Rose named after an ethnic minority Briton


21st October 2021
Rose named after an ethnic minority Briton


Harkness Roses has joined forces with the We Too Built Britain campaign to create what we believe might be the first ever rose to be launched that is named after an ethnic minority Briton. We believe in the power of gardening to bring people together and want to make it more inclusive. When We Too Built Britain approached us, this felt like such a positive and joyous thing to do.  This might be one of the most important roses that we have ever launched. We want our roses to reflect and resonate across society and we are proud to launch our first rose after an ethnic minority Briton. We have set aside 5000 roses for community gardens and will send out roses for free to community garden groups. Furthermore, we will put £2.50 for every rose sold into a fund to help young people from under-represented backgrounds and to support community gardening schemes. We hope this rose inspires people from all backgrounds to see gardening as a career or activity for them.


John Ystumllyn

John Ystumllyn was an 18th century gardener who was the first well-recorded Black person in North Wales and with his marriage to Margaret Gruffydd, part of the first interracial marriage in Wales. We wanted to breed a new rose as a symbol of friendship, love and community and to bring people together after the divisiveness of recent years. We also wanted to inspire people from all backgrounds to see gardening as a career or activity for them. 



John Ystumllyn Rose

The rose has an uncomplicated colour, a refreshing yellow which hardly fades at all. The plant is good looking, bushy with even growth that is densely covered with glossy dark green leaves. Starting to flower, early the buds open into double old fashioned style blooms, up to 12cm wide, they sit proudly above the dark leaf. With a long flowering season, this is a valuable plant in the garden. Use in beds, borders or low hedges.


Colour: Golden Yellow
Good Fragrance
Rose Type: Hybrid Tea Rose
Flower Diameter: 12 cm
Height & Spread: 80 cm x 60 cm


David White, Managing Director of Harkness Roses stated his pride in creating this rose: “We believe in the power of gardening to bring people together and want to make it more inclusive. When Zehra Zaidi of We Too Built Britain approached us, this felt like such a positive and joyous thing to do.  This might be one of the most important roses that we have ever launched. We want our roses to reflect and resonate across society and we are proud to launch our first rose after an ethnic minority Briton.

We wanted to create a rose that does justice to the story of John Ystumllyn and that anybody in the country could easily grow, whether in a garden or in a pot on the patio. The John Ystumllyn Rose is a Hybrid Tea. It grows to 80cm tall and 60 cm wide. The flower itself is a beautiful golden yellow variety that doesn’t fade, it starts flowering early and goes on to the first frosts and has a lovely scent to it. We chose yellow because it conveys warmth and is associated with friendship. Even if some people do not garden themselves, we hope this rose will brighten up homes”.


Zehra Zaidi, founder of the group We Too Built Britain


Liz Saville Roberts AS/MP, Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, introduces the John Ystumllyn rose in UK Parliament - click on the link to watch https://fb.watch/8TuZ9AZj5K/


BBC News Article - click on the link - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-58983377?fbclid=IwAR35nyHa_VJCMo3sOvy-T8pjqfI2evojhDmkgvtUWmTGLfxvRywPH7itWCM


The Guardian Article  - click on the link - https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/21/new-rose-named-after-one-of-britains-first-known-black-gardeners-john-ystumllyn?fbclid=IwAR3alLlZyqGgtAiLiqpOWOxwix6Qrmc7KmUhYqQO2347eYlFNninxJaMEac