Roses for the Prairie States
J. L. Budd
West of Lake Michigan, and north of the 42d parallel, the fine Roses grown in the open air in the eastern and southern states can be grown only by systematic pruning and winter covering. Of well-known old varieties hardy enough to winter without protection, the list is short. Madame Plantier, White Harison, and Rosa rugosa with some of its hybrids, are hardy between the 40th and 44th parallel, and still farther north the East European R. rugosa and such of its hybrids as Snowlight, Empress of the North and Rosa majalis fl. pl., are grown successfully. Figs. 2181 and 2182 show forms of Rosa rugosa; also Figs. 2162-64.
Of the newer hybrids of R. rugosa now quite widely tested, the most desirable are I.A.C. (Fig. 2183), Ames, Madame Georges Bruant (Fig. 2184), Madame Charles Frederick Worth, and Thusnelda. Kaiserin (Fig. 2185) is also to be commended. It is suggestive that these have come from crossed seeds of what is known in Europe as Rosa rugosa, var. Regeliana (p. 1556), and which we know as the Russian Rosa rugosa. The first two named came from seeds of Rosa Regeliana introduced by the writer in 1883 crossed with pollen of General Jacqueminot, and the last three were developed from seeds of R. Regeliana in Germany as stated by L. Spath, of Rixdorf near Berlin. They are all fine double Roses of the class shown in Fig. 2183, of the two produced at Ames, and all have retained to a large extent the foliage and habit of blooming of R. rugosa. The Russian R. rugosa as introduced from Russia by the writer is divided into two very distinct classes. The one from the Amur valley in North Central Asia is a very strong, upright grower with lighter colored bark, stronger thorns, thicker and more rugose leaves, and larger flowers than the Japan type, but its hips are smaller. The one from Russia in Europe is spreading and pendant in habit. When 4 ft. in height it has a spread of top of fully 6 ft. Its leaves also have a darker shade of green than the Japanese type, and its buds are longer, more pointed, and show between the narrow folded petals shades of rich red and crimson. Its clusters of flowers also differ, as it has four to five flower-buds together, while the Japanese type has only two to three. In addition, we now know by trial that both these Russian types may be grown successfully two degrees farther north than the Japanese R. rugosa.
The work of crossing the Russian R. rugosa began at the Iowa Agricultural College in June, 1892. The pollen of over a dozen of the best garden varieties was used, but that of General Jacqueminot was used most extensively, as it produces pollen most freely. The final result was quite unexpected, as no double variety with rugose leaves was produced when the pollen of any variety was used except that of General Jacqueminot. From 497 flowers of R. rugosa fertilized with pollen from General Jacqueminot, we grew 255 plants. From these we were able to select over 20 varieties with double flowers ranging in number of petals from 15 to 150, with handsome rugosa foliage and surprising vigor of growth. Nearly all showed the crimson color of petals of the male parent.
At the same time we pollinated the blossoms of our native species Rosa blanda and Rosa Arkansana with pollen of General Jacqueminot and other Hybrid Perpetuals, but wholly without valuable results, as the crosses seemed too violent. Most of the hybrids showed modified foliage and habit of growth, but all except three bore single flowers. The three double varieties developed blossom-buds freely, but in no cases have the blossoms expanded into perfect flowers. When apparently ready to expand they began to turn black in the center and drop off. It is also well to state that the pollen of White and Yellow Harison used on Rosa rugosa, var. Regeliana, developed remarkably vigorous hybrids which gave clusters of promising buds, but up to the present not a single flower-bud has fully expanded. The late E. S. Carman, however, reported better results with this cross of Harison's Yellow and rugosa (A. G. 1890, p. 665), and a picture of one of his hybrids is shown in Fig. 2186. As in Europe, our marked success has been with the pollen of General Jacqueminot, which seems to show a near affinity to all the types of R. rugosa.
With increased experience other cultivated varieties will be discovered that will cross in a profitable way with R. rugosa, and still others will be found that will cross profitably with our native species. At present, however, the east European R. rugosa seems to be the most promising progenitor of the future Roses of the Northwest. We already have fine double varieties with 60 petals, such as the I.A.C., with the rich color of General Jacqueminot and the fine leaves of R. rugosa. The main trouble at present is in propagation. As with the type, the best hybrids of R. rugosa are difficult to grow from cuttings. We find that they can be budded readily on strong seedlings of our native species.
It may be in the near future that the seeds of the large-growing Wild Roses of the Black Hills will be used by propagators for stock-growing. When that time comes we already have varieties hardy enough for the North that compare favorably with the best varieties of more equable climates. Strong-growing stocks are advised, as the vigor of some of the hybrids is remarkable. On the writer's lawn is a bush of the Ames variety three years old that stands 7 ft. high, with several stems three-fourths of an inch in diameter.
|Fig. 2181. Rosa rugosa||Fig. 2182. Russian form of Rosa rugosa||Fig. 2183. The I.A.C. Rose. One of the best hybrids of Rosa rugosa for the prairie states.
(I.A.C. = Iowa Agricultural College.)
|Fig. 2184. Full-blown flower of Madame Georges Bruant Rose.||Fig. 2185. Rosa rugosa, var. Kaiserin
[Probably Kaiserin des Nordens]
|Fig. 2186. A Rugosa hybrid—Harison's Yellow x R. rugosa|
See also, Budd 1897