Winner of the
2011 SAF Gold Medal Award

The prestigious SAF Gold Medal Award honors the originator and introducer of a widely distributed plant or flower that has become and outstanding product of significant horticultural and commercial value.

John Dolan’s name is synonymous with many of the top rose varieties grown in the US and Latin America. A trailblazer, John tirelessly worked to open up Latin America to US bred roses. Though his insight, knowledge, hands-on experience and honesty, John introduced award winning varieties into Colombia and Ecuador. He was the force behind the 30 million plants of ‘Classy’ and more than 30 million plants of the #1 variety in Eastern Europe, ‘Forever Young’.

Anyone who has had the fortune to spend an hour with John, quickly realizes the depth of his expertise includes far more than production numbers and variety selections. He is well-versed on politics, golf, fiscal analysis, soccer and history, too! His dedication to the industry is obvious in years spent in various offices including the Board of Governors-Plant Producers, treasure of Roses Inc,  long time director of The Hill Memorial Fund, and more than fifteen years as the VP and President of IRBA. John, with help from other breeders and RAI was integral to the plant patent law getting passed in Colombia and Ecuador. Growers appreciated John’s honesty while negotiating plant sales as he never hesitated to recommend a competitor’s variety if it out-performed one of his own.


John’s legacy includes introductions of these varieties.

TOWN CRIER (1961, Joseph Hill)  – Among the leaders in yellow hybrid teas

JUNIOR BRIDESMAID (1962) -pink sweetheart.

JACK FROST (1962, EG Hill) – Number 1 among white sweetheart roses. Grown in Europe and North America long past patent expiration

FOREVER YOURS (1964, E.G. Hill) – Number 1 in North America for almost 20 years.

MINUTTE (1964, DeVor) Number 1 in red/white sweethearts-still grown as a spray rose in Europe & SA.

MARY DEVOR (1968, DeVor) – Number 1 in red sweethearts until displaced by SASSY.

GOLDEN FANTASIE (1972, Joseph Hill) – Among the leaders in yellow HT.

COED (1972 E.G. Hill) – Number 1 yellow sweetheart.

SONIA (1974, Meilland)  – among the leaders in hybrid teas in North and South America & Europe

LAVANDE (1976, Joseph Hill)  Number 1 in fragrance-still grown in the US

PRIVE (1976, Meilland)  – a hot pink sport of Sonia.

KYRIA/PITICA (1976, Meilland)  – a soft sport of Sonia.

ROYALTY/VEGA (1977, E.G.Hill) Number 1 in North America and Mexico. Among a leader in Colombia and Ecuador. Over 40 million distributed world-wide. Grown in Southern Europe  (Spain, France, Italy and Greece).

DARLING (Suncredel-1983, Meilland) a sport of Sonia found in New Zealand.-Widely grown in Europe and N. America.

SASSY (1985, E.G. Hill) –Replaced Mary DeVor as number 1 red sweetheart.

FONDLY (1985, E.G. Hill) – soft pink sweetheart.

EXCITEMENT (1985, E.G.Hill) – yellow intermediate

LADY DIANA (1986, Joseph Hill) A soft pink hybrid tea -still grown as a pot forcing rose.

LADY LIBERTY (1986, Joseph Hill) – A white sport of Lady Diana-still grown a pot forcing rose.

BRIDAL SONIA (1987) – a sport of Sonia found in Japan.

DOLORES/DIPLOMAT (1987, DeVor) Among the leaders in true pink hybrid teas-grown in North and South America and Europe

CLASSY (1992, E.G.Hill) number 1 in South America-over 30 million plants distributed.

FOREVER YOUNG (1994, E.G.Hill) – Number 1 in Eastern Europe. Among the leaders in vase life-21 days. Over 30 million (and counting) plants were distributed.

SUPERNOVA (1999, J&P)  – a hot pink spray rose-widely grown in South America.

STARWHEEL (2001 J&P) – a bicolor spray rose (white/lilac)- grown in SA.

LINDSEY (2003 J&P)  a yellow hybrid tea-widely grown in SA.

ERIN (2003 J&P)  an orange/yellow hybrid tea-widely grown in SA.

ARROW FOLIES (2004 J&P) – a red/white spray rose-grown in Japan, Europe and SA.

AMBER (2007, Spek)  – an amber hybrid tea.


Send your congratulations to John