“GROWING ROSES” was the subject of our June Meeting.
Mrs Heather Horner told members how her late husband’s hobby had encouraged her to start breeding roses and how their son, Calvin, was continuing this family tradition. Patience and good record keeping is vital, as it takes many years, with many failures and rejects along the way, before a “home bred” rose becomes available for sale. When deciding which roses to cross-breed the characteristics of the chosen ‘parents’ are taken into consideration – height, vigour, colour, scent etc.
Members were then given a demonstration on how the cross-pollination operation is undertaken. Clear labelling at this point is essential. Once the hip is ripe, the seeds are planted into deep trays and left to grow on for at least a season. It is at this point that selection process starts – a tray of over 50 young flowering plants could have several or none chosen to be grafted onto root stock.
A very stead hand and good eyesight is required when grafting – members watched a small “T” shaped cut being made in the steam of the root stock and sliver of seedling rose slid into this slot and held in place with a “rose plaster” which has a pin to ensure the grafted wood does not slip. This plant is then left to “grow on” again and the following year the rootstock is cut just above the graft. It may be another couple of seasons before, once again, the grafted plant is either selected or rejected. Field trials are undertaken and then a commercial rose grower then takes over and will start to ‘mass breed’ this particular rose for sale to the public.
A lively Q&A session followed.