Roses


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:

Rugosa Baby #1

5 Hearts

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.

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This post is a migration from our earlier blog, February 4, 2009

First off, our first ever wholesale Bareroot rose shipment has come in and we’re turning them around as fast as we can. They are amazing #1 Grade plants from Weeks Roses. Tracy unpacked the huge boxes and exclaimed that these are the best he’s ever seen – beautiful canes and lots of roots. You won’t see anything like this coming out of a bag or box at your local drug store this year. Here’s a peak at what we’re proud to be able to ship to those of you who can take them this month and either plant them now, or pot them up and keep them protected until you’re safe to plant outside.Bareroot Grade 1 rose
The next little item of business is Pruning! I have always exclaimed that I love to prune – well, now that I’ve started to do it again this year I think what I mean is that I love to see pruned rose bushes. Annual pruning is really a very worthwhile and necessary chore as it gives us a chance for a real close look at our plants and how they’ve been growing the last year. There is no hiding that I did not feed some of my bushes well enough (or at all…) as I have lots of spindly growth to prune off. It’s also a great chance to look for cane damage and disease, and to get rid of it along with all

Dieback Wasp on rose

the fallen leaves that could be harboring disease spores ready to attack the plant when the conditions are right.

DiebackCane

And just to show a before and after bed of roses, this is a great shot as from left to right it has a Hybrid Tea, a Shrub and a Floribunda, so you can see how different they all look pruned. What a difference some weeding and a fresh coat of mulch makes, too.

Rose before being pruned
roses after pruning

Admittedly, I have had to prune a little lower than I usually do because of disease and twiggy growth. After doing a few pruning workshops with our local rose society, I’ve learned that it might be helpful to describe the finished Hybrid Tea as looking like antlers sticking out of the ground, or like an upward facing cupped hand. In general you want 3 to 6 good-sized, evenly-spaced canes around an open center. Here’s our hearty Pristine plant that is more typical of my thigh-high pruning.

Pristine Rose Pruned
Another option for pruning is to just lop 1/3 straight across the top. It’s better to clean out the center of modern varieties for healthy air-flow, but really, any pruning is better than no pruning at all. It rejuvenates your plant and tells it to get ready for a beautiful spring bloom. Be sure to clean off all leaves and throw them in the trash or burn them. Never compost rose debris! And a final tidbit from a pruning workshop attendee after we were all through. Prune off more than you think you should. It’s really very difficult to kill a rose bush by pruning it. Take this opportunity to remind it that you are the boss, and that you want a strong, healthy bush to support lots of flowers come spring.
Hmm, speaking of blooms, this post is sorely lacking, so here’s the last bouquet of 2008 on the eve of a good freezing night.

Final Roses of 2008
Now, finally Daphne, we’re off for that walk!

This post is a migration of our earlier blog, April 17, 2008

It’s that great time of year when the rose babies in the cold frames are starting to do what we all expect of roses – bloom! We’re still more than a month away from peak bloom in the garden, so it’s always great to have some early blooms – especially if it’s a variety that is new to us and we need a good photo, or I need to see if it really IS fragrant, etc.

These days I’m inside in the office most of the day (and sometimes into the night) getting your shipping paperwork in order, so there are usually a few deliveries of flower heads (no long stems allowed) to my desk by Tracy as the day progresses. Today included Pope John Paul II with the strongest citrus fragrance of any white yet. Tracy and I decided Pope John Paul II roseit was bordering on grapefruit. Earlier flowers seemed to have some green in them and this one has more cream color. Certainly a rose with a long happy history in front of it. Let’s also hope that J&P will continue their liner program of this rose or we won’t be able to sell it again until the patent runs out in 2027 and by then we definitely WON’T be in business! I’d better reserve my plant of it now, for my own garden…I’ve also got a flower of Dream Come True on the desk along with Velvet Fragrance.

Talisman rosebudA few days ago he brought a Talisman rose and I still remember the first time I realized it smelled exactly like the Gewurztraminer grape juice from Navarro Vineyards that we are fond of.

Last week in flowers I had a Marketing 101 refresher course. Tracy brought in a HUGE 6+” flower of First Prize. There was no wonder that this rose was named that as the form was perfect, the bloom was huge and could not be ignored. A friend walked into the house and made a bee-line directly over to the flower saying she rarely liked pink roses, but the color of this one was superb. I was left wondering why we had so few orders for this rose plant this season when I checked the photo of the one on-line . Ugh – wonder-no-more! In this case it probably would have been better to have no picture than the one we had of two not even open buds with some brown water-damaged edges. I’ve really learned that “better than nothing” still has to be “good enough to showcase the roses’ best features”. So, here’s the new photo we are using of that big bloom from one of the baby plants. Let’s see how it sells now!
First Prize rose
Until the next chance we get to write…

Clutter – it often gets the best of me, but what to do when there are so many interesting things to learn and read about?  Recently I made a foray onto the dining room table.  It looked really good for my 50th birthday party, but has digressed since then.  We even removed all the table leaves so that there would be a smaller surface to hold clutter, but I underestimated the piling effect…

On the good side, clutter often does provide me with some happy coincidences.  Just yesterday I saw a bowl of floating roses that Tracy had brought in from the greenhouses – the first fragrant blooms of the season. The colors went perfectly with the watercolored birthday napkin I got the day before at my friend’s 90th birthday lunch, and the stuffed purple rabbit still sitting where he landed as a gift at my own party a month ago.  A little repositioning and voilà- a nice colorful composed photo to bring back good memories.Felicia, Barbra Streisand, Intrigue, Strike It Rich roses with Purple Bunny

The roses are (clockwise from top left) Strike It Rich, Barbra Streisand, Intrigue, and Felicia – all really fragrant.  Tracy is shipping bareroot roses almost every day right now.  At last count there were a few plants of 11 varieties still left.  He’ll have some other potted varieties available through spring and fall as they mature enough to ship.  Watch the shopping cart for earliest availability, or send an email from the Contact Us link and ask about a certain variety you’re looking for.  I am always amazed how he sells things that he’s only inventoried in his head.  I guess he experiences happy clutter coincidence too!

It looks like it would take too much time to figure out how to move the first blog (which I abandoned because of trouble uploading photos) to here, so I’ll just post the url for now…

http://www.amityheritageroses.com/blog.html