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It can be a fitting tribute to celebrate the life or work of a friend or relative to name a plant after them. Alternatively, there are a number of other ways to remember someone who loved gardening or gardens.
Commemorative plant naming
It is often neither quick nor easy to have a plant named after a relative or friend but there are several ways in which to remember a person through a plant;
Depending on your budget and expectations there are two ways to approach naming a new rose:
It may be possible to get a commercial rose named in memory of a loved one by entering into an agreement with a breeder and paying them a fee. However, rose breeding is highly skilled and time-consuming; and the cost is likely to be in excess of £2000, and for very good ones more than £10000.
For further information see The British Association of Rose Breeders.
Non-commercial roses for sharing with your friends and family can be obtained from several sources (see below). These roses will not be available in garden centres or nurseries and so unless propagated from cuttings there is always a risk that they will be lost to cultivation.
Although roses offered through this method may not have shown the promise to become commercial varieties, they will still be unique and can be attractive nonetheless. You might like to check that the name you have chosen will be accepted by the American Rose Society which maintains a list of all valid rose names. Expect the cost of such a rose to be between £50 and several hundred pounds.
There are a number of companies and organisations which advertise this service:The Amateur Rose Breeders' Association World of Roses Country Garden Roses Rose Names
Please note: The mention of any supplier or service does not constitute an endorsement by the Royal Horticultural Society.
If you are interested in naming a plant from a particular genus, first check if there is a registrar, who oversees the naming of plants, for the genus of the plant that interests you. To do this, consult the register maintained by the International Society for Horticulture.
If there is a registrar, then contact them to enquire if they are able to refer you to any breeders who may offer this service. If they can help, the breeder is likely to make a charge for plant naming.
If you are interested in a particular plant without a registrar, it is more difficult to name a plant, but you could try approaching a nursery specialising in that plant to see if they could help.
Many existing plants may include an appropriate word in their name and can be found using the RHS Plant Finder.
Failing this, there may be a plant with an appropriate name – ‘Remembrance’, for example – see our plants for special occasions profile.
Another lasting tribute could be the planting of a tree or shrub to celebrate someone’s life or work. Always give careful consideration to selecting a plant that would grow well in the situation (without becoming too large) and also be appropriate for that person.
If you don’t have room in your own garden then it may be possible to contact a favourite garden or park and arrange to sponsor a tree or planting. There are a number of organisations that can arrange a planting in memory of a loved one, including:
The Woodland TrustThe National Forest
Many families choose to give an in-memory donation to the RHS. You can choose to donate towards a particular garden or towards the maintenance of the RHS flower collections or precious woodland and ornamental trees. All loved ones are acknowledged in one of the Books of Remembrance, held at each garden. For more details visit our website.
RHS Find a PlantPlants for special occasionsRoses: choosing the best
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RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.