American Rose Annual 45:15-18 (1960)
Breeding Miniatures in San Remo
Quinto Mansuino

San Remo, Italy

When I read the very interesting contribution in the 1957 Rose Annual "I Breed Miniatures" by Ralph S. Moore, I had a feeling of pleasant surprise from the analogy I perceived between Mr. Moore's research work and mine: a work we both undertook twenty years ago for the origination of a new strain of roses.

The first attempt was made using Tom Thumb as seed parent and a seedling of mine (R. centifolia x unnamed HT) as pollen parent; the cross gave seedlings of intermediate characters.

I had more interesting results from the cross R. chinensis minima (Tom Thumb var.) x R. banksiae lutescens and its reciprocal. The series of hybrids obtained varies from the dwarf ones of about eight inches to the big climbing ones; some thornless, all having good ornamental foliage. The blooms are white, in corymb, long lasting and very decorative.

A climbing plant which seemed to have no everblooming habit has now improved giving a profusion of sweetly scented double flowers which, from December till July, form a candid cascade. During the August-November period the luxuriant glossy foliage compensate for the lack of flowers.

By working again with the R. centifolia I obtain Miniature varieties which, like the old May rose, have a tendency to propagate by root-shoot and can therefore be easily multiplicated by cuttings, maintaining their original height of 4-6 inches. Some hybrids of wonderful color which I obtained from crosses between the Hybrid Teas and the R. foetida and foetida bicolor are also successfully combined with my Miniatures. I have the best results regarding the flower shape and the cut qualities using the true Teas and Hybrid Teas of the Ophelia offspring. All this work of inter-specie crosses was always made with a clear view of the final result—new types of miniature and middle-sized roses having these characteristics: vigorous everblooming plants performing well outdoors and under glass. Their stems shall be in harmonious relation with the bloom they support singly. The flowers, 1-2 inches when open, must have good shape, long lasting qualities, in a great color range, ideal for cutting and forcing. With this goal in mind, inspired by every step in the right direction, I augmented the crosses little by little in order to get a valuable number of seeds. Product of about 18,000 crosses was last October's sowing of 120,000 seeds of which 80,000 were for these characteristics. Growing seedlings in a large scale is the way to materialize the dreams of the long years of work, during which so many genetic and cultivation difficulties have been solved and tens of thousands of crosses carried out. The mild Riviera climate allows outdoor sowing; only three or four times during the past twenty years was the use of straw shelters necessary. The seedlings don't need transplanting and develop where they have been sown. The range of multicolored varieties I see now in the borders represent the blending of characters chiefly new because they came from botanic species. These types, living evidence that the goal I had in mind was well worth the trouble, are above all an enticement to the future ameliorations for the joy of all who love the roses.

I think these experiences of mine can be shared beyond the Atlantic by my work-fellows whom, in spite of the material distance, I have been brought near by common thoughts and realizations.

From the open-pollinated seeds (F2) of this plant I have the first truly everblooming Banksiae hybrid: a highly fertile botanic specimen on which slightly rose-colored blooms unceasingly appear. By crossing the seedling (R. banksiae lutescens x Tom Thumb) with the old Noisette Lamarque I have lately obtained a Banksiae type bearing beautiful deep rose colored flowers. Its open-pollinated seeds gave last year some Miniatures producing in profusion flowers of charming colors.

October seed beds

Mansuino's Purezza

See also: Rosa banksiae Biblio