Rosarian Stephen Scanniello is the world-renowned gardener, historian, author, lecturer, designer and consultant for gardens public and private, and the curator of the internationally acclaimed Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden.
Early in his career through the 1980s and 90s, Stephen earned recognition as the gardener and curator responsible for transforming and bringing international attention to the Cranford Rose Garden of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. He has continued independently ever since – as well as in concert with horticultural professionals, amateurs and gardening organizations of every kind – to apply his passion, talent and inestimable knowledge of roses, horticulture and gardens in the service of creating and maintaining gardens for private clients and public spaces throughout the United States and internationally.
Directing the ongoing restoration effort at the national landmark rose garden at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, Connecticut, the oldest public rose garden in America, is a project most recently added to his résumé.
Among numerous activities performed for the love of roses, he routinely gives classes and garden tours throughout the U.S. and Europe, organizes lessons for planting and pruning roses for gardeners of all ages and levels of experience, and serves as a judge for international rose trials, including the prestigious Concours International de Roses Nouvelles de Bagatelle, held annually in Paris, France.
Stephen has authored or co-authored five books:
Roses of America (1990, Holt) and Climbing Roses (1994, Prentice Hall/Horticulture, now Macmillan), both with Tania Bayard.
Rose Companions (2005, Cool Springs Press) is about selecting the perfect companion plants for your roses.
The American Horticultural Society selected his third book, A Year of Roses (1997, Holt) as one of the Ten Best Books in Horticulture for 1997. An updated edition of this award-winning classic was released in May 2006 (Cool Springs Press).
His latest book, co-authored with Douglas Brenner, A Rose by Any Name (2009, Algonquin), relates the stories behind rose names.
He is currently the president of the Heritage Rose Foundation and a member of the American Rose Society, Dallas Area Historic Rose Society, Texas Rose Rustlers, and Central Florida Heritage Rose Society. As of 2019, Stephen will serve on the Advisory Board for Rose Rosette Disease research by Texas A&M and University of Tennessee.
Notable gardens that bear the stamp of Stephen’s creation include Ruth’s Rose Garden on the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida; The Heritage Habitat Garden at the American Rose Center in Shreveport, Louisiana; the newly restored rose garden at the Rotch-Jones-Duff Garden and Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts; and the Heritage Rose District of New York City, encompassing historic sites throughout Harlem in Manhattan.
In recognition of his lifelong dedication and his countless contributions to American gardens and gardening, Stephen was awarded the prestigious Jane Righter Rose Medal from the Garden Club of America in 2013 and named in 2015 an honorary member of The Garden Club of America, among the highest accolades conferred by GCA. He is also recipient of a Horticulture Commendation awarded to him by the Garden Club of America Zone 4 in 2008 for his efforts in the preservation of old garden roses.
Stephen was the recipient of the GROW (Great Rosarian of the World) Award for 2009.
In 2015, Stephen was honored, along with Julie Andrews, by the New York Botanical Garden for his ongoing work with the preservation and conservation of heritage roses.
He lives and gardens in Jersey City and Barnegat, New Jersey.