Pollen applying techniques

The snow finally melted, and the first crocuses are blooming – so of course I am thinking about the rose hybrid I will be able to make in a couple months. The question comes up – what about pollinating techniques? Specifically, I seem to remember reading once that too much pollen could be a problem, and that light applications are better than heavy ones. Any comments? I’ve always put it on as thick as ever I could.

And what about mixing pollen? I have a taste for trying to make very wide crosses (as you might guess from my rubus x rosa attempts). Would mixed pollen make those a little more possible? I hesitate extremely to try it because then if the cross did take you wouldn’t know if it was the cross you wanted or not.

What about dipping pistils in sugar water?

Finally, do you cover your crosses? I always figure with the petals gone no bee would be interested any way and I haven’t found a practical cover – paper gets ruined in the first rain, and plastic – besides not being beathable and thus seeming not very healthy – always seems to manage to fill with water when it rains.