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A New Sport Star

In September of 1998, a different color sport was discovered on a plant of ‘Glowing Amber’ here in West Canada by a member of our local rose society. He had noticed the different color bloom only after it had been fully open for days. It was a pink/cream bi-color and he called it “Pinky.” He than contacted our local miniature nursery, Select Roses, with whom I work.

The nursery did not attempt to root any cuttings at that time because of unseasonably high temperatures of approximately 85F, so the nursery asked me to try to root the sport cutting, as I had rooted hundreds of miniatures, sometimes at extremely low or high temperature conditions.

Since I started hybridizing miniatures 10 years ago, I have done most of my own root cuttings. My method is “the primitive way” under my growing lights in the basement using a dishpan 10”x14” which holds 20 small 2-1/2” pots with a clear plastic sheet over the top.

I made two cuttings out of the sport stem I received, but the temperature inside the tent where I normally root my cuttings was 90F. Knowing that this was way too high and that I might loose the cuttings I set the dish pan directly on the concrete floor in the northeast corner of my basement and hooked up a light over it. I knew that the ideal temperature was 70F to 75F maximum, but it was still 80F inside the tent and my only solution was to put reusable icebags (Blue Ice) underneath my dish pan.

Finally, I managed to lower my temperature to 76F. Even then I lost more than half of the leaves on the cuttings but managed to get them both rooted. It took a total of 5 to 6 weeks before I had new growth and was able to transplant the cuttings into larger pots. This compares to normal conditions when the roots come through the pots drainholes in only 12 to 20 days. It was sure a relief after I managed to root both cuttings.

Now came the suspense of waiting for the first bloom to appear. It finally opened in early December. To the surprise of everyone it was not pink/cream but a beautiful amber/orange with a golden reverse. All other characteristics are identical to ‘Glowing Amber’.

From this stem I made two new cuttings which rooted very fast in about 15 to 20 days, just like ‘Glowing Amber’ does. In January 1999, I had more blooms and took five more cuttings. By the end of February, I was able to take 15 more and some of those were already cuttings from cuttings. During March, I took another 20 and in April I made a total of 90 more and things were going so well that in just seven weeks from the time I started the cuttings (now with bottom heat of 76F to 80F after they were rooted and transplanted into larger pots), I had the first blooms and was able to take 3 to 4 cuttings per stem, but with two sets of leaves only and did not pull off the bottom set of leaves.

During the month of May, I was making “cuttings from cuttings, from cuttings” already. My numbers were increasing so fast now that I managed to make 125 more plants in May.

I would like to mention here that by early March, I could have gone to the local mini nursery and done all my own root cuttings at their mist propagation system but as I was doing so well “the primitive way” and was getting 99 to 100% rooted I thought: “Why change my method now?”

By early June I had added another 100 plus new cuttings and it was high time to clear out my overflow conditions everywhere.

I was now able to send several dozen rooted plants plus 150 unrooted cuttings to the Mini-Rose Garden for their propagation to have 1000 plants minimum ready for their year 2000 USA introduction. At the same time (mid-June), I had also send 3 dozen plants to several US rose friends for testing.

Now at the end of August 1999, I have appr. 150 own root plants of the sport in my own yard. 63 of those are in 2-gallon pots already which gave me 260 bud eyes two weeks ago. Of those, 110 were sent to my agent in England and 150 were budded here in West Canada. About 60 are in 1-gallon pots and 30 in smaller ones. All those smaller pots are in full bloom right now and I could have started another 200-300 new cuttings if we needed them.

But now, eight-1/2 months after I started with the two cuttings in early Dec. 1998, we have now made a grand total of approximately 1150 new plants. About 900 of those are own-root made by myself and the Mini-Rose Garden. Theoretically, we could have increased our total number of own root plants to about 2500-3000 easily by the end of 1999.

I came to an agreement with the rose friend who discovered this sport that he has the Canadian rights and he named it after his granddaughter, ‘Brittany’s Glowing Star’, for Canada only.

But, I have the rights for all other countries and applied for the name, ‘Amber Star’(‘MANstar’). Later this year, plants of ‘Amber Star’ will be sent to Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Argentina and Uruguay, along with other varieties of mine.

The most interesting story of this sport of ‘Glowing Amber’ is its ancestry. This, I believe, should be of great interest to hybridizers and to rosarians who like to trace parentage of certain roses.

We will have to go back five generations to the hybrid tea ‘Piccadilly’ (McGredy 1960). ‘Glowing Amber’ has the same bi-color as ‘Piccadilly’, which in 1967 produced an orange/yellow sport, ‘Super Sun’, which I got from England in 1971 for hybridizing purposes. In 1974, one of my crosses of ’Mount Shasta’ x ’Super Sun’ produced a purple/cream hybrid tea which I registered as ‘MANpurple’.

There is a long, long story behind ‘MANpurple’ which spans 15 years of hybridizing efforts. (For details see the October 1997 American Rose, “Miniature Gems from George Mander”, by Robert B. Martin, Jr.). Finally in 1989, my first miniature crosses, ‘Rise’n’Shine’ x ‘MANpurple’, produced ‘Rubies’n’Pearls’, with the purple/cream bi-color I had been seeking. Then, in 1994/5, I produced ‘Glowing Amber’ with the cross of ‘June Laver’ x ‘Rubies’n’Pearls’.

And now, 31 years after the ‘Piccadilly’ sport, ‘Super Sun’, ‘Glowing Amber’ produced the sport ‘Amber Star’. It is a bicolor that is almost identical to the color of ‘Super Sun’. The only difference is that we now have a miniature and have come full circle.

In closing my story about the different sports, I will have to revise my original color description of ‘Amber Star’. It should be ,”opening amber-orange with base and reverse gold changing to salmon/yellow in hot and sunny weather and aging to pink/cream.”

Finally, my first test report of ‘Amber Star’ received from California reads as follows: “Based on what I’ve seen so far, I think it’s going to have a great future on the show table.”

George Mander
August 2001

( Reprinted from the Winter 1999 Rose Exhibitors Forum, page 13 )
( Robert B. Martin, Jr., Editor )


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