protection in the corner of a corn test field. The harsh conditions of his growing environment proved to be an asset, only the hardiest and strongest roses he created could survive. Some of the roses he created have become the standard for disease resistance and cold hardiness and are being used in rose breeding programs around the world to improve disease resistance. His greatest success was the very disease resistant Carefree Beauty.
Dr. Steve George, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulture specialist – Earth Kind Roses (number AA1 thru JJ3)
Dr. George created a scientific testing program to identify the easiest to grow roses available to gardeners. Roses recommended for test were grown for 4 years with no spraying, no fertilizing, no pruning and very little water. Roses that not only survived the brutal testing but actually flourished were designated as “EarthKind”. To date there have been 23 roses designated as EarthKind. The roses in the Legacy of Legends garden are the roses tested in two of the EarthKind test projects. The National EarthKind Test was conducted to try and identify varieties of roses which could be grown under EarthKind conditions in a majority of the United States. The Southern Brigade was a trial testing an expanded list of roses suitable for the warm weather in the South. Not all of the roses tested were awarded EarthKind status.
William Radler, Rose Hybridizer – Knock Out Roses (number KK1 thru KK8)
William Radler has been hybridizing roses since 1972. In 2000 he introduced a rose that would revolutionize the rose industry, Knock Out. Since then Knock Out has sold over 80 million roses, by far the most roses to one variety ever sold. The reason for this success is simple, Knock Out is very easy to grow. It is extremely disease resistant (Dr. Buck’s Carefree Beauty was in the parentage), blooms abundantly, and requires almost no care. Raddler has hybridized a total of 27 roses, most are grown in the garden.
Mike Shoup, owner Antique Rose Emporium – Pioneer Roses (number XX1 thru ZZ8)
Mike Shoup was introduced to roses worthy of being landscape plants by the Texas Rose Rustlers. In short order his nursery in Brenham Texas was transformed to producing heirloom roses to meet the growing demand for easy to grow heritage roses. He soon began hybridizing roses following in the footsteps of his friend Dr. Robert Basse, Rose Chair at Texas A&M. Many of Mike Shoup’s wonderful, hardy roses are growing in the Pioneer Garden.