The Magazine of Horticulture 25: 129-133 (Mar. 1859)
THE ROSE.—No. 7.
PROF. C. G. PAGE, M. D., WASHINGTON, D. C.

HYBRIDIZATION.—It is not an easy matter to hybridize the rose, especially where the female parent is a double or full flower, for the anthers to be removed not only lie scattered about under the petals, but many of them are often upon very short filaments, and buried deep within the cup or annular cavity at the top of the fruit receptacle, and are closely packed about the base of the numerous pistils. The flower cannot be considered as properly prepared for impregnation until every anther is removed, and though this may be a tedious task in many instances, it is nevertheless richly remunerative to the patient and skilful operator. It is not more than twenty years since the rapid production of fine varieties commenced in Europe, but notwithstanding the immense number issued in that time by the French and other rose growers, the development of decided distinctions has been gradual and rather slow. The whole progress has been great and rapid, but it is evident that too much has been left to chance or promiscuous seed sowing, trusting to accidental crossings by the winds and insects for the production of new varieties. Such crossings are comparatively rare. Selffecundation is the natural law of flowers, and it is deeply interesting to observe the various provisions of nature, in different kinds of flowers, for the maintenance of this law and the prevention of cross fertilization. Many flowers perfect their pollen and impregnate themselves before the corolla is fully open, thus precluding the possibility of what may be called natural or accidental crossing.

The principal mechanical agencies of nature in the fertilization of flowers are agitation and transportation of pollen by the winds and insects, and these, especially the latter, have as much or more to do with self than with cross fertilization. With diaecious plants the conveyance of pollen by the winds may produce numerous crosses, but with a monsecious or perfect flower the first effect of agitation is to throw the pollen upon its own organs and prevent crosses. The first touch of a bee, the first breath of wind, or the first disturbance from any source, will effect self-impregnation if the pollen be ready to fall. Nature's order is to preserve original species and types without degeneracy by self-fecundation, and where it occurs in one of those original species there appears to be an almost invariable reproduction of its own kind from the seed. As soon, however, as art introduces her innovations they must be maintained by persevering opposition to this natural tendency, or the result will be deterioration or reversion to original types. After the production of hybrids, or crosses, or new varieties by art, the general result of self-fecundation is a deterioration or reversion to original types. The same principle of action prevails in the economy of reproduction in the animal kingdom. In the vegetable kingdom we see striking instances of it in the raising of nursery stocks of apples, pears, plums, peaches, and our own favorite flower. The seeds of the wild brier, though produced in the midst of a rose garden filled with the floating pollen of new varieties, will nevertheless reproduce wild briers; while a thousand seeds of La Reine or Madam Laffay, grown in a similar situation, may not reproduce one La Reine nor one M. Laffay, and perhaps not one out of the thousand will produce a new variety more desirable than the parent.

In article No. 4 I alluded to the superior gratification of the amateur in watching a seed bed in case he had hybridized, over that to be derived from a bed of chance seedlings, where here and there the winds and insects may have accidentally produced a few crosses. Although most persons may be invited to the easier task of sowing seeds gathered at large from the rose garden, yet no one but an actual experimenter can appreciate the satisfaction and advantages accruing from systematic hybridizing, although it may be somewhat difficulty delicate and tedious. Most writers upon the rose prescribe for it the general rules for hybridizing gathered from other sources than actual experience, and if it be performed without reference to the peculiar necessities of the case, the results will be too uncertain to justify the undertaking. It is impossible to know what one is doing when performing the operation-out of doors. You must not only wait for a dry and calm day, at the risk of not having a flower in good condition at the right time, but while in the very act of emasculating the flower, some unseen and undesirable pollen floating in the air may alight upon the pistils and defeat all your intentions; or, if the flower be left unprotected, some unlucky insect may anticipate you in the office of impregnation. Again, as it may rarely happen that you may get the right pollen at the right time, we cannot expect to meet often with a juncture of all the circumstances necessary to complete success.

* The elasticity of woolen yarn is its special recommendation.

The following mode of proceeding I have practised for some years and with excellent results with the rose and other flowers. I may remark here that my professional engagements allow me but a brief time each day to devote to the garden, and from fifteen to twenty minutes in the morning is all that is required for the whole performance of the hybridizing experiment. The anthers having been removed from the flowers, the pollen-bearing flower is inverted and spread over it, and they are tied fast together by woolen* yarn, and in such position that when the pollen is ripe it will fall on the pistils below; and this will happen generally at about the right time for fecundation. The inverted flower acts as a cover and protection against insects and floating pollen. The flowers may be left in this state for a day or two, and they may then be separated. Every flower thus manipulated should have some label or mark attached to its stem, by which the impregnating flower should be known. This plan of operation may be adopted in doors or out, but the principal part of my own experiments have been made in the greenhouse.

After perseverance for six or seven years with the rose, I now realize the fruits of my labors, and although my operations are upon a diminutive scale, I may safely say that I have quite a number of seedling roses, in nearly all the ever-blooming divisions, that will compare favorably with the best productions of Europe, and can assure my amateur readers that their zeal and love for flowers cannot be enlisted in any pursuit so fascinating as that of propagating roses from seeds of flowers systematically hybridized. For practical details in the several departments of rose culture, I must refer to the works of Paul, Parsons, Buist, Rivers and others, the design of this series of articles being chiefly to supply a few hints upon points that have hitherto been overlooked, and to give a few of the results of individual experience.

Article 8 will be on New Varieties.

In our January number, in Prof. Page's article on the rose, No. 6, there is an important typographical error in the figures representing the incisions for budding, which was overlooked until too late for correction. The correct representation of the Rivers incision is thus, being a T crossed obliquely in one direction. The incision for the anchor budding is represented thus, being a T crossed obliquely in two directions. The flaps of bark on the sides of the vertical incision terminate above, according to the Rivers mode, with an acute angle on one side which is favorable, and an obtuse angle on the other side which is unfavorable, to the insertion of the bud. In the anchor budding, both flaps are acute above and both favorable. The more acute, the more they stand out from the stock, and the greater the facility for introducing the shield of the bud. [CybeRose note: I made the corrections to the previous article.]

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