Malcolm Manners To Be Awarded ‘Nobel Prize’ of Roses
If there is a Nobel Prize for growing and caring for roses, Dr. Malcolm Manners, professor of citrus and horticultural science at FSC, has won it.
Dr. Manners will be the honoree at the Great Rosarians of the World (GROW) Lecture Series in February at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif. The annual award honors significant contributors to the world of roses. The ceremony and the lecture will be repeated in New York in June.
“GROW honors one or two rose experts per year, worldwide. I’m still rather stunned at the announcement. It’s quite an honor,” Dr. Manners said.
Dr. Manners was chosen for the honor because of his 28-year effort at FSC to test and cure roses of rose mosaic virus disease and his dedication to achieving and maintaining healthy plants of older varieties. Among those varieties is the Autumn Damask, mentioned by the Roman poet Virgil in the first century B.C.E.
“Our mosaic virus therapy program is second only to the University of California at Davis for the number of varieties that we’ve cured and re-released to the rose nursery industry, nearly 300. And while UC-Davis has always specialized in the newer, often patented varieties, we’ve emphasized the older varieties in danger of being lost to extinction, many of which are not available disease-free from any other source,” Dr. Manners said.
FSC is gaining a reputation in the international rose-growing culture. In addition to Dr. Manners’ award, the College will host an international meeting of the Heritage Rose Foundation in November 2013.
Since October 2009, the FSC Horticulture Department has been working with the Heritage Rose Foundation and the Office of the Borough President of Manhattan to develop the Heritage Rose District of New York City. Created entirely with donated roses and volunteer labor, the district is a celebration of the historic and cultural roots of these neighborhoods, showcasing roses that grew there more than 75 years ago. On two occasions, teams of FSC students have traveled to New York to help with the planting as a service learning project.
To date, more than 500 heritage roses have been planted on more than 25 sites that include community gardens, cemeteries, historic properties, cultural institutions, and universities. The majority of the roses planted in the District are from the rose collection at FSC, many of which were produced by FSC students in horticulture classes as an engaged learning experience.
In order to further enhance its capability for cultivating and propagating roses, FSC is planning a new garden and research plot to be overseen by Dr. Manners.
The Champneys' Pink Cluster, one of the roses grown at FSC, is considered the first rose bred in America in 1811.