Griffith J. Buck (1915-1991), affectionately known as "Griff," was a rose researcher/hybridizer at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, and professor of horticulture at ISU from 1948 to 1985. As a youngster, Griff once paid a quarter to the local YMCA to get a pen pal, but none of the persons he wrote to sent a reply. He decided on a whim to simply write to a name and address he found in a library book. It happened to be that of a rose nurseryman in Spain, Pedro Dot. Dot received the letter and asked his niece, Maria Antonia, to respond and to include notes and tips on rose growing. She told Buck how to hybridize roses and urged him to give it a try. The resulting friendship would span three generations with the Dot family. Pedro Dot became his mentor, and Buck eventually named a rose after him. (See 'El Catala,' "the Catalonian," below. Dot was a very proud Catalonian.)

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After a brief stint as a school teacher and service in the military, Buck entered Iowa State College in January of 1946, enrolling in the horticulture program. He received his doctorate in horticulture and microbiology in March of 1953 and attained the rank of full professor in 1974.

Dr. Buck began his rose breeding program with a rose from Siberia, Rosa laxa 'Semipalatinsk,' obviously very winter hardy, but also a repeat bloomer and quite fragrant. He crossed it with some American rose varieties, but wasn't happy with the result. He decided to write to Wilhelm Kordes, the famous rose hybridizer in Germany, explaining that he was trying to develop hardier roses and how his results were less than promising. Kordes replied that the problem lay with one of the seed parents he was using. He sent Buck a sweetbrier hybrid, 'Josef Rothmund'.

When this rose bloomed, Buck crossed it with his Siberian Rosa laxa. One of the resulting plants was pink like 'Josef Rothmund,' but with fewer petals. This became the parent that Buck began crossing with existing garden roses.

Not only did he work with the existing rose gene pool to develop beautiful roses, he also practiced survival of the fittest. The crosses that turned out to be susceptible to disease or were not bone hardy were discarded. It's difficult to believe, from our perspective today, that this was a new and radical concept. Up until that time, serious rose growers had to devote much time and possess great skill in order to make most of their roses survive and thrive. It was Buck who changed all that.

The roses resulting from Buck's breeding program are not only disease and drought resistant, but many are able to survive and thrive no matter what the weather. His collection provides solutions and options for landscapes in every imaginable climate.

International rose hybridizers have incorporated Buck roses into their breeding programs since the 1980s, but, ironically, his roses have not been widely available in the U.S. Fortunately, for those of us who grow roses, nurseries have recently made a concerted effort to bring 77 of the 80-some Buck roses into the horticultural trade this year. Reiman Gardens at ISU currently grows 75 of these varieties. One variety, Carefree Beauty, (remaining true to its name) has been growing vigorously in our own gardens for at least 25 years. My mother-in-law received it as a special birthday gift from one of her daughters.

There are over 60 sources from which Buck Roses are currently available. These include nurseries in the US, Canada, England, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, and India. The Sam Kedem nursery in southern Minnesota (see listing below) is offering 64 different Buck roses for sale this year. Why not try one or several in your garden yet this season? If you buy the roses potted, they can be planted at any time during the upcoming growing season. Be sure to ask if the plants are "own root." The advantage of this kind of rose over the grafted kind is that if the plant should die back to the ground, it will return in the spring, true to variety. Shoots originating from the roots of grafted plants will be those of the stock onto which your rose was grafted, rather than those of the variety you bought, and it will generally be greatly inferior, with few, if any, blossoms.

Why not add a few of the wonderful roses pictured here to your garden this year?

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Photo by author from his garden
Honey Sweet

Photo by author from his garden
Prairie Harvest

Photos, unless otherwise noted, are courtesy of Mary Buck and the Iowa State University Research Foundation, Inc.

Photo of Carefree Beauty thumbnail is by the author from his garden.

If you decide to order from one of the companies listed below, you can check out mail order companies right here at Dave's Garden by clicking on the "watchdog" image:


Questions? Comments? Please scroll down to the form below at the end of the following table. I enjoy hearing from readers!

Where in the World can I buy Buck Roses?
Includes listings from Canada, Denmark, England,
India, New Zealand, Norway, and The Netherlands

(This table appears on the ISU Buck Roses Web site. Entries have not been updated recently.)


Arena Rose Company
525 Pifne Street Box f3096
Paso Robles, CA 93447
ph 805-238-3742
fax 805-227-4095
Web Site
Note: To access Web sites, copy the URL and paste it into your browser.

