Rose Information

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Performing Rose Weddings

During my 32 years of hybridizing, I have never read nor heard the expression “Performing a Rose Wedding” even though in my early years I had read all the articles on rose breeding that I could find. When I asked rosarians in Canada and the U.S.A., “Do you know what a rose wedding is?” most of them replied, “Is it a new rose variety?” No, I said, this is an expression for hybridizing I have just run across in a very old rose book, ‘The Rose Manual’, written in 1930 by J. H. Nicholas, a well known amateur hybridizer of the time.

I had inherited this book from a local hybridizer friend in the mid-eighties but my job with a pump company left me with very little spare time for reading or hybridizing and I never even opened the book. Finally, in May of 1992 I was able to take early retirement and I had all the spare time in the world. In 1993 I was able to do more reading, opened my 63 year old rose book and managed to perform a record number of approximately 1000 “rose weddings.” During my working years I had never averaged more than 100-200 crosses annually.

Now, having a record number of seedlings, I soon learned that all the knowledge in the world does not help if nature does not cooperate; it only explains one’s failures. As I have mentioned in another article, hybridizing is 99% luck and only one percent planning!

George Mander
June 2001

(first published in the Rose Hybridizers Association newsletter in winter 1995)