A rose by any other name, might have been named
John Dallas. Mr. Dallas, 81, who was Napa Valley's ubiquitous
rose gardener, died February 27, 2000. And with him, the pleasure
his open garden brought to hundreds of visitors each spring. John's
Rose Garden, which consisted of about 1-1/2 acres, will no longer
be open to the public, according to his son Russell Dallas.
The public has been visiting John's Rose Garden
free of charge for 27 years. The peak time for visitors to experience
the blooming showcase of blossoming roses was from late April
until early June. The family hopes to be able to keep the garden
going so they can open one day around this time each year in memory
of the man who loved roses.
Mr. Dallas taught at Napa Valley College and
also Solano Community College, where he was a landscape instructor.
John Dallas was one of the founders of the North Bay Rose Society
and he belonged to several rose organizations, said Gary Sampson,
a friend, fellow nursery worker and horticulturist. Sampson first
met Mr. Dallas when he went to work in the nursery business in
"I think John might have come from an English
background. That might be part of the reason he loved roses so
much," Sampson said. "He was such a good resource person
and a great rosarian. He was a real genuine person. His door was
always open. John's Rose Garden blossomed into more than 500 rose
varieties over the years. Antique roses were one of his specialties,
long before they became popular with people again".
Some of John's roses have significant historical
value. One came from Bulgaria and was used to make perfume. And
there is the Old China Rose, which was crossed with a European
rose in the 1800s. Some of Mr. Dallas' favorite roses include
the Royal Sunset Rose, because of its large orange-apricot petals
and smell. He always entered his roses in the Napa Valley Fair
every summer. However, according to his son Larry, "The only
time Dad entered cut roses in any form of competition was when
he wanted to show a student how to select roses for display."
Napa Valley College President Diane Carey Woodruff
said John and his wife were very supportive of the college. The
Dallas family has established the John's Rose Garden scholarship fund at NVC. "We're already receiving calls from people wishing
to donate to the scholarship fund," Carey Woodruff said.
"What a great tribute to someone like John."
NVC Pesident Woodruff also has fond memories
of John's rose garden. "I've enjoyed the garden so much.
It's just one of the most beautiful places in the Napa Valley.
"You could tell John had such a love of roses and gardening.
He created a paradise. You could tell it was a labor of love for
him. I wish it could remain open to the public," Carey Woodruff
added. "I'll really miss him. He was a wonderful. His dedication
to his roses and garden are an inspiration to me everytime I went
Napa County Board of Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht
recalled his first memories of the roses when his father, who
was a friend of Mr. Dallas, took him to John's Rose Garden. "It
was a wonderful place to go. It was a wonderful resource for Napa
Valley," Brad Wagenkenecht said.