The ARS Convention in San Jose was a great success. One of the highlights for me was Roger Phillips’ talk ‘Species Roses and Beyond’ in which he showed slides of his trip to China in search of rose species and the original stud Teas and Chinas. Another highlight was the garden tour, which included four of the best private rose gardens I’ve ever seen. And, of course, the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden was fabulous, as it usually is this time of year.
I didn’t count, but I think that there were 15-20 people at the RHA meeting. Most of the time was spent discussing the new advanced hybridizer’s handbook, written by a variety of RHA members and put together by Larry Peterson. The rough draft looked great - a lot of useful and interesting information.
Ralph Moore spoke briefly at the RHA meeting on a technique that he calls fanning. He uses it to see what traits a rose is capable of passing to its progeny. Basically, it involves crossing that rose with a variety of others, and looking at all of the seedlings to what traits they got from the rose in question. I also got a chance to speak with him briefly on a couple of other occasions. What a wise and gentle man he is!
I talked with Sean McCann over a glass of wine one evening. He is an Irish hybridizer who has registered about 50 roses, mostly minis, in the last 20 years. He told me that he thinks that hybridizers should breed for beauty. He said that there is no such thing as a healthy rose (any rose will be unhealthy in the wrong place or the wrong conditions), and advised me that rather than trying to breed for health, I should educate people to spray (he didn’t convince me). He also told me something that Jerry Twomey said about the Watsonville area (where I live). Jerry had his test roses here for many years and told Sean that if a rose was healthy in Watsonville, it would be healthy anywhere.
One of the speakers at the session on new introductions said that Mitchie Moe’s yellow mini, I think the name was “Mitchie’s Gold”, will be on the market soon. (Mitchie, please give us the details, and correct any mistakes!)