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Welcome to the April 2001 edition of my web site! The roses I write about are the Old Garden Roses and select shrub and miniature roses of the 20th century. For tips on rose culture, pruning, propagation and history, see "Other resources on this site". To return to this page, click on the "thorn icon" in the margin at left. Articles from the previous months are archived and can be viewed by clicking on the listings in the left margin. Oh, and please don't write to me for a catalog or pricelist.....this is an information site only.....not a commercial nursery. If you wish to buy roses, see my sponsor, The Uncommon Rose. Thanks!

by Kim Rupert

Originally published, Potpourri of Roses, July/August, 1994

'Si'No other plants quite have the whimsy of the really tiny micro miniature roses. To study a complete rose bush but a few inches tall, with all plant parts in tiny scale, is a real delight. Too many of the modern micros seem to hold title solely because their flowers are smaller, while they grow nearly as large as their bigger brothers. There are a few of the truly tiny ones which have maintained their Lilliputian stature in the open ground of my desert hillside. Their delicacies are much more easily enjoyed when grown in pots or raised planters. They will also be safer from feet and the marauding rabbits which abound here in the desert.

At Right: 'Si'

Of the ones I have grown and found to fit what I feel is the definition of the term "micro", the majority follow distinct breeding lines. The first based on R. ROULETTI and its companion variety POMPON DE PARIS, the second on an imaginative line developed by Ralph Moore.
ROULETTII is reported to have been discovered by a Major Roulet, growing on window ledges of Swiss cottages around 1918 and was introduced around 1922. Modem Roses 9 says it is a variety of R. Chinensis minima reportedly in cultivation since 1818. It has 1" double rose-pink flowers, and is supposed to be "identical to POMPON DE PARIS except for differences due to culture" (Modem Roses 9). 'Little Pinkie'POMPON DE PARIS is recorded as being known since 1839 and was sold as a pot plant in Paris flower markets. I have only recently obtained ROULETTII and have not been able to discern any real differences yet, but POMPON DE PARIS will grow to about 15" in the open ground in rich soil, and covers iself with its pretty little double pink blooms from spring to pruning time. I try to stunt it by cutting it to the ground and it thrives.

At Left: 'Little Pinkie'

Pedro Dot, the great Spanish hybridizer, used pollen from POMPON DE PARIS on the old polyantha MERVEILLE DE ROUGES and gave us MON PETITE in 1947. The tiny blooms have about 80 petals and are a clear light red. The bush is compact, growing to about 7" for me and it blooms quite freely. ROSADA followed from Dot in 1950 with PERLA DE ALCANADA as the seed parent and ROULETTII providing the pollen. The 7" to 8" plant is a profuse bloomer, constantly providing tiny light pink flowers of about 25 petals officially described as "clear peach edged Neyron pink". MY BABY cane from V.L Quackenbush of Medford, Oregon in 1967. The 1/2" cupped blooms are very double, in shades of light red to deep pink. It's a slow grower and stays quite short and full, seeming to spend most of its energies blooming. Its parentage is recorded as CINDERELLA X ROULETTII.'Baby Austin'
The first micro I obtained also appears to be about the tiniest rose on the market. SI originated in 1957 from the able hands of Pedro Dot. It has never exceeded a height of about 6", even when the surrounding plants have shaded it causing it to have to reach for the sunlight. It is the smallest rose in every detail I have ever encountered. The blushwhite buds really are the size of a grain of wheat as the catalogs relay. They open to the smallest pale blush-pink to white, semi-double flowers imaginable. Fully expanded, they usually measure from an eighth to three sixteenths of an inch each and are bome singly on stems of about W long. Its parentage is PERLA DE MONTSERAT X (ANNY X TOM THUMB). PERLA DE MONTSERAT resulted from across of CECILE BRUNNER and ROULETTII.

At Right: 'Baby Austin'

TOM THUMB, a very early modern micro, was bred in 1936 by the famous Dutch hybridizer, Jan de Vink, and was a product of ROULETTII and GLORIA MUNDI. This is the rose referred to as PEON, as it was known in Europe before the Conard-Pyle Company brought it to the US. Its 1/2" to 3/4" of an inch, semi-double crimson blooms have white centers and appear freely on very dwarf plants. Many micros trace their ancestry to this early "baby" rose. MIDGET came next in 1941, also by de Vink, with the floribunda ELLEN POULSEN as its mother Its carmine-red, 1/2" flowers with 20 petals come steadily on a dwarf 'Joan Austin'plant with small, ferry foliage. SWEET FAIRY appeared from de Vink in 1946 with TOM THUMB as its mother and an unnamed seedling as its father. The 1" fragrant, flat blooms contain between 50 and 65 petals and are apple blossom pink. The bush grows vigorously to 6" to 8" with small, dark leaves.

At Left: 'Joan Austin'

BO PEEP is a charmer de Vink released in 1950 from a cross of CECILE BRUNNER and TOM THUMB. It provides a steady stream of tiny, cupped, rose pink flowers consisting of between 25 and 30 petals on a dwarf bush seldom exceeding 5' to 8". RED IMP was de Vink's offering in 1951 and came from the same parentage as MIDGET. The deep crimson flowers are very double with 45 to 60 petals and open flat on the dense, little bush. CINDERELLA is probably one of the best known of the bunch. de Vink introduced it in 1953 and obtained it from the same cross as BO PEEP. The tiny bush is virtually thomless and regularly produces its smaller than 1", 45 to 60 petaled, "satiny white tinged pale flesh' (Modem Roses 9) flowers with a spicy fragrance. I must admit that the blooms are so small, and the plant so low, that I have never been able to detect any fragrance, but the official registration reports it. BABY BUNTING was also released by de Vink in 1950, also from the same parentage as MIDGET. Its tiny flowers have 20 petals, are supposedly fragrant, and are light magenta with prominent stamen.
In 1940, Ralph Moore registered a recurrent climbing miniature called ZEE. It was a product of CAROLYN DEAN crossed with TOM THUMB, and was never released for sale. A recent conversation with MR. Moore (June, 1994), yielded the sad news that ZEE has been lost, but CAROLYN DEAN is once more available from Sequoia Nursery. ZEE's foliage was very small with very small pink blooms, growing to a height of about 30". It is a parent or grand parent of all of Mr. Moore's climbing miniatures. In 1954 he introduced THUMBELLINA, a cross of the polyantha EBLOUISSANT and ZEE. The small, semi-double flowers are cherry red with white petal bases. It has tiny, dark glossy leaves on a bushy 6" to 8' plant with abundant and continuous bloom.'Oakington Ruby'
Mr. Moore crossed the species R. Wichuraiana with the floribunda FLORADORA, father of QUEEN ELIZABETH. to produce a seedling which has been used effectively in creating these micros. The earliest of those that I grow is YELLOW BANTAM, from 1960, which has FAIRY PRINCESS as its pollen parent.

At Right: 'Oakington Ruby'

The pointed buds open into very small, primrose-yellow to white blooms with 25 petals, which are freely produced on the bushy, 10" plant. His TRINKET followed in 1965 being a cross of the R. wichuraiana and FLORADORA seedling and MAGIC WAND. The flowers are small, double, phlox-pink and are constantly produced on the bushy, dwarf plant. It is a more substantially framed bush than those based on R. Chinensis minima and its variants. Both FAIRY PRINCESS and MAGIC WAND are climbing minis from Mr. Moore developed from the polyantha EBLOUISSANT and ZEE.
TINY FLAME is very well named because of is very tiny buds and 3/4" double flowers of coral-orange-red. It is the closest in stature to SI, only more spreading. It is a product of the R. wichuraiana X FLORADORA seedling crossed with NEW PENNY, and released by Mr. Moore in 1969. His tiniest moss mini, KARA, arrived in 1972, and is a self seedling of FAIRY MOSS. From its long, pointed mossy buds, five rich pink petals unfurl to form a single flower of less than an inch, illuminated by bright yellow stamen and pollen. It is a vigorous little moss, but never reached 3" tall before the encroaching strawberries necessitated moving it. It is much happier in its raised planter where the average height is just over 6". It is really one of the cutest little singles you could imagine, especially with its mossy buds. Happily, it is once again available from Sequoia Nursery.'Little Chief'
Harm Saville followed with his FAIRY MOSS self seedling, LITTLE LIZA, in 1975. It has tiny, pointed buds opening to 1/2" to 1" flowers of about 15 rose-pink petals, It has no moss, but has stayed a small, compact bush with loads of blooms. PRISSY Missy was born in 1965 out of E. D. Williams' efforts. The dwarf, bushy plant is vigorous and profusely offers is small, very double, medium pink with a lighter reverse flowers. Its parentage is listed as SPRING SONG X seedling, and seemed confusing to me at first. I looked for a connection between it and the preceding varieties and found it does exist. SPRING SONG was bred from the R. Wichuraiana X FLORADORA seedling crossed with THUMBELLINA by Ralph Moore in 1957. This one pulls both lines back together in is seed parent's genes.

At Left: 'Little Chief'

Several years ago, I purchased a micro I had not heard of, called HI. It is very much the sister to SI in scale, only its flowers are single. They are blush-pink to white and encircle bright yellow stamen and pollen. The plant stays bushy and dwarf and literally covers itself with these tiny daisy-like blooms. It is unregistered and no one had been able to shed any light on its origins, but it fits in beautifully with these wee ones. I had originally theorized that it might have been of Japanese breeding as the word 'hi' in Japanese and the Spanish word "si" both mean "yes". I thought, if this were the case, it was an interesting pun. Once the original article appeared, Laurie Chaffin of Pixie Treasures Miniature Roses in Yorba Linda, California, called the editor of the newsletter it had appeared in and offered this explanation: Gene Strawn, the creator of several award winning miniature roses such as PINK PETTICOAT, had raised this little rose. Not thinking it would be of any real commercial value, he gave it to Laurie's mother, Dorothy Cralle, who loves single roses. It seems that every morning when Mrs. Cralle rounded the corner of the table the little roses occupied, she would say 'Hi' to them. Hence the rose was named. Being blessed to have Laurie and Dorothy as friends, I like this version better.'Fairy Moss'
POPCORN was bred by Dr. Dennison Morey in 1973. It makes a rounded little bush, less than nine inches tall, absolutely smothered with very tiny, yellow-while buds which open to small, semi-double, open blooms showing many yellow stamen. The effect of a mound of these blooms is like a bowl of buttered popcom.

At Right: 'Fairy Moss'

Its mother was Peter Lambert's 1901 polyantha KATHARINA ZEIMET with pollen from Dr. Morey's micro, DIAMOND JEWEL, itself a very small flowered rose bred from Tom Thumb.
I've enjoyed these little ones as path edgers and fillers between larger bushes. They make the ultimate frontage plants for beds of graduated heights. I currently grow most of them in a raised planter where they will be safe from being eaten or stepped on and where I may more easily study and enjoy their beauty. They draw much attention and generate many exclamations of amazement because they are whimsical and fun!

Copyright © Kim Rupert 2001

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