B & B Nursery & Propagators
2578 County Road I
Willows, CA 95988
ph 530-934-2676
fax 530-934-2676
Web Site

Hines Nurseries
PO Box 1449
Interstate 80 ad
3920 Lagoon Valley Road
Vacaville, CA 956ff88
ph 800-737-8140
fax 707-451-8861

Meilland-Star Roses
Box 249
Cutler CA 93615
ph 800-457-1859
Fax 209-528-1088 wholesale only

Michael's Premier Roses
Elder Creek Drive
Sacramento, CA 95829
ph 916-369-7673
fax 916-361-1141
Web Site http://

Otto & Sons Nursery
1835 E. Guiberson Road
Fillmore, CA 93015
ph 805-524-2123 800-675-6886
fax 805-524-2165
Web Site

Regan Nursery
4268 Decoto Road
Fremont CA 94555
510-797-3222 800-249-4680
fax 510-793-5408
Web Site
Marsha Hildebrand and Larry Thompson

Sequoia Nursery Moore Miniature Roses
Noble Avenue
Bisalia CA 93292
ph 559-732-0309
fax 559-732-0192

Roses of Yesterday
803 Brown's
Valley Road
Corralitos, California 95076
ph 831-728-1901
Web Site

Russian River Rose Company
1685 Magnolia Drive
Healdsburg, CA 95448
ph 707-433-7455
Jan and Michael Tolmasoff

The Rose Ranch
PO Box 326
La Grange, CA 95329
ph 209-852-9220

Vintage Gardens
2833 Old Gravenstein Hwy South
Sebastopol, CA 95472
ph 707-829-2035
fax 707-829-9516
Web Site
Gregg Lowery

Weeks Wholesale Rose Grower, Inc.,
430 E. 19th Street
Upland CA 91784
ph 909-949-4409 800-992-4409
fax 909-920-0308
Web Site


White Flower Farm
Box 50, Route 63
Litchfield, CT 06759-0500
9 to 9 Eastern Time
Free catalog
Web Site


Giles Rose Nursery
2611 Holly Hill Cut-off road
Davenport, FL 33837
ph and fax 863-422-8103


Farmer Seed and Nursery
1706 Morrissey Drive
Bloomington, IL 61704
ph 507-334-1623

Inter-State Nurseries
1800 Hamilton Road
Bloomington, IL 61704
ph 309-663-9551


Town and Country Market
308 Main Street
Iowa 5024
ph 515-228-3131

The Garden Center
17379 Hwy G58
Milo, IA 50166

Sherman Nursery Company
PO Box 579, 1300 Grove St
Charles City, IA 50616-0579
ph 641-228-1124 800-747-5980
fax 800-361-7759
wholesale only


North Creek Farm
Sebasco Road
Phippsburg, ME 04562
ph and fax 207-389-1341
Suzy Verrier and Stacy Verrier limited shipping

The Roseraie at Bayfields
P.O. Box R
Waldoboro, ME 04572-0919
ph 207-832-6330
Web Site

Fox Hill Nursery
347 Lunt Road
Freeport, ME 04032
ph 207-729-1511
fax 207-729-6108

The Roseraie at Granite Ridge
P. O. Box R
Waldoboro, ME 04572-0919
ph 207-832-6330
fax 800-933-4508

Web Site


Carroll Gardens
444 East Main Street
Westminster, MD 21157
410-848-5422 800-638-6334
fax 410-857-4112
Alan L. Summers


Great Lakes Roses
49875 Willow road Box 65
Belleville, MI 48112-0065
ph 734-461-1230
fax 734-461-0360
shipping in Michigan only
Web Site

Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc.
12601 120th Ave
Grand Haven, MI 49417-9621
ph 616-846-4729 800-633-8859
fax 800-224-1628
Web Site
wholesale only


Bailey Nurseries, Inc.
1325 Bailey Road
St. Paul MN 55119-9199
ph 612-459-9744 800-829-8898
fax 612-459-5100
wholesale only

Sam Kedem Nursery
12414-191st St. E
Hastings MN 55033
ph 651-437-7516
Fax (651) 437-7195
Web Site

Orion Farm
4186 75th Street S.W.
Waverly, MN 55390
ph 763-658-4180
Web Site


Moffett Nursery & Gift Shop
6451 N. E. State Route 6
St. Joseph, MO 64507
ph 816-233-1223


Countryside Roses
5016 Menge Ave
Pass Christian, MS 39571
ph 228-452-2697
Web Site


Lowe's Roses
6 Sheffield Road
Nashua NH 03062
ph 603-888-2214
fax 603-888-6112


J.E. Miller Nurseries Inc
West Lake road
Canandaiuga NY 14424-8904
ph 800-836-9630
fax 716-396-2154
Web Site

Der Rosenmeister
190 Seven Mile Drive
Ithaca, NY 14850
ph 607-273-8610
fax 607-351-1336
Web Site


Almost Heaven Antiques Roses
229 Rickard Lane
Station NC 28080
ph 704-732-4787
Vernon and Nancy Rickard
Web Site


Mary's Plant Farm
2410 Lanes Mill road
Hamilton (Mc Gonigle) OH 45013
ph 513-894-0022
Web Site

Rose Fire Ltd
09 394 State Route 34
Edon, OH 43518
ph 419-272-2787
Web Site


Roses Inc.Tulsa LLC
12323 East 132 St. South
Broken Arrow, OK 74011
ph 918-455-7673
Web Site


