There are many interesting articles about Canadian rose breeders written by Paul Olsen.
Paul, had you mentioned that Mr. Wright left behind an autobiography? If you or anyone else knows about this, could you tell me what has happened to it?
Hugh Skinner had mentioned Mr. Wright had had a rose disease that damaged his breeding program.
Am I remembering this correctly?
Percy Wright’s autobiography was edited by Roger Vick, Curator of the Devonian Botanic Garden, about 10 years ago. However, he couldn’t find a publisher for it. Since then, Mr. Wright’s daughter, Ruth, has been working with somone else to self publish it in a limited quantity. I mentioned to her (I usually visit her at least once a year in Saskatoon) that I would like to see it before it gets published, since it’s likely I could add to it or correct errors (if any) regarding the roses he developed. However, I don’t know the present status of the book. But thanks for the reminder. I’ll follow up.
This gives me the opportunity to mention that Harry McGee, President of National Roses Canada, and myself are intending to write a book on the history and development of Canadian roses. Much of it is based on articles Harry and I have written on Canadian rose breeders for that organization’s newsletter. We have a publisher in mind for it. However, if it declines to publish it National Roses Canada will. By the way, we haven’t forgotten the contributions by Dr. N.E. Hansen and Dr. Griffith Buck to rose culture on the northern Great Plains. We’ll have sidebars about them.
May I give you and Harry several paragraphs on the short lived program at North Platte (I have copies of the papers that Glenn Viehmeyer left behind) as well as the now forgotten program in Cheyenne Wyoming that lasted decades?
Yes, I would like them. And thanks for the reminder of Glen Viehmeyer’s work. I do have the article he wrote on his rose breeding work published in an American Rose Annual. I’ll never forget a paper about the value of horticulture he presented at a Western Canadian Society for Horticulture annual meeting (in the 1960’s?) published in their Annual. It was so well done. He was so passionate about horticulture on the Great Plains. Sadly, he died much too young.
Could you possibly have a copy of that paper of Viehmeyers? Or a bit more about where it was published?
He left the ag station shortly after the burning of acres of roses because of Rose Rosette. We talked to his assistant when we visited North Platte and she still remembers vividly the day the roses were burned. One of his hybrids was still next to one of the ag buildings.
Did you know he later became a state senator?
I had seen pictures of him in one of the Nebraska state pubs and such a dour look on his face…
Three years ago we visited his daughter in law in Colorado and she has a wonderful smiling picture of him, should we ever need a photo.
In his papers there’s correspondence with other cold climate breeders, many of whom were working alone.