A tribute to John Dallas and a response from his wife

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TRIBUTE TO JOHN DALLAS

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Napa Sentinel   July 7, 2000

   "A rose is a rose is a rose" If you have ever visited the late John Dallas' Rose Garden on Mt. George Avenue, you would see why "a rose is a rose." Hundreds were in bloom at their peak just before and after Mother's Day and are in bloom during their blooming season.
   Thousands of visitors were welcomed to John's Rose Garden every year John made a beautiful extravaganza out of a pasture. I hope that the rose hybridizers will come up with one name for Mr. Dallas, in his honor and his love for growing the roses and showing the beauty of the roses by sharing this love with others.
   I first met John Dallas in the late 50's when then President of the Napa Valley Garden Club Annie McKenzie and I went to see him one day to ask him if he would speak on rose to our club. He graciously obliged us not once but many times over the years. I was amazed at his Rose Garden and other flowers, as years passed by, his Rose Garden grew and grew with old roses and the newest varieties, and it became well know all over the bay area.
   I know Mr. Dallas, that you are out there somewhere beyond the setting sun and are already preparing ground to bring your second John's Rose Garden into another beautiful valley.
   Rose are the number one flower for birthdays, anniversaries, parties, Mother's Day and most any occasion. I don't know but I hope your family, Mr. Dallas, is not closing down your beautiful Rose Garden. Such love, grace, and beauty, it brought to all who visited it year after year. And remember all of you who visited the Garden that "A Rose is a Rose -- is a Rose" no matter if a miniature, a pillar, a climber or a stately bush. Many famous movie stars, presidents of the U.S. and first ladies have had roses named for them. So Mr. John Dallas, I believe you are next in line for your name and the Rose awarded you.
Mrs. N. L. Darby  

Reply from Gladys Dallas (John's wife)

The Sentinel
1627 Lincoln Ave.
Napa, CA 94558
 
July 19, 2000
 
Dear Mrs. Martin,
 
    It was with pride, but great sadness, that I read the tribute to John Dallas (written by Mrs. N.L. Darby). John loved roses, so much that over the years everywhere that he was stationed, when he was in the Army, he planted roses in the gardens of both our quarters/rentals and on the Army posts. On his second tour in Korea (1960-61) he had me look for and send him specific seeds in large quantities with which he turned barren ground into flower gardens, as I remember one annual was Zinnias. One place we rented had nothing but trash around it. He hauled it all away and when we were reassigned less than a year later there was a white picket fence, roses and a lawn beginning to mature. At his funeral service when the minister asked how many of the congregation have roses in their gardens from John almost everyone raised a hand.
 
    John worked in his rose garden for four or five hours every day until last Oct. He primarily did all the work himself with the occasional help of a your person to whom he would be teaching rose care. Because of my limitations in manipulating skills and my diminished strength due to Parkinson's Disease, I could only delight in and enjoy John's handiwork. So our hope is that just once or twice a year the garden will be open to the public, but we will have to see if it is possible to keep it up. Suzy, our daughter, is valiantly struggling to prune, fertilize, plant and water, a monumental task with a garden of this size and complexity. By May 2001 she and I hope that the garden will look presentable enough and up to John's high standards to be opened.
 
    The hope that some rose hybridizer will name a rose for John may come true. I plan to contact the North Bay Rose Society President and hybridizers like Ralph Moore about it.
 
    My whole family and I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to Mrs. N.L. Darby for writing a tribute to John. Also we would like to thank the many people who have donated to John's Rose Garden Scholarship Fund through Napa Valley College. It is almost at a level for a yearly award. I'd also like to thank the donors to the North Bay Rose Society. A permanent award is being dedicated in John's memory.
 
    In closing our son, Lawrence, who lives in Anaheim has set up a web site in John's memory. It is accessed at www.johnsrosegarden.org. Viewers can take a virtual tour of the garden as it looked last May 6. They can also read a little more on John's life and times.
 
Sincerely,
Gladys Dallas

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