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Rose Varieties Named After Famous People

By Ellen Douglas ; Updated September 21, 2017

It’s not often that Abraham Lincoln rubs elbows with Marilyn Monroe and Amelia Earhart. Yet in a theme garden featuring roses named after iconic figures, these familiar monikers make natural neighbors. Whether you group your roses by color, type or scent--or even by celebrity--consider adding roses named after famous world leaders, singers, heroes, actors and royalty.


Abraham Lincoln has four roses named in his honor—two hybrid tea roses (‘Mister Lincoln’ is especially famous for its citrus scent) and two miniature moss roses. ‘General Washington’ is a vivid red rose. Nancy and Ronald Reagan have his-and-her hybrid teas named after them--his red with a silver underside, hers a peach-apricot blend. Pope John Paul II’s legacy blooms on in an all-white hybrid tea rose with a citrus scent, while the John F. Kennedy hybrid tea bears white roses a bit creamier in tone. ‘Lady Bird’ celebrates the former first lady with alternating peach and pink petals on a hybrid tea container plant. German leader Helmut Schmidt is remembered with a compact hybrid tea bearing clear yellow petals.

Fictional Characters

The 'Sir Lancelot' floribunda rose features amber, peach and pink swirls. Both the tea rose and floribunda named after Snow White are, of course, pure white, while the miniature blooms on ‘Cinderella’ miniature are white with light pink markings. The ‘Robin Hood’ shrub blooms with small bright red roses, while ‘Othello’ roses blend red with bright pink. A climbing vine honors ladies' man Don Juan and features romantic deep red, ruffled roses with an intense damask scent. ‘Frankly Scarlet’ honors the beloved “Gone with the Wind” heroine, and is, naturally, deep scarlet.

Artists, Composers and Authors

The 'William Shakespeare' rose blazes with burgundy red petals, while Chaucer’s rose boasts a yellow center surrounded by light pink. ‘Mozart’ is bright pink with a white center on a modern shrub rose. Breeders recognized Michelangelo’s contributions with two roses--an orange floribunda and a yellow hybrid tea. ‘Agatha Christie’ scrambles up pillars and posts in a climbing vine suffused with pale pink blooms.

Crooners and Rockers

Barbra Streisand’s hybrid tea rose blends lavender and mauve, while Bing Crosby’s tall shrub hybrid tea bears handsome dark orange blooms with a mild spice fragrance. Dolly Parton’s spirit is embodied with a big-bloomed red-orange blossom suffused with a rose-clove fragrance, and fellow country singers Reba McEntire and LeeAnn Rimes are honored with an orange-red grandiflora and pink-yellow hybrid tea, respectively.


Several roses have honored England’s Queen Elizabeth and the various anniversaries of her crowning. The award-winning ‘Queen Elizabeth’ grandiflora offers striking pink blossoms which seem to let sunlight shine through the petals. ‘Princesse de Monaco’ celebrates the former Grace Kelly with a large-flowered hybrid tea in white with pink edging and a fruity fragrance. Princess Diana’s legacy lives on with a blended-pink hybrid tea rose.

Movie Stars

The 'Ingrid Bergman' hybrid tea rose boasts masses of deep red blooms, while breeders celebrate Bergman’s frequent costar Cary Grant with another hybrid tea, this one bright orange with gold streaks. Dramatic pink petals adorn the 'Elizabeth Taylor' hybrid tea. And while she usually graces the small, rather than silver, screen, Rosie O’Donnell gets the “a rose for a rosie” with a multicolored hybrid tea rose sporting red petals with bright yellow undersides. Marilyn Monroe lives on with a luscious apricot hybrid tea and Audrey Hepburn is remembered with a light pink hybrid tea. Vivacious Judy Garland gets an equally vivid rose named for her--a scarlet, orange and yellow floribunda.


Florence Nightingale’s floribunda fits nicely in a container, and bears ruffled, cream-colored blooms. Julia Child personally selected her legacy rose, a frilled floribunda colored in the warm tone of butter--of course--with a strong anise candy scent. The 'Amelia Earhart' hybrid tea sports pointed cream petals on the outer petals, intensifying to a buttery yellow in the center.


About the Author


Ellen Douglas has written on food, gardening, education and the arts since 1992. Douglas has worked as a staff reporter for the Lakeville Journal newspaper group. Previously, she served as a communication specialist in the nonprofit field. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut.