The Friends of Vintage Roses (TFoVR) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, Federal I.D. #45-5624170, which owns and maintains the historic roses in the "Lowery-Robinson" collection, currently located in Sebastopol, California, about 50 miles north of San Francisco. Rosarians world-wide consider this group of roses to be one of the most comprehensive multiple-class collections of old roses ever assembled. Of particular note – the Hybrid Perpetuals, Bourbons, Gallicas, Hybrid Chinas, Teas, Noisettes, Chinas and old ramblers are among the most complete in North America and the old Hybrid Teas include an extensive group of Pernetianas.
A part of the collection is located on another property due to space constrictions. The large group of antique rambling roses are planted and cared for by Pamela and Michael Temple at Red Rose Ridge. The Temples have devoted more than an acre of space to house them all. The rambler rose grouping was augmented recently with cuttings donated by Anne Belovich.
The Friends of Vintage Roses exists to preserve and enhance the unique and extensive collection of historic roses developed by Gregg Lowery and Phillip Robinson, to establish the collection in a garden, and to share the collection with other public rose preservation efforts, all for the purpose of educating the public about the importance of the rose to human history, cultures, technology and science.
Beginning in the early 1980s, Gregg Lowery and Phillip Robinson, with the assistance of others, developed the collection through gifts of plant material from then still-existent old gardens or small nurseries in the United States, from cuttings propagated from old plants discovered in California and other states at abandoned homesteads, old cemeteries and the like, and by purchasing and importing cultivars no longer available elsewhere from specialized nurseries abroad. This passion for old roses resulted in documented inventories of 5,412 named cultivars.
In March of 2012 the Lowery-Robinson collection of roses was donated in its entirety to TFoVR in order that some 3,500 varieties of old and classic cultivars be preserved. As such it is the first organization in the United States to have as its mission the preservation of a specific group of historic roses. While some of the original cultivars cannot be found in the collection at present, TFoVR is working to inventory all existing plants and to obtain replacements for lost specimens deemed worthy of continued representation in this group of roses. HelpMeFind provides one excellent resource for finding cultivars lost from the collection.
Before the collection was donated to TFoVR, it was opened to the public in spring and it is part of TFoVR’s mission to open the collection to the public again once the restoration is completed.
Contributions to Public Gardens
Roses in the collection have been the source of propagation material provided to numerous public rose gardens, including: in California, the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, the Historic Rose Garden in the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, the University of California Botanical Garden (Berkeley), the Rose Garden at The Huntington Botanical Gardens (San Marino), and Hearst Castle State Park (San Simeon); in Shreveport, Louisiana, the Heritage Rose Foundation Garden at the American Rose Center; in Charleston, South Carolina, the Noisette Garden at Hampton Park; in New York, the Heritage Rose District of New York City; and in Sakura, Japan, the Sakura Heritage Rose Garden. Plant material from the collection also has provided replacements for old roses long missing from the world-recognized rose gardens at Roseraie de l'Hay-les-roses in Paris, the Europa-Rosarium in Sangerhausen, Germany and in the United Kingdom, the National Trust's historic rose garden at Mottisfont Abbey.