Sam McGredy Royal Nurseries Portadown

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Sam's Garden!
Photograph was taken in 1967 at Mullavilly, about 3 mile out of town.


Dr. Samuel Darragh McGredy  C.B.E  1932-2019

The 'Rose King'

Sam now retired, living in his adopted Country of New Zealand with his wife Jillian, both enjoying music, travelling and of course Sam's Rugby interests.

See 2009 video of interview with Sam in New Zealand CLICK HERE

See Portadown Video featuring Sam's sister Molly  CLICK HERE

The Rose featured on the front cover of an early 1970's brochure is 'Molly McGredy'  Sam named this rose after a sister.


The moving of Sam's rose breeding operation to New Zealand was a great loss to Portadown, the New Zealanders gained one of the worlds greatest Rose Breeders, we wish them well.

Born in Portadown, Northern Ireland, Sam McGredy was named after his father, grandfather and great-grandfather who established the nursery at Woodside in Portadown, all four generations being rose breeders. Traveling the world at an early age, Sam selected what he considered to be the best roses of the time and returned to Ireland to begin his breeding career. And what a career it has been!  
Sam received his first Gold Medal in 1959 and has been reaping award after award ever since. He has earned seven All American Rose Selection (AARS) honors for Electron, Cathedral, Sundowner, Olympiad, New Year, Singin' in the Rain and Mount Hood. He has been awarded 15 Gold Medals from the Royal National Rose Society of the United Kingdom, with a number of The President's international Trophy for the Best New Rose; The Queen Mary Commemorative Medal (twice); ten Gold Stars of the South Pacific; numerous Gold Awards at the Belfast Rose Trials; the James Mason Memorial Gold Medal; the Clay Cup for Rose Fragrance; the Gold Medal of the Royal Irish Horticultural Society; the New Zealand Rose Award for 1986; the Australian Rose Award for 1988 -- the same year in which the Royal National Rose Society awarded him its highest honor -- the Dean Hole Medal for his work in both Ireland and New Zealand; and, in 1977, the Year of the Rose, the British Post Office issued a commemorative stamp that featured one of his best roses, Elizabeth of Glamis. 

But, of all the awards garnered by Sam McGredy during his career, the most prestigious is The Golden Rose awarded at The Hague Rose Trials in Holland-which he has won an unprecedented four times! 

A resident of New Zealand since 1972, Sam has been awarded the Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. And in 1996 Samuel Darragh McGredy was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by Massey University, New Zealand. 

Other awards Sam has been presented with are:-

Patron of the Auckland Horticultural Council

The Gamble Medal from the American Rose Society

The Gold Medal of the World Federation of Rose Societies.

Associate of Honour, the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture

Sam holds the OBN, this is the peculiarly named Order of the Blue Nose founded by Niels Poulsen of Denmark (the Blue Nose was a famous Canadian sailing ship}. Membership is limited to  rosarians and is highly coveted around the world. There are currently 42 members in 11 countries.


Sam McGredy inspecting the new rose seedlings, Spring 1952.

Garvaghy Park is now built on this site, it was known as Davison's field.
The location of the site can be placed as follows; leaving town via Castle Street onto Garvaghy Road, pass McGredy Royal Nurseries on the left, after that was Tommy Niblock's field (now 'The Beeches' housing development) the field in photo is the next one on the left. 
The hedgerow on right is the boundary with Garvaghy Road, the little house on top right corner was on Hugh Lyttle's farmland at the corner of Drumcree Road/Garvaghy Road. The larger house to the right of Sam is the end house in a cul-de-sac off Ballyoran Hill, it was the home of his great uncle, Isaac Davison, at present owned by Mr. Sabherwal. The other houses to the left are at the top of Ballyoran Hill.  Some family names in this area in the fifties were;-Willoughby-Finn-Moore- Monahan-Jones-Lester & ?



Front cover of Sam McGredy's 1968/69 rose catalogue, the rose featured is 'Timothy Eaton'  The photograph was taken in 1968.  
Every Irishman knows of Timothy Eaton, the Ballymena man who made his name as The Department Store King of Canada. The rose created by Sam was to celebrate the centennial of the great Timothy Eaton Company. It was also the 1968 Rose of the Year.

Photograph above shows Sam holding a strong healthy rose tree. The houses in the background are Churchill Park Estate, built by the local Council in the 1960's. The site where Sam is standing has since been developed with private houses



Click Below To Go To There

Sam McGredy Royal Nurseries Portadown P2

Opening Day of Derriaghy Garden Centre

History of Sam McGredy Nursery

Sam McGredy Show Teams

McGredy's  1950-1964

McGredy Football Team 1966

Sam Carved in Wood!

McGredy Roses 1906-99

McGredy in Japan 2002

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