Many people have asked us if we planned to hybridize our own roses and we always said no and went on to explain that it takes about ten years to save seeds, wait at least a year till they rooted and bloomed, then select varieties, test them in various climates, and finally propagate enough of them to meet the demand from a well-advertised (expensive) marketing campaign. That said, we’ve firmly remained against starting a hybridizing program, but back in 1997 Tracy did hand me a Rugosa rose hip and told me to try my hand at hybridizing if I wanted to. I think I left that hip in the refrigerator for at least a year and then broke it open and tossed the seeds in a flat of rooting medium in the shade. A few plants came of it, but not until this year have we seen flowers! Here I can introduce the first two of our very own rose babies:
It is rather exciting to realize that these two roses would never exist if we hadn’t saved that particular rose hip (which was pollinated by a particular bee, with pollen from other specific rose plants) then planted it and had patience to see what would develop. There are three more plants yet to bloom, so we’ll have to wait and see what they turn out to be. Time will tell if any of these plants are worth keeping around, how big they’ll grow and how they’ll do outside, but Rugosas tend to be a very hardy breed and good as hedge shrubs.