Speaker: Tom Carruth
“The Rose Collection at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens”
Tom Carruth, Curator of the Rose Collection at the Huntington Library and Gardens, is known as “King of the Roses.” He has created more All- American Roses than any other living hybridizer.
At age 10 he announced to his parents that he wanted to pursue a career in flowers. That was not received well received by his family in the small Panhandle town of Tampa, Texas, where Carruth spent the first 15 years of his life. When he agreed to sell seeds for Burpee on commission one summer to earn spending money, he became enraptured with roses.
At age 16 he moved to Dallas and took biology in high school. When his teacher lectured on genetics and mentioned plant breeders, Carruth says, “I knew I was on my way.”
He achieved an advanced degree in plant breeding and landed a job in California at the mighty Jackson and Perkins, an American company known for the cultivation of the 'World's Finest Roses.'
In 1989, Tom was offered a position with Weeks Roses, which had the potential for him to achieve his lifelong dream – to head a research team to develop new garden roses. In 2012, he moved to the Huntington Gardens where he has been ever since.
Tom has hybridized more than 100 roses. It takes 10 years to create a newly hybridized rose!