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Ralph Moore: Father of the Miniature Rose

Articles: Ralph Moore: Father of the Miniature Rose

Ralph Moore with one of his yellow hybrids. Author’s photographs
My kingdom is a small one, but I am king there.
Frederic Chopin

You would never know that Ralph Moore was internationally famous in the rose world by visiting his modest nursery or watching him work—even at the age of ninety-seven. Modesty has always been his hallmark, but his works have had a profound influence on the way roses are hybridized.

He was born and has spent his entire life in Visalia, California. The town was founded in 1852, with many of its inhabitants at that time siding with the South in the Civil War. I first visited the town soon after World War II; it had a population of around 8,000 persons then, many of them involved in agriculture, which is still the main industry in that part of the San Joaquin Valley. Moore’s father raised and sold tomatoes, potatoes, and melons.

Ralph Moore in his rose nursery

It is a far different town—rather city—today, with a population at 100,000. Moore’s Sequoia Nursery is located in what was once considered rural....

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