Proc. and Bull. American Rose Society (1914) pp. 79-82
Extract from a Letter Commenting Upon a Recently Published Rose Book
Brooks. Oregon

Speaking of hybridizing, it is far better to say nothing than to say absolutely wrong and misleading things. All authorities agree on this that Rose seed, if not taken down as soon as the first tinges of yellow or ripeness are noticed on the seed-hip, it may go over a year before the seed germinates. With the exception of Polyantha all take from four to six months before they germinate. Bottom heat in a hotbed is surely the wrong place to put the seeds. Rose seedlings have a strong tendency to dampen off, often caused by over growth. Forcing Rose seed is very ill in places.

To take a weak pot plant and expect a strong offspring from it, is surely a mistake. The best method is outdoor. I refer you to my pictures that I send you. They tell their own story.

To get a good result, strong, healthy, outdoor budded plants must be selected, maiden blooms of the best size, shape, substance and color. But this is not all; we are deploring diseases, weak growth, etc. In most instances these calamities came by inbreeding. From a new Rose we have a fair right to expect better constitution, better shape, better foliage, better color, better substance that it may supersede an inferior older variety. This is only possible by careful selection of the pedigree. Even the behavior of the ancestors must be carefully taken into consideration, and inbreeding must be carefully avoided. For this very reason I must know the pedigree of any Rose before I can begin to hybridize. I must know the chemical nature of plant life, what the chlorophyl means for the plant, and the vegetable pigment in the flower petal, if I want to gain a certain result. I must understand nature's working in going into a sexual union between two plants, one being staminate, and the other pistillate. To make it as plain as possible according to the laws of heredity in plant life, one-third of seedling follows the pollen parent, one-third the seed, or pistillate parent, and one third may break the type, that is go new ways, and constitute new plant life, either better or worse. Careful selection knowing the whole scale of colors, etc., must help in selecting properly. Equally well the pollen and seed parent are struggling together for the mastery to predominate in perpetuating their kinds. And it depends on the hybridizer to know this beforehand, according to what he has in view, which Rose may predominate. On this depends color, and as a rule wild species are all stronger than pedigreed Roses, and for this reason their seedlings are usually single in the first generation, and only from their seedlings in the second trial some result may be expected.

These are laws of nature, and nature cannot be overpowered by writing a book contrary to them. Taking carefully into account I studied last Summer every evening the pedigree of Roses that I may have to hybridize the next day. In the evening I cut the anthers into uniform sized small medicine boxes, and labeled them. The next day the pollen was ripe, and by shaking gathered on the walls of the box. To prevent bees from destroying my work I tied small candy bags over the prepared Rose. Early in the morning from daylight on, is also a good time for preparing Roses. In the highest Rose time I had often more than 200 boxes in a day. The fact is I made over 1500 different combinations, in every one trying to avoid inbreeding and combinations made already.

By going at real pollenizing I got still more pollen, as it did not cut Roses, and try to shake the pollen on another. I took a camel's hair brush dipped into the pollen I wanted or selected and brushed it on the stigmas. With a microscope I examined first if the stigmas were ready to take pollen, or rather glistening and swollen somewhat, being vigorous. Care is needed to remove the anthers in time enough before any one burst and not too unripe either.

Again a candy bag is tied over the treated bud, and then left for a month. At this time I examined them and if they looked ready I labeled them, first seed-plant and then pollen parent; for instance, I hybridized the Lyon with J. B. Clark this way. The Lyon x J. B. Clark. At the end of the season for hybridizing, beginning of August, 1914, it showed that good 25 per cent. of treated Roses had taken the pollen and good growing seed-hips, over 2000 of them, I think 2145.

Father Schöener in the Sacred Garden, Old mission, Santa Barbara, California

Schoener Bibliography