Monday, November 17, 2014

My own root, organically grown rose 'Eugene de Beaharnais' rose arrived months ago as a TINY plant, but in a decorative Water Wise Container Garden it shares with a test leek it is growing quite well. The fragrance is jaw dropping. I harvested this bloom after taking the pic and plan to use the pollen on 'Champney's Pink Cluster' tomorrow morning. Since Denver winters hammered mine there to the ground each year I thought that trying it here was reasonable. We'll see how it is three years from now. One intent of mine is to use the pollen often on 'Old Blush' to make the resulting seedlings have more China Rose blood, which could/should make them Florida Friendly. In Denver I ALMOST took fragrances like this for granted, even in alley way roses, but here in Florida this QUALITY of scent is extremely rare. In my earliest days of poring through books about Old Roses at the Denver Botanic Gardens circa1990 I went mental over this rose conceptually since it was one of the very first repeat blooming roses to evolve in Europe due to 'Old Blush' having been planted amongst the once blooming Damasks, Albas and Gallicas grown there for centuries. Due to the rich saturated color and orgasmic scent my hunch has always been that 'Eugene' is a second generation seedling of a bee/wind caused cross of 'Old Blush' and a Gallica. Back then they did not know about controlled breeding, just letting bees etc. do the work. I am starting to be hopeful about this rose for Florida.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This rose is not happy in Tampa and I understand why...while it is classified as a China, is it a seedling of 'General Jacqueminot' (1853), a Hybrid Perpetual that THRIVED in my Denver yard but that has died here 3 times and that I have never seen in any Florida rose garden....over the years I've lost 2 rare plants of 'Louis XIV' but today bit the bullet and ordered a third plus one each of 'Oklahoma' and "Secret Garden Musk Climber" from Roses Unlimited. They did not have the Graham Stuart Thomas form of Rosa moschata that over the years has died here 3 times both own root and on R. fortuniana. I persist because I want to breed with both as my 'Gold Blush' was bred under glass in Denver from (Rosa moschata X Abraham Darby). I love the idea of boinking 'Old Blush' with 'Louis XIV' to get more China genes in the mix. I want to boink 'Old Blush' with 'Oklahoma' too for the same reason. I love the sultry garnet purple and amazing scent of 'Louis XIV' and miss it and hope I can get this one to live and thrive.

'Louis XIV' has stunning color and fragrance!

A couple of hundred of open-pollinated seeds of 'Seagull' are sown in this mini-Water Wise Container Garden. In years past I got decent germination with no cold stratification, so I'll give it about 6 weeks of outdoor temps, pot up any seedlings that emerge, then put it in a plastic bag in the fridge for 1-2 months for a second wave of seedlings.

Cool old video...that black rose is amazing!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

There is a fascinating discussion on Chez Vibert Old Roses Forum (many members in deeply drought stricken California) that makes SO MUCH sense....there seems to be a correlation between a rose's height, and the depth of its roots, and subsequent drought tolerance. The 'Mermaid' that consumed my yard was 45 feet long...would have been that tall if trained straight up...roots going down 45 feet would explain it not being affected by the drought at all. 'Seagull', "Barfield White Climber", 'Francois Juranville' all make 20 foot canes...drought has no affect on them. Wild R. laevigata here in Florida can go 60 feet up long needle the roots go down 60 feet? Indestructible "Pink Cracker Rose" can be a 10-12 foot pillar...roots go down that far? Fortuniana advocates tout as a virtue its roots being a 3 INCH deep mat at the with a straight face brags that his hundreds of roses on campus (exempt from the restrictions the rest of us have to abide by) ONLY get 7 gallons per bush PER DAY every day! This also makes me think of towering drought tolerant monsters in Denver like "Mr. Nash", 'Seagull', 'Great Western', 'American Pillar', 'Blaze', 'Dr. Van Fleet', 'New Dawn', "Victorian Memory",' Zephirine Drouhin',' Francis E. Lester', 'Lawrence Johnston'. 'Ghislaine de Feligonde' and more that thrive in that very dry climate. I REALLY this we are onto something and will keep it in mind as I breed drought tolerant roses for Florida.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Today I placed an order with Mark Chamblee Roses, whom I've dealt with happily since the early 1990s both here and in includes 7 plants of 'Old Blush' that I will add to the one coming from Mike Shoup and The Antique Rose Emporium. They will be planted in a continuous hedge. Why so many? It is almost as tough as the iconic Mystery Rose of central Florida "Pink Cracker Rose, which is VERY sterile as both Mom and Dad, but is a very abundant hip setter plus more mannerly in growth (PCR can become a 10 foot pillar rose quickly). I will use 'Old Blush' as a seed parent boinked by some modern roses and some OGRs, plus will playfully sprout open pollinated seeds as was done when it first reached Europe from China circa 1752. I ESPECIALLY want to pollinate it with four VERY tough in Florida climbers/ramblers...'Seagull', 'Francois Juranville', "Barfield White Climber" and "Cherokee Rose" (Rosa laevigata). Drought and severe watering restrictions have been the norm in Florida for years, which has made roses even MORE rarely seen in landscapes and has deeply affected my own growing and breeding of roses, including the ethics of water use. I am VERY excited about this decision to add 'Old Blush' to 'Seagull' as my main seed parent!

'Mme. Antoine Mari' continues to send out lush new growth after that first ever hard cut back and feedings, a few waterings, plus a few good rain. The west bed she has thrived in for years (she is in a buried 4 gallon Water Wise Container Garden) is next to my neighbor's hot concrete driveway and is close to the asphalt street...she truly IS a drought tolerant Tea Rose!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My "Fairmount Red" rose has not bloomed in three years, due I feel to those last two MILD winters where I did not have to cover even basil or tomatoes. I discovered it in Denver in 1990, and made a clone for my yard there from a runner before the mowing crews nuked it. In Colorado it is a VERY cold hardy once bloomer, so I am surprised that my Tampa plant has survived at all for seven years I think. Last fall I moved it's large pot close to my north facing office wall to shade it from the fierce south sun of winter, plus to benefit whatever north winds I might get here in south Tampa. It also now gets run off from the roof. Today I gave it its first ever hard cut back...took it from well over 6 feet in that large tree pot down to 3 feet, gave it a few gallons of my "nutrient soup", 2 handfuls of Epsom salts, followed by a few gallons of rain water. Once I plant maybe a dozen glad bulbs in there I'm adding about 6 inches of mulch. Fingers crossed it blooms, in part because I miss those lovely flowers, and because I'd love to use the pollen on both 'Seagull' and "Barfield White Climber". I stuck maybe 15 cuttings in a big cookie jug with a few inches of damp coarse builder's sand on the bottom. Here, as in Denver, it is quite red ONLY when very hungry...well fed it is more of a saturated magenta. I think it can still be ordered from High Country Roses in Denver

I've done something very similar for 20 years now though I DO add purchased microbes too, like those in Primal Defense tablets for people.....all 14 were derived from healthy soil. Did wonders for my Denver and Tampa clients' roses as a one time foliar spray to inoculate the bushes and soil beneath them.