Sunday, January 29, 2012

Meeting Alain Meilland

Last week, at the Huntington Botanical Gardens, I had the unique opportunity to meet one of the foremost international leaders in roses - Alain Meilland, of the House of Meilland, where he was the featured guest for the Great Rosarians of the World event.  He is the 6th generation to lead this company, which is probably most famous for producing the hybrid tea rose known as 'Peace'.  It is perhaps the most recognized rose of all time and figures into the lineages of a great many of the modern roses on the market today.

He shared about the importance of family, friends, and roses in his life.  Due to his father's unexpected passing, Alain had to take the helm of the company at the early age of 18 years.

One of the more interesting things about their operation is that they built their greenhouses on tracks so that the surviving rose seedling plants could be exposed to the outdoor elements without having to transplant them.  Instead of moving the roses outdoors like I have to do, the greenhouses are "rolled" out of the way - pretty slick!

My rose hybridizing efforts are dwarfed by the tremendous work done in France by the House of Meilland.  Nevertheless, I still have hopes for producing something unique and worthwhile.  After all, this rose hybridizing hobby is not only about numbers, but it is a combination of having the sometime good fