The Garden 49: 488-489 (June 27, 1896)
PROGRESS IN THE HYBRIDISING OF ROSES.*
*A paper by the Rt. Hon. Lord Penzance in "The Rosarian's Year-Book," 1895.
I HAVE continued my labours every season up to this present one, 1895, in which, I am sorry to say, I was able to do very little. Next year, if I am alive, I fear that my doings will probably be still less. Not that my faith is shaken in the belief that new races of Roses may be brought into existence by crossing or hybridising the existing races, which will be valuable additions to our present possessions; but the pressure of advancing years is imperative. Unless I did the entire operation with my own hand the necessary interest in it would be lacking, and in my eightieth year the needful energy for this begins to fade. I have on former occasions recounted my experiences in some detail, and your readers will hardly thank me if I go into detail again.
With regard to what I have achieved, I think I shall have done much if I do no more than establish the one great fact that the different races or families of Roses, however apparently opposed to one another in wood and spine, in habit of growth, in foliage, in hardiness, and all other outward characteristics, are capable of uniting in the production of a common progeny — a progeny which is distinctly different from either parent, though generally bearing undoubted proofs of their origin in traces of both seed and pollen parent.
The successful results of my attempts to combine the sweet foliage and the hardy constitution of the Sweet Brier with the red and yellow tints of the Persian Yellow Brier and the Austrian Copper Brier, and not only so, but with the crimson tints of the Bourbons, the Hybrid Chinas, and even the Tea Roses, afford an excellent illustration of this truth.
|The Garden Magazine April 1920 31(2): 126
Second Crop Crabapples
L. A. Malkiel, N.Y.
|Three Crabapples bearing in my garden were last summer full of aphis on the tips of the tallest branches. I had sprayed them before but evidently did not reach the vital spot. As I was busy I decided to cut out those tips and I did not want them to grow too tall anyway! Imagine my surprise when in August I found a number of branches in blossom on one of the trees, right where they were pruned, and I had a second crop of crabapples, about one dozen in all, in November, I presume as a result of the late pruning.|
As I have mentioned the Hybrid Street Briers I will pause a moment to make known a fact which I only became aware of in this autumn of 1895. It occurred to me to have the hips of the Hybrid Sweet Briers cut off, and I only regret that it did not occur to me earlier in the season. They were already of a bright red colour, and formed very pretty objects, but I thought it would add to the strength and health of the plant to part with them. I certainly was not prepared for the result, for all the plants, with one or two exception, took to blooming freely a second time. During all August and September, and, indeed, until the arrival of the sharp frost in the latter part of October, I had three or four glasses of these blooms on my breakfast table every morning, perfuming the room with the very sweet scent of their flowers. From this experience I conclude that if the flowers are cut off as soon as they fade in summer, and the hips not allowed to form themselves, the autumnal flowering would be still more remarkable and abundant.
But it is time that I passed from my successes to the admission of what have been very like failures. I had directed my attention to the production of a Hybrid Perpetual of a new colour. Why not a yellow? And, indeed, why not a blue Rose? As the possible parent of a yellow Rose nothing presented itself so naturally as the yellow Brier — the Persian Yellow and the Harrisoni. I collected a quantity of the pollen of these Roses and operated on the blooms of several Hybrid Perpetuals, notably General Jacqueminot and Jean Cherpin. I obtained abundance of hips, and in due time plenty of seed, and again in due time some hundreds of plants. But excepting perhaps in two or three cases no sign is visible in their wood, foliage, or growth of the yellow Brier; no doubt the greater part of them have not yet flowered, but I confess my hopes of success with them are pretty well extinct. One plant, indeed, about three or four years ago, did give unmistakable signs of the Brier parentage, the foliage was almost identical with that of Harrisoni, and when the flower showed itself it presented a very pretty mixture of crimson and yellow. But it was very shapeless, and out of a dozen blooms there would perhaps be only one that in shape could be said to give any pleasure to the eye. Moreover, it proved itself to be very difficult to propagate by either bud or graft; it is even difficult to keep it alive, one branch after another dying down more quickly than they are reproduced. The plant seems, if I may use such an expression, to resent the attempt to unite such incongruous parents, and to make continual protest against its having been called into existence.
Then for the blue Rose I collected the pollen of a Hungarian Rose, Erinnerung an Brod by name. The tints of this Rose are more distinctly blue, in parts, and at times, than those of any Rose that I have met with.
I have had no difficulty in obtaining plants from the pollen of this Rose with several of the Hybrid Perpetuals, and have a number of them now. But none have yet bloomed; and I cannot trace, in the growth or foliage, any distinct evidence that the qualities of pollen parent are represented in the progeny.
On the other hand, I have a seedling Rose, obtained from a parent of the semperflorens race, which has bloomed and given me a flower which at times comes almost blue, but it is flimsy, loose in its petals, and greatly wanting in shape; it is the most continuous bloomer, however, throughout the autumn that I have ever seen. What its true colour may eventually turn out to be it is not easy to say, for it is wonderful how seedlings change from their first form and colour as time goes on.
Another experiment must be recorded which up to the present time has not met with success. The beautiful glossy foliage of the Rosa camelliaefolia [laevigata] is very inviting to the eye of the hybridiser, and if I could only transfer this foliage to some of our Hybrid Perpetuals, I should consider it a useful triumph. But I could not get the camelliaefolia to flower. From what I have read in the gardening publications I conclude that other people have met with the same difficulty. At last my opportunity came. The splendid sunny season of 1893 ripened the wood of my plant so thoroughly, that in 1894 it gave me twenty flowers. Two of these I treated with the pollen of other plants, but obtained no hips. The remaining eighteen I reserved for pollen, with which I fertilised the blooms of numerous Hybrid Perpetuals. I had a good crop of seed, and I have, perhaps, a hundred plants. In vain have I looked for a shiny leaf. Many of the seedlings have a foliage inclining that way, and certainly different from that of the seed parent, but none (unless as they grow up they put on a more glossy appearance) carry the true Camellia-like leaf which was the object of my quest.
In another experiment I have succeeded much better; I allude to the hybridising of the Rosa rugosa. Of these I have several plants, and a precocious one has already, in its second year, shown me a very handsome flower.
I reserve to the last an attempt upon which, if successful, I should set the highest value, but of which I cannot yet announce the result. I allude to a possible cross with the wild Dog Rose. There is no more graceful and beautiful picture presented to us in the Rose world than that formed by the running shoots of wild Dog Rose scrambling over the upper branches of a tall Thorn or Holly laden with their pretty pink flowers; and plants of this our native Rose with flowers perhaps improved, at any rate varied, in colour and form could not be otherwise than welcome. In the summer of last year (1894) I fertilised some hundred of blooms of the common Dog Rose (growing in the open air) with the pollen of some of our best Hybrid Perpetuals, and with that also of the yellow Brier, and sowed the seed last autumn. Some at least of this seed, according to all my previous experiences, should have vegetated and come up this year, but none of it has done so. It may very well be that they will come up this next spring of 1896. Many Rose seeds do take two years before they germinate, as the Sweet Brier seed constantly does. But the failure of the whole lot to give a single plant this year is ominous — dreadfully ominous. I only do not quite despair; I wish I had done the work under glass, and should have done so, but I was disappointed by not getting the needful plants in pots.
I do not call to mind any other experiments which would justify a specific account. I will only add generally that my work has produced a great number of very charming garden Roses, some of them of new and unusual colours. It has also called into existence many hybrid plants, in which the Musk Rose plays the part of parent, with its habit of blooming in clusters and the peculiar spicy scent of its flower, and others again in which the hardy Ayrshire Rose has contributed strength and a wandering habit, but no flowers as yet.
But I must not omit to say a word upon the results of hybridising in a second generation. I have for the last two or three years hybridised some of the Hybrid Sweet Briers with the pollen of the Hybrid Perpetuals. The result has been a number of plants, but hitherto no bloom; the age for their blooming has not arrived. Also as an experiment I sowed some of the seed of the Hybrid Sweet Briers obtained from their self-fertilised hips, and have many plants. Some of these plants have flowered, and the flower has gone back pretty nearly to the original Sweet Brier. I am very glad to see that the Rose Society shows signs of a wish to foster the work of hybridising the Rose by offering a silver medal to the writer of the best essay upon the subject. And I trust that before long many amateurs may be induced to take in hand this most interesting work, which I shall unwillingly have to resign before long.