Welcome to the July edition of my web site. (Perhaps this month's feature should be titled "Why Aren't You Out In Your Garden?!") I'm very pleased to be offering a new article writtin by Sean McCann of Ireland, who most of you will recognize as a regular contributor to the ARS monthly magazine, 'American Rose'. My thanks also to Rich Baer, who supplied the excellent photographs for this article. By the way, you can still access the past 2 front page articles by clicking on the 'June', and 'May' headlines to your left. Don't forget, for tips on rose culture, pruning, propagation and history, see "Other resources on this site". Any time you want to return to this page, click on the "thorn icon" in the margin at the upper left corner. Enjoy!
Introduction to Some of My Roses
There is only one time in the year for a rose breeder. Spring. When the new seedlings begin to poke their little heads through to a new world. For a few weeks the pains, disappointments, and frustrations of dreaming, pollinating, keeping the bugs from destroying the work, keeping weeds down and hoping that the new pods will be effective, are forgotten. At right: 'Dreamcatcher' a climbing miniature.
Here are all the new little roses. In all their glory. Even the tiniest looks beautiful now. Even mildew doesn't cause a problem because in my little greenhouse (8ft. x 12ft) everything is so crammed together that some trouble could not be avoided.
This has been the same now for well over 20 years. In that time I have bred countless new roses, many of which never went into general distribution. But the early years provided me with something to bounce my ideas into the future.
Among my first batches of seedlings were new roses that have proved to be the basis for a lot of my breeding. First of all there was Bloomsday in 1981; this is still being talked about in rose circles but no one wants to put it in a catalogue. The blooms are deep orange, marked brown with deep gold reverse. And the greatest delight with these is that they don't fade but age to a deep brown. Despite all these attributes I only used it as a pollen parent - and even at this I have used it very seldom. What a great parent I seem to have missed! Now that I am using it as a seed parent it is giving me many new blooms in very different shades of orange and brown. At left: 'Dreamcoat'.
I bred it from a greenhouse rose that I got in a bouquet one day. The name of the rose is Belinda (not to be confused with the hybrid musk of the same name). It is a small medium sized bloom with a bright orange colour. I crossed this with a seedling from a McGredy recommendation to breeders called Maxi, a red floribunda, and Joyfulness, a British bred orange floribunda. From these came Bloomsday. Great breeding lines.
years later I had another great parent rose which was named for our
eldest daughter, Siobhan. Here again I was still using Maxi. This is
a beautiful rose; small, medium 20 petalled bloom. Colour is red with
a yellow reverse.
These two roses have proved to be the best of the large roses that I have grown - and they as well as their parents have proved to be the ones that I have built my line on. Among the best breeders in my mini line - all which have attachments to the bigger line - are Lady in Red and Kiss'n'Tell. These have been wonderful providers over the years of colorful, disease resistant roses.
Today over 30 of my roses are on sale through Jerry Justice in Wilsonville, Oregon. (Justice Miniature Roses, 5947 Kahle Rd., Wilsonville, Oregon, 97070 ph: 503-682-2370) Left, and below: 'Little White Lies'.
I am often asked which rose gives me the greatest satisfaction - that stumps me. I enjoy them all. No doubt though that the surprise of all is Little White Lies. This was a totally undistinguished seedling in the greenhouse; tiny and a gray white in colour. But it kept greeting me every day when I looked over those little roses. I got the message. It was the same one that Crazy Dottie used give me in its early days - it was a bloom a day smiling little rose. Little White Lies is different in some ways - it is a massive explosion of bloom when grown tightly in a hanging basket.
It is the most successful roses that I have grown and that have been aimed at growing in a hanging basket. This is an area that has not been discovered really by rose breeders. The message usually goes out that ground cover roses are ideal in this situation. They are in many ways but they get too enthusiastic impetuous and energetic. A more controlled rose has been my aim. A few years ago I had a lovely one - that is still in the Justice catalogue - is is called Flower basket (named in an effort to jump on the bandwagon created by Flower Carpet!). One leading American breeder took a couple of the super baskets from Justice to look it over - but so much for hopes and promises - when I went to his huge breeding operation I saw my little basket left to one side, dried out and dead. I have the original baby and want to get it started again just to show that basket roses can make it.
One other area for consideration has been the climbing miniatures. I got into these by accident. Somewhere a climbing gene got in among my breeding roses and I have had boxes of seedlings from non climbing parents exuberantly taking over the seed flats. I am not complaining because among the roses I have eventually bred is SWALK. This is a marvelous grower to about seven foot, controlled, good disease resistance, and masses of a lovely red with just a hint of traces of silver on the reverse. It is so good that one day I expect to see someone showing it and winning with it. At right: 'S.W.A.L.K.', a climbing miniature.
My greenhouse is a jumble of everything. Shrubs, H.T.'s, singles, floribundas, OGR shapes in miniatures from deep cup to cupínísaucer shapes. Yes Spring is a time of revelation, elation and more dreams. A pity Spring doesn't come more often in the year!