Heirloom Old Garden Roses
24062 NE Riverside Drive
St. Paul OR 97137
ph 503-538-1576
fax 503-538-5902
Web Site

Janice Dysinger
SE Pipeline Rd.
Gresham, OR 97080
ph 503 757 0670
fax 503 663 2287
Web Site

The Rose Guardians
PO Box 426
St Paul OR 97137
ph and fax 503-393-1051
Alice Stockfleth

Roses N. W.
12155 S.W. Tualatin Sherwood Road
Tualatin , OR 97062
ph 503-692-3066
fax 503-692-0548

The Uncommon Rose
3333 S.W. Brooklane Drive
Corvallis, OR 97333
ph 541-753-8871
fax 541-753-8640
Web Site


The Conard-Pyle (Star roses) Co.
372 Rose Hill Road
West Grove, PA 19390-0904
ph 800-256-7673
fax 610-869-0651 wholesale only

Howerton Rose Nursery
1656 Weaversville Road, Allen Township
Northhampton, PA 18067-9094
ph 610-262-5412


Ashdown Roses
2220 S. Blackstock Road Box 308
Landrum, SC 29356
ph 864-468-4900

Roses Unlimited
Rt. 1,
Box 587
Laurens, SC 29360
ph 864-682-7673
Web Site

Wayside Gardens
1 Garden Lane
Hodges, SC 29695-0001
ph 800-845-1124
Web Site


Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co
110 Capital Street
Yankton, SD 57079
cust service only 605-665-1671 orders only 605-665-1930
fax 605-665-9718
Web Site

Perennial Passion, The Plant Lover's Nursery
The Plant Lover's Nursery; Specializing in perennials, hardy shrub roses and uncommon plants
1510 West 51st Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
ph 605-335-3526
fax 605-335-2215
Open May through October


The Appalachian Rose Nursery
Old Belltown Mill Road
Tellico Plains, TN 37384
ph 423-253-3797
Ronald Johnston
Web Site


The Antique Rose Emporium
3300 Lueckemeyer Rd
Brenham TX 77833-6453
ph 409-836-9051 800-441-0002
fax 409-836-0928

David Austin Roses Limited
15059 Highway 64 West
Tyler, TX 75704
903-526-1800 800-328-8893
fax 903-526-1900
Web Site

Chamblee's Rose Nursery
10926 US hwy 69 North
Tyler, TX 75706-8742
ph 800-256-7673
fax 903-882-3597
Web Site

Certified Roses, Inc
Co-Operative Rose Growers, Inc.
US hwy 69 N PO box 4400
Tyler TX 75712 903-593-0234
ph 800-527-8708
fax 903-595-6199 wholesale only

Hand Rose Farms
13312 CR 433 Harvey Road
Tyler, TX 75706
ph 903-882-7165 800-749-7045
fax 903-882-1418

Kimbrew-Walter Roses
2 Box 172,
Grand Saline TX 75140
ph 903-829-2968
fax 903-829-2415

Peaceful Habitations Rose Gardens
W. Craig Place
San Antonio, TX 78212
ph 210-736-2383
fax 210-734-8665
Web Site

Teas Nursery Co, Inc
4400 Bellaire Boulevard Box 1603
Bellaire, TX 77402-1603
ph 800-664-4400
fax 713-295-5170
Web Site


High Country Roses
9122 E. Highway 40
PO Box 148
Jensen, Utah 84035
ph 435-789-5512
fax 435-789-5517
Web Site


Sherando Roses
2412 Howardsville Turnpike
Lyndhurst, VA 22952
ph 540-942-1617
(pick-up only)
Web Site


Briggs Nursery
4407 Henderson Blvd.
Olympia, Wa 98501
ph 360-352-5405
fax 360-352-5699
Web Site

Russian Roses for the North
5680 Hughes Road Grand Forks, B.C. VoH 1H4 Canada or PO Box 339
Danville, WA 99121-0339
ph and fax 250-442-1266
Web Site

Northland Rosarium
9405 South Williams Lane
Spokane, WA 99224
ph 509-448-4968
Web Site

Pan-American Nursery Products, Inc.
123 Stenerson Road
Woodland, WA 98674
360-225-8244 fax 360-225-9879
5151 152nd St Surrey
BC V4P 2J9 Canada
ph 604-576-8641
fax 604-576-6560


J. W. Jung Seed Co.
335 South High Street
Randolph, WI 53957-0001
ph 800-297-3123
fax 800-692-5864
Web Site

About Larry Rettig

Larry Rettig

About Larry Rettig

An enthusiastic gardener for over 50 years, my first plant was a potted Ponderosa Lemon tree ordered from a comic book ad at age 15. I still have it, and it’s still bearing lemons! My wife and I garden on 3/4 of an acre, both flowers and vegetables. Although our garden is private, it's listed with the Smithsonian Institution in its Archives of American Gardens and is on the National Register of Historic Places. We garden organically and no-till. Our vegetable garden contains a seed bank of vegetables brought to this country from Germany in the mid-1800s. For more info: Photos that appear in my articles without credit are my own.

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