Rose cultivars frequently are named after humans, from soldiers of the 19th and 20th centuries, presidents and royalty, and botanists to movie stars. Dolly Parton and Marilyn Monroe have roses named for them, as does Helen Hayes, known as "The First Lady of the American Theater."
The Helen Hayes rose is highly fragrant and blooms in 4-1/2-inch, yellow-blend flowers. The flowers eventually will turn a soft orange with pink highlights. "Helen Hayes" is a hybrid tea rose, hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4b through 10b.
The Helen Hayes rose was bred by the Brownell family in 1956 in Rhode Island. Dr. and Mrs. Walter Brownell bred roses known as the "subzero" series, of which the Helen Hayes is a member. These roses can tolerate the extremely cold Rhode Island winters.
Although not an easy cultivar to locate, Helen Hayes rose bushes may be available from large nurseries and garden centres. The University of California at Davis' Foundation Plant Services sells the bush. As of 2010, the Helen Hayes rose can be ordered bare-root from online merchants such as Burgess Seed & Plant Company and Exciting Gardens.