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!