The Florist and Pomologist 3rd series 2: 243-245 (Nov 1869)
William Paul, Waltham Cross.

* Extracted from a paper on the Improvement of Plants, road before the Royal Horticultural Society at the Manchester Congress, July, 1869.

MY first attempt at crossing the Rose was made in 1843. I crossed three flowers of the Tea-Scented Rose known as Goubault with the Bourbon Rose Souchet, with the view of obtaining a dark-coloured Tea-Scented Rose. Let me call these flowers C, D, and E. C produced a very large pod, which ripened perfectly, and gave 10 large seeds. D produced a medium-sized pod, with 9 seeds of very unequal size, one being very large, four large, and four small. E produced a small pod, which contained 13 small seeds. Of these 32 seeds four only germinated! Three of the plants were curious cross-breeds, of no floral value, and having little in common with either parent; and one, in leaf, habit, and flower was very similar to the wild Dog Rose! I was here, no doubt, unfortunate in the choice of my parent or parents, and regard this issue as an instance of the well-known tendency which the offspring of some cultivated plants have of reverting to the normal form. The same year I crossed about 40 other flowers, but the crop of seed was indifferent, and the result nothing worthy of record.

This non-success led me to submit to microscopical examination the flowers of a number of varieties of the Rose, with the view of ascertaining which were likely to prove the best seed-bearers. The result of that examination is given in the Rose Garden (2nd ed., pp. 96, 97). The conclusions I drew were:—1st. That certain varieties are sterile, incapable of forming perfect seeds under any circumstances. Of these I found such kinds predominate as roll the petals inwards, the centre of the flower being quartered in the manner of a crown. In others the pistils were weak or imperfect. 2nd. That many kinds where the pistils are perfect, which in their natural state form seed-pods that wither before arriving at maturity, may be induced to perfect their seeds by artificial fertilization. This class of Roses is the best for him who intends raising seedlings to choose his female parents from, because there is little here to interfere with, mar, or counteract his plans. 3rd. That those kinds which we find seeding abundantly in their natural state are self-fertilized, and that their abundant production of seed is due to this point, namely, the more perfect development of the organs of reproduction, especially the polleniferous parts of fructification.

Thus fortified, I selected some 20 sorts of Roses, planted them in a separate corner of the nursery, and in the month of June, 1846, crossed nearly a thousand flowers. Success in seeding was complete. On the 30th of September of that year I gathered 223 well-ripened pods of seeds, some of them of extraordinary size. Two successive gatherings, of about 100 pods each, were made at intervals of about a month, the whole number of hybridized and crossed pods gathered and stored amounting to 444. The seed was sown the same winter, vegetated during the succeeding spring and summer, and the seedlings bloomed at intervals over the next six years—that is to say, some bloomed the first year, others were six years old before blooming. The result of the hybridizing and cross-breeding was apparent in many cases, but not in all. Two of the most striking and complete I will describe.

I had long thought that a bright dark-coloured climbing Rose was a desideratum, as at that time nearly all our climbing Roses were white or yellow. To obtain this I hybridized the Rose Athelin (Hybrid Bourbon) with Russelliana (Multiflora). Paul's Vivid, a bright crimson climbing Rose, of great repute in its day, and even now sought after, was raised from this effort. Again, I had conceived that if anything could add to the beauty of the Moss Rose, it would be to impart to it the exquisite tint of the R. Alba or Maiden's Blush. To obtain this, I hybridized the Moss du Luxembourg with an Alba Rose, and among the offspring was a Moss Rose, with flowers like the Maiden's Blush, and which was afterwards named Princess Alice.

A few years later I raised from one and the same sowing of English Rose-seed, the Roses Beauty of Waltham, Lord Clyde, Red Rover, Globosa, Princess of Wales, Dr. Lindley, and, I believe, Duke of Edinburgh. Unfortunately in these cases the parentage of the offspring was not preserved.