John Ystumllyn Rose



The John Ystumllyn rose, a brand new rose variety bred by Harkness Roses, is the first ever rose to be named after an ethnic minority Briton. 

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. 


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 We Too Built Britain


Harkness Roses and We Too Built Britain want gardening to be for all and have set aside 5000 roses for community gardens and will send out roses for free to community garden groups. 

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