Gardener's Monthly and Horticulturist 21: 199-200 (July 1885)

A HYBRID BETWEEN THE ROSE GERANIUM AND THE PELARGONIUM
ERNEST WALKER

The difficulty experienced in obtaining seed of the Rose Geranium is well known—at least to me. In 1881 and previously I had tried a number of times to induce the flowers to form seed, by fertilizing them with their own pollen, in vain. At last I tried fertilizing the flowers with pollen from the ordinary Geranium and Pelargonium of florists with but little hope of success, from the difference in species. But to my surprise and pleasure after watching anxiously for the results, from thirty crosses I obtained two plump seeds; one from a cross Rose Geranium Zonale, Wonderful; the other from Rose Geranium Pelargonium, Lady Washington.

The seeds were carefully placed in the soil, and though slow germinating they at last unfolded their seed-leaves above the soil. Eagerly I watched the plumules unfold, and with pleasure I saw, as one after another of the leaves unwrapt itself, after the third and fourth attained their size, unmistakable evidence of their being affected by the cross, I say third and fourth because variations or peculiarities manifest in the first two leaves are not reliable or permanent.

Unfortunately the cross between the Rose and Zonale Geraniums, which appeared the more promising, was lost. Being of delicate constitution—as I observe seedlings effected by crossing frequently are at first—a little extra water that dripped into the pot from a leak in the sash one rainy day caused it to damp off.

I was more successful with the other, from increased care, and more vigor in the plant. After a few weeks it grew vigorously and the leaves still retained the indications of being a hybrid; they had the lobed and jagged leaves of the Rose Geranium and the crispness of the Pelargonium; but the leaves were distinct from either. I propagated several plants to guard against losing the stock. I waited almost impatiently for them to flower, but, after some time, it began to seem to me as if they were intending to consult their own pleasure in this matter.

I have waited three years. A few days since they came in bloom and most profusely. They prove to be genuine hybrids (cross between species). The flowers are midway in size between the flowers of the Rose Geranium and Pelargonium; they have the rose color that belongs to both parents but inclining to the silvery rose color of the Lady Washington Pelargonium, while all the petals are stained with the rich dark maroon that enriches the beauty of the petals of the Pelargonium. I hope to make it the basis of a class of larger-flowering Rose Geraniums. Thus—as is also suggested by Jean Sisley in his article, page 185 of June Gardeners' Monthly, 1884, in which he speaks of a new species in Caryophyllaceae arising from a cross between Dianthus plumaris and D. caryophyllus—the creation of new species as well as varieties is not altogether beyond the reach of human effort and perseverance.        New Albany, Ind.

p. 250 August 1885
Hybrid Between Rose Geranium And Pelargonium.—Mr. Ernest Walker, New Albany, Ind., writes: "In the manuscript of my article "A Hybrid Between the Rose Geranium and Pelargonium," page 199 July number Gardeners' Monthly, I indicated the cross—Rose Geranium X Zonale Wonderful, and Rose Geranium X Pelargonium Lady Washington, which it seems the printer did not understand, and for fear others may not understand the printer permit me to explain. I meant, Rose Geranium crossed by Zonale Wonderful, Rose Geranium crossed by Pelargonium Lady Washington."


CybeRose note: This rose geranium is either Pelargonium graveolens or P. capitatum.