Gardeners' Chronicle of America, 19(5): 226 (May 1915)

John Cook, Maryland.

*Paper read before Women's Nat'l Agric. & Hort. Conf. (See page 243.)

I will not go back to the history of the rose, as that will take too long. The magnitude of rose growing as compared to twenty-five or thirty years ago is surprising. All the Tea Roses at that time were lacking in color. Therefore, we used some of the hybrid perpetual roses as pollen bearers (they being richer in color). Through this operation we succeeded in getting deeper colors—reds and deep pinks.

Hybridizing is the art of bringing together individual flowers or plants of different species. Cross breeding effects similar results with individuals of the same species.

Growing rose seedlings is a very slow business. It takes five months to ripen the seed pod, a month to rot the hip and from five to twelve months for the seed to come up. These seedlings are very much subject to mildew, and some die in their infancy. Fifty per cent. of the seeds will not germinate, twenty-five per cent. will come single, and out of the remaining you might obtain two or three varieties worth growing.

By crossing them we call them Hybrid Teas.

In 1888 I raised the first hybrid tea seedling raised in the United States. It was a cross between Bon Selene and Louis Van Houte, which was in great demand for a number of years. (This was a red rose.) I named it "Souvenir of Wooten," after the country seat of George W. Childs, in Philadelphia, where he entertained the Society of American Florists so handsomely.

My next seedling was a beautiful pink rose, which I named "Mrs. Robert Garrett." This rose had a weak stem and was discarded for a commercial rose, but it is good for outdoors and can be found in the catalogues of Europe and this country. "Enchantress" was another shell pink rose grown to some extent under glass.

Then came Marion Dingee, a red bedding rose. (The entire stock of this rose was sold to Dingee and Conard, who named it after their daughter.)

Then came Cardinal, a beautiful red rose, crossed with Liberty, and an unnamed seedling. This rose proved one of the best hardy roses.

In 1908 I introduced Radiance, a rose pink with a silver lining to the petals. This is a seedling from Cardinal crossed with an unnamed pink seedling. This rose received a silver medal at the Hartford Test Gardens, and this, in my opinion, is the very best of all the Hybrid Tea Roses for out of doors. The demand for this rose is increasing every year. At the same time I introduced my Maryland, a salmon pink rose. This is one of the best commercial roses, as well as a hardy outdoor rose, a very profuse bloomer.

In 1914 I introduced Panama, a delicate tinted rose, with large petals, a very profuse bloomer, one of the best bedding roses. This also received a silver medal at the Hartford trial grounds in competition with French, English and American roses.

The last rose I sent out in 1914 is a beautiful red rose which I named ''Francis Scott Key," after the author of the Star Spangled Banner, a seedling from Cardinal and an unnamed red seedling. This is the best built rose in cultivation. It has sixty petals.

I have raised thousands of seedlings, but the most of them were wanting, either in the production of flowers or hardiness. They were all given a trial out of doors, and most of them were killed by hard winters and therefore I did not propagate them to send out.

To have fine roses in the open ground it takes well rotted cow manure. It is the very best of all manures for roses. Dig the soil out about twenty inches deep, get some well rooted sod and mix it with one-quarter well rotted manure. This will give splendid results in the size as well as profusion of bloomers. Give them a top dressing of fine bone in July. This will carry them through the season.

There is something new and interesting to learn about rose growing every day. The care required is constant, and the old adage "Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Success" is perhaps more true of rose culture than of any other branch of the grower's art.

Cook: Rose Breeding (1905)

Cook: Rose Breeding (1906)

Cook: Rose Breeding (1907)