Elbert S. Carman. N.J.
I AM replying to your welcome favour of the 16th ult.
ROSA RUGOSA. —No, I am not "quite sure" that my hybrid rugosas are as pretty as the white rugosa; but I do not carry my admiration of them so far as to place them before Georges Bruant. This with me does not show the full beauty of its foliage until the third year, when the leaflets are larger than those of white rugosa, though not quite so thick and glossy. The flowers are semi-double, more enduring than those of rugosa. The buds are larger and nearly the shape of those of Niphetos, the odour even sweeter than that of rugosa. It blooms just as freely—I was about to say more freely—than either the white or pink rugosa. From all I see in THE GARDEN and other English publications, I fancy that Georges Bruant is not as yet duly appreciated. It has stood in my grounds (unprotected) 8° below zero. I daresay you are aware that self seedlings of Rosa rugosa come nearly true. The only differences I know of are to be seen (1) in the colour of the flower, and this varies but little, and (2) the formation of fruits. Self seedlings are usually less fruitful than the parent, while some do not form hips at all. I have never raised a Rose from seed unless the seed was borne on either the white or pink rugosa. Six years ago (my first trial) I used the pollen of Harrison's Yellow. One of the seedlings of this lot, named Agnes Emily Carman, bears leaflets larger than those of rugosa —the largest, indeed, I have ever seen—while the rugose character of the leaf is well marked. The colour of the flower is just that of General Jacqueminot. It bears six or seven whorls of petals. This I have on its own roots and on Manetti. The leaflets of the latter are the larger. From the same lot of seedlings I have robust bushes with leaflets of the smallest size. One of these bears double yellow flowers with a reddish or copper-coloured centre. This is a mass of bloom in late May, but it does not bloom again. Of this class I have half a dozen others—I call them hedge Roses—all with tiny leaflets and bearing some white, some lilac, and others pink flowers, all more or less double. Many bear single flowers. The next year I used pollen of Hybrid Remontants. Many of these bear double flowers and bloom almost constantly; all show in a greater or less degree the rugosa leaves and stems. I have since used pollen from yellow Teas, hoping to get a yellow rugosa; but most of the seedling plants are feeble. Those of a vigorous habit that have bloomed bear small, ill-shapen flowers of various colours (white, rose, crimson) without value for any purpose whatever. Among the Hybrid Perpetual cross rugosa seedlings is one precisely like pink Rosa rugosa that trails upon the ground. It is now 15 feet in circumference and but 2 feet high in the middle. It does not, however, bear any hips. Altogether I have planted as many as 6000 hybrid seeds. I have raised from these not over 1000 seedlings. Of these about ten to fifteen may be worthy of introduction, and are now being propagated for that purpose by one of our large florists. It is an interesting fact that a large number of these seedlings from rugosa, whatever pollen was used, does not resemble rugosa in a way to suggest it as one of the parents.
ROSES ON THEIR OWN ROOTS.—Yes, many of our Rose growers are now propagating on their own roots. The Dingee Conard Co. raise all of their Roses in this way, while such firms as Ellwanger and Barry and The Storrs Harrison Co. raise the feebler growing Roses on Manetti.
CROSSING TOMATOES.—One of the most interesting pieces of work that I have ever engaged in is crossing Tomatoes. I began by using the Peach Tomato as the mother plant three years ago. The two fruits crossed did not mature. They were green and deformed when frost occurred. I did not suppose the seed would germinate. On the contrary, it germinated more freely than that of other varieties planted the same day, and the plants were marvels of thrift. These plants bore all sorts of Tomatoes, from the Fig, Pear and King Humbert, Trophy, Victor and Conqueror to the shapelier kinds of later years; but there was not a Peach Tomato to be found among them, nor one with the characteristic downy skin of the Peach. These crosses with the Peach were again crossed, using pollen of the popular varieties of last year, such as Ponderosa, Stone, Ignotum, Long Keeper, &c. I find now that the Peach blood asserts itself. Some of the shapeliest specimens borne by the two hundred cross-bred plants have downy skins. They are not yet beginning to ripen, but they promise to be of goodly size, almost round and as firm as other Tomatoes.
After a short, rainless season of excessive heat, we are now having daily showers. The thermometer reaches from 90° to 95° daily, and the death-rate in the city among the little ones and from sunstroke is appalling.
See: Carmen 1890