The American Rose Annual 30: 168-170 (1945)
M. H. Horvath's Place in Rose History

Dr. J. Horace McFarland,
President Emeritus, American Rose Society, Harrisburg, Pa.

As I think over the contact I had with the brilliant and able Hungarian, Mr. Horvath, I become keenly conscious of the way in which time does fly. When I began to be concerned about roses in their social relationship through the American Rose Society, we were still hearing of traveling nursery agents who would sell Baltimore Belle and Queen of the Prairies, the only approximation of a red climber, as new roses. We had just passed through the Crimson Rambler excitement—and it was that, because the then very important nursery firm of Ellwanger & Barry of Rochester, New York, had seen this rose in England, bought it and propagated it by entirely new methods, and through an honest advertising campaign all America came to know Crimson Rambler.

This then was the meager, easily available supply of more or less hardy climbing roses within reach of the rose lovers of the eastern Atlantic seaboard. The South had Cherokee and Banksia, California had these and some splendid climbing tea roses, but the hardy climbers as we know them today were yet to come.

M. H. Horvath, born in Hungary, came to America about 1890 as an educated forester whose tendency was all the time to see what trees would do for the garden. His genius found expression in several notable estates near Cleveland, and then in the Cleveland parks, upon which he left his mark most effectively. He always saw true, and when he planted his own home at Mentor, not far from Lake Erie, he was thinking of what made pleasanter living conditions about one's home directly and about the city of which he became a unit. While I had the advantage of many personal contacts with this lovable man, I never discussed with him the origin of his rose interest, and I incline to the feeling that he got that interest in the same way I heard Henry Ford once explain why he was born an Episcopalian. He said: "I got the denomination with my ears!"

Mr. Horvath's always practical and discerning mind promptly went way back of what he could see that would adorn his own home at Mentor, and he set up some obvious ideals which he was not at all averse to discussing with any of his friends. He wanted large-flowered roses ... into what he called a Setigera hybrid. He did not claim continuous blooming, but he rested an abundant seasonal bloom with occasional recurrent flowers as produced on a hardy and spreading plant individualized by its small glossy dark green foliage.

Those who are deeply interested in this vigorous worker may look up his record in Modern Roses II, there discovering that he was responsible for a group of roses of definite importance which as they are distributed will shed greater luster on his name. He chose or accepted pleasing and pleasant names, lapsing from that habit only when he named one for his admiring Cleveland patron, Mrs. F. F. Prentiss. He touched the Treasure Island range not only with Doubloons, but with Jean Lafitte and Long John Silver, both varieties of real merit.

From the observation standpoint, and having had the very large advantage of direct acquaintance with many of those who have built new roses into the American rose fabric, I would give M. H. Horvath high and memorable rank. When he attended a rose meeting and could be persuaded to talk, he said things that counted, and these words in his memory are written in a feeling of deep thankfulness that I came to know him well and to appreciate him fully.