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Welcome to the April 2002 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!

'Glowing Amber'Roses of Excellence
by George Mander

At Right; 'Glowing Amber', one of George's finest Miniatures.

How it All Began; My story begins in 1966 when we moved into our present home here in Coquitlam about 20 miles east of Vancouver, B.C. (150 miles N. of Seattle). I only brought about 4 roses with me, but the former owner had planted a rose bush in the middle of the backyard lawn. I had no knowledge of the cultivation of roses and pruned it down to about 30" from its 5 to 6 feet height. All I got the next year was long shoots again and not a single bloom. As I had no idea what rose it was I asked my neighbour who had about 30 to 40 roses in his backyard. He said right away it will probably bloom on second year wood and you should only cut a few inches off the tips. I took his advise in 1967, and in the summer of 1968 I finally got my first blooms. It turned out to be a so called cabbage rose, 'ROSA CENTIFOLIA MAJOR'. I did not like the quartered 100 petals blooms and wanted to throw it out, but the neighbour said to me, "I would bud different varieties of roses onto the main stems". I had grafted apple and cherry trees as a teenager in my parents garden, but budding roses was new to me.

In late 1968 I bought my first rose book in order to learn how to bud roses. As in most rose books, right next to the chapter of budding there was: "How to create your new rose varieties by crossbreeding." Boy, did I find this interesting and exiting! Right then and there I decided to start hybridizing roses in 1969. Now I needed to 'Amber Sunset'learn more about the subject and went to libraries to find more rose books and photocopied every article I could find about hybridizing or crossbreeding of roses. At a nursery I found out that we have a local rose society and in the spring of 1969 I joined the Vancouver R. S. At the first meeting I was asking, "Are there any hybridizers in the Society?" No, I was told and everybody said to me,"You are crazy, you are starting from the top! You should first learn how to grow roses..." However, as I had set my mind to hybridize roses, I started from the TOP DOWN in 1969 and learned about the cultivation of roses later on.

At left: 'Amber Sunset'.

My first rose book, of about half a dozen rose books I bought in the following years, was by the worlds foremost hybridizer :"Wilhelm Kordes II". It has given me the best information by far and I followed Mr. Kordes' advise every step of the way.

My switch to “Hybridizing Miniatures” only

After 20 years of working with big roses, HT’s, Fl’s, Cl’s, Shrubs and our native “ROSA Nutkana” I got tired of not getting my hips to ripen properly, as all crosses were done in the open. There were two reasons: # 1 : In very wet summers (June/July) only 30 to 40 percent of my crosses would take. # 2 : With our short growing season (without a greenhouse) most hips were still green by mid Oct. when the weather got cool (45-55 F) and damp. Most hips never ripened properly, even by leaving them on plants until late November, germination was from zero to 10 percent only.

At right; 'Golden Beryl'.

In 1989 I started my first mini crosses with “Rise‘n’Shine” as seed parent and I discovered that working with minis, without a greenhouse, had two advantages: # 1 : It allowed me to keep my potted seed parents under my fiberglass back porch during pollination, and this in turn increased my percentage of takes to 70-80 % . # 2 : Again, most seed hips were still green by mid October, but now I was able to bring all potted seed parents into my basement under my grow lights. By the end of Nov. most hips turned color and my germination increased to about 20 to 50 percent.

By 1991 I produced my first miniature ‘Rubies’n’Pearls’ with the purple/cream bicolor. Now, my next goal was to produce a purple/gold bicolor mini by using ‘June Laver’ as seed parent with ‘Rubies’n’Pearls’ for pollen. At first I only had three ‘June Laver’ plants and discovered that at least 75 percent of crosses would take and germination was 30 % or better.

'Scarlet Pearl'In 1993/94 I went all out and bought another 50 plants of ‘June Laver’ and crossed every bloom with ‘Rubies’n’Pearls’. I also had 55 potted plants of ‘Rubies’n’Pearls’ and every bloom of those was pollinated with ‘June Laver’. In all I managed app. 2000 crosses in total in 1994 which gave me about 1500 hips and 14500 seeds of which 4750 germinated for me. (See story “A Germination Explosion” on my articles page)

At Left; 'Scarlet Pearl', a new shrub rose.

As both parents have a HT for pollen parent about 20-25 percent of all seedlings came out as Fl’s and a few HT’s. Of all those seedlings produced, not a single one came out with the purple/gold bicolor. As of this writing, March 2002, thousands of crosses and 10 years later the purple/gold is still eluding me, although since 1995 I have introduced a number of minis and a Fl “Buffy Sainte Marie”, all with beautiful bicolors and blends which I call “THE CANADIAN GEM SERIES AND RAINBOW COLLECTION OF ROSES”.

In 2003 I am planning to introduce two new minis : ‘Orange Sunset’ a beautiful orange/yellow bicolor and blend, plus ‘Pink Topaz’ a pink/cream bicolor and blend.

'Glowing Amber'At Right; 'Glowing Amber'

None of my HT’s, Fl’s and possible new future MiniFl’s are available in the US. This may change in the near future, as a Florida nursery “RoseKing Gardens” scheduled to open for US shipping in 2002/03, is presently testing about 20 of my named and unnamed varieties of HT’s, Fl’s, MiniFl’s plus about six different Miniatures.

George Mander, March 2002

Be sure to check out George's personal web site, Roses of Excellence.

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Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2003