Knowing Dan Bifano's reputation—he has designed a number of high-profile gardens, including several for Barbra Streisand—Oprah asked to meet him when she moved to Montecito.
After arriving with a bucketful of assorted roses to get a sense of Oprah's reaction to color, style, and texture, Dan created gardens that would complement the colors inside the main house. Then, he spent the next five years—with the help of hybridizer Tom Carruth—bringing an entirely new rose into being.
The Legends Rose, which will be available to the public beginning in December 2008, is one of the largest hybrid teas ever created. Oprah named the rose, which is red with black tips and ruffled petals (like "a Spanish dancer's dress," Bifano says) in honor of the 18 African-American women—the legends—she celebrated with a three-day festival in 2005. She has a photograph of these women hanging in her main house: giants of the arts like Maya Angelou, Tina Turner, and Ruby Dee, side by side with 36 "young'uns" like Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Alicia Keys. "All the young'uns paid tribute to the elders," Oprah says. "I had a ball."