Judy Garland Database

The Judy Garland Rose

by Pat Losiewicz   (patlosie@cros.net)

Judy Garland RoseJudy Garland Rose

JUDY GARLAND: Deep yellow suffused with orange red. Has better shaped flowers than any we know in this color, they hold beautifully on the plant and when cut. Good bright foliage. A group or bed of this in the garden will catch the eye and give great pleasure. 3 ft. Floribunda Bush rose.
(Description of the Judy Garland rose by R. Harkness & Co. Ltd. catalog 1978)


In June 1969, those of us who loved Judy Garland were stunned by her sudden death. It hit all of us in different ways. For me, it was the loss of a friend I had grown up with, although I never knew her personally. I never had the opportunity to talk to her, help her, or meet with her in her dressing room. I was able to see her in person three times, and they were very special occasions for me.

Now I wanted to do something to keep Judy's name alive; to have a tribute to this great talent. I came up with the idea, in 1970, of naming a rose JUDY GARLAND. At that time Gwen Potter was the Secretary/Treasurer of the British Judy Garland Fan Club and I wrote to her and outlined my idea. Gwen thought it was a good idea and I received the club's permission to proceed with the project. So fully enthused and fired up, I started my campaign! I didn't realize at the time how frustrating it would be.

Jackson and Perkins were the biggest rose growers in the United States, so I wrote to them outlining my idea of having a new variety of rose named in memory of Judy Garland. In reply I received a polite rejection; something on the order of a form letter that is written to anyone who writes with a request such as mine. I wrote a second letter later. This time I received a very nice response explaining that Jackson and Perkins were presently in the process of naming a rose in memory of Jeanette MacDonald; getting the family's permission and all that goes with it, and they couldn't take on another similar project at that time.

I then tried every other rose grower in the United States that I knew of, and discovered in the process that some of them are firms that sell roses which are already developed. One man replied that he was a great fan of Judy's and he wished me luck. After I had exhausted every other outlet I could come up with, I again tried Jackson and Perkins for a third time. Nothing. This was now 1974.

At this point I turned the rose project over to Gwen Potter. Although there was not a rose grower in the United States that would consider developing a new rose in honor of Judy, Gwen eventually was able to interest R. Harkness & Co. Ltd., a British rose grower, in the project. I had started this effort in 1970 and it took until 1978 to become a reality. In the interim, the progress with the rose project was reported in the British fan club publications.

Harkness showed Gwen Potter some unnamed roses that had already been developed and Gwen chose a yellow rose to be named JUDY GARLAND, because Judy had supposedly favored yellow roses. Finally, Harkness advertised the JUDY GARLAND rose for sale in their 1978 catalog and gave a picture and description of the rose.

At last there was a rose named in honor of Judy! Naturally I wanted some for my garden. As with trying to get a rose named in honor of Judy this seemed like a simple enough task. It wasn't. Anyone who tried to import the JUDY GARLAND rose into this country knows what I am talking about. It wasn't a simple matter of writing to Harkness and ordering some rose bushes.

Among the things that were involved were:

  • An import permit from the Department of Agriculture.
  • A permit mailing label.
  • A Harkness health certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, England and Wales.
  • An agreement for Postentry Quarantine - State Screening Notice

The last item means that for two years after you import the rose someone from the Department of Agriculture comes and inspects your roses periodically to insure against disease, bugs, etc. You cannot give cuttings to anyone during this period. I felt my roses were on parole, but they were only quarantined.


In 1991 the JUDY GARLAND rose arrived in the United States. I immediately called Ferncliff to see if they would accept one dozen roses, which they did, and also called Grand Rapids, MN. to see if they would accept one dozen also, and they did. When this was published in the Judy Garland fan club magazine, Beyond Rainbows (Editor Sonny Gallagher) here in the U.S., fans from all over the world started sending in monies for the roses. Sonny directed all the rose garden money to me, and, I then realized my hope that a JUDY GARLAND ROSE GARDEN here in the U.S. could be a reality.

After one year, the people at Ferncliff said they would accept another dozen roses. The two dozen roses are planted outside the window of the hallway where Judy is buried so that those visiting her resting place can see them as they pay their respects to Judy. A sign in the garden states JUDY GARLAND ROSE.

Judy Garland Rose

The roses in Grand Rapids, MN. were planted at the old school house where there is a Judy Garland Museum. When I was there in 1997, I could not find any roses and when I asked about the roses, I was told they had died.

In 1991 when the money was given to me, I started looking for a suitable place for the JUDY GARLAND ROSE GARDEN. I had no idea where to begin. So, I called the Chamber of Commerce here in Oak Harbor to find out the phone numbers of the Chamber of Commerce at Central Park. That is where I hoped the garden would be planted. I found out that is not a good idea. People just take anything that is not nailed down. I will not tell you all the trials and tribulations I went through, but I did talk to Mayor Dinkins office, and actually talked to Al Damato. It was finally established that the garden would be planted at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade Park. I ordered the roses, they were planted and the bronze plaque and signs were sent. Then, I found out people were pulling out the roses by the roots, using the signs as Frisbees. I then made an overnight trip to NY to see what was happening. Needless to say, I asked for the return of the money, and the bronze plaque and started looking again.

One bright location for the garden was Lincoln Center. They were very interested in the rose garden. To "seal the deal" they suggested I get Liza Minnelli to be at the dedication ceremony. I replied I could not promise this but I would try. I contacted Liza's agency. Unfortunately Liza had left on tour by the time all the information arrived , and as it all turned out, one senior vice-president did not want the garden at Lincoln Center, so it all was dropped.

I then started calling places I knew, plus places that were suggested to me by other fans. The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the John F. Kennedy Center, (Wash. DC.) were prohibited by law to change their landscape. Just plain "NO" came from all the other places: museums, libraries, plazas, and any place that had to do with movies, radio, television and modern art. I called any place that was suggested to me. This list took two months to go through. I stated my cause, then had to wait for either pictures to arrive there, or for them to reach their decision. Since all decisions were "NO", no one was in a hurry to return my phone calls. I had to bide my time and call them - being patient so as not to be pushy.

One of the places suggested to me next was Snug Harbor on Staten Island. I thought "What a lovely name!" They have a children's museum, botanical garden, old sailors home and a trolley. They were very receptive to the idea. My idea of having the rose garden at the end of the trolley ride was shot down immediately; they were selling the trolley. After 3 months of numerous telephone calls, they called me and said they could not do it.

Through all of this, two phrases were repeated over and over. "We do not have the manpower to take care of roses", and "We do not have the room to plant any roses". At this point I was very dejected. I had all this money from the fans, $450.00 to be exact, and I could not find a site for the JUDY GARLAND ROSE GARDEN. I was on the phone with people in various locations that I thought would be right for the garden but I was getting nowhere.

My attention then turned to Long Island. The name Garden City caught my eye. I called their Chamber of Commerce and when their answer was negative, I also called Port Washington, Huntington and Old Westbury. But, all was in vain.

One day I sat down with the AAA Atlas and looked for a park near Ferncliff. I found about 3 or 4 so I started calling them. In the process, I found out that Glen Island was a beautiful place, no vandalism, and restricted to West Chester residents. I called the man in charge to find out more about this location, and asked if they would put in a rose garden. He said "Yes", and send me brochures about Glen Island. Glen Island is in New Rochelle, on Long Island Sound. It has playgrounds, picnicking, boating, boat launching, fishing, refreshments, mini-golf, swimming and is accessible for the handicapped. It is the home of the Glen Island Casino which hosted the Big Bands in the 1940's. Glen Island is one of many parks in the West Chester County park program - there are 43 parks in all. They require a pass to get in. But, any Judy Garland fan can get in. There are 100 JUDY GARLAND ROSES planted there with a bronze plaque on a boulder. This was accomplished in 1993 with the roses planted in the spring of 1994.

Judy Garland Rose

Getting the rose garden set in a beautiful place, and near Ferncliff, took 3 years; a lot of discouragement, time, phone calls and just plain frustration. But, I have been to Glen Island and luckily for me, it was a wise decision. The location is everything the brochures said it is. This exhausted the money I had received. I should add that the money I received from the fans, paid for the roses, not my expense of phone calls, pictures or any other expense incurred during the search for the JUDY GARLAND ROSE GARDEN.

Grand Rapids, MN. had moved the Judy Garland Birthplace in November 1994, to its present site. I again contacted John Kelsch to see if he would be interested in planting Judy Garland roses at the new site. Naturally he said "Yes". In 1996 I ordered two dozen roses to be sent to him. Unfortunately these were not planted. In 1997 Mr. Kelsch ordered 50 Judy Garland roses to be planted in the garden that was planned at the Judy Garland Birthplace. These were planted and he is keeping me informed when, through the winter some die, I am replacing them so there are always 50 roses at Judy's birthplace.

Judy Garland Rose

Every year I check with Ferncliff and Glen Island and make sure their gardens are doing well and to see if they need replacement roses. All these gardens are being looked after by professional landscape gardeners. To summarize the gardens: 100 Judy Garland roses at Glen Island, NY. The Judy Garland Rose Garden; 24 Judy Garland roses at Ferncliff cemetery, Hartsdale, NY; 50 Judy Garland Roses at Grand Rapids, MN; Hershey , PA., has a bed of Judy Garland roses also; and Atlanta, GA, has one dozen Judy Garland roses, planted before the 1996 Olympics.

One thing that made all the work worthwhile, beside the obvious reason of doing this for Judy, is that I received 3 notes from Liza telling me how much she and her brother and sister appreciate my efforts to establish this for their mother. This impressed me as she did not have to send me the notes. I did keep her informed about the progress after the Lincoln Center site fell by the wayside.

If anyone is interested in finding where they may purchase the Judy Garland Rose, they can E-mail me at patlosie@cros.net, as I will keep an up to date listing of nurseries that carry the rose here in the US.

About Pat Losiewicz

I was introduced to Judy Garland when my aunt took my mom and me to see "For Me And My Gal" in 1943. I was hooked from then on. I was nine years old at the time. I have seen every movie since then at least 6-8 times in the movie theater. When Easter Parade came out I saw it 17 times. I knew the dialog by heart. I collected all the records I could - 78 rpm at that time. Then 45 and 33-1/3, and now CD's - of everything I already had on the old style play, and of course DVD. I followed all the news about Judy, triumphs, heartbreak, everything, I kept a scrapbook. Like I said at the beginning, she was like a friend. And, on that day - June 22, 1969, it was this same aunt that first took us to see Judy in "For Me And My Gal", that called us to report that Judy had died. That was ironic. But it is so good to see that Judy is gaining so many fans, more than 30 years after her death.


In 1994 after watching the Grammy show, Pat had the idea of getting the Life-Time Achievement Award for Judy. She called the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in New York to find out how to go about getting this award for Judy. What was needed were letters from people in "the business" advocating Judy and stating why she should receive this award, plus a listing of all of Judy's recordings. Pat did the necessary "leg-work" and started the ball rolling. A Garland fan in South Carolina, Harriett Banta sent letters to various artists soliciting letters on Judy's behalf, and Pat proceeded to call/write to record companies to get listings of Judy's recordings. The final tally was 5 letters from people in "the business", 19 pages of Decca recordings, and 58 typewritten pages of listings. All this was submitted in 1995 to the NARAS; and again in 1996; and again in 1997 which was the year Judy finally received the award. This would be the 75th year of Judy's birth - and the television coverage was aired February 26, 1997. I am sorry to say that Harriett Banta passed away on February 9, 1999. She was 70 . This could not have been accomplished without Harriett's work in writing so many letters to the people in show business. It's sad that only 5 people responded to her letters, but those that did respond, did so enthusiastically.

This entire page, including all photographs, was entered into the
Judy Garland Database on November 29, 1999, courtesy of Pat Losiewicz, the author.
Thanks, Pat!

You may email Pat at patlosie@cros.net


Judy Garland Database ©1995-2007 Jim Johnson - see copyright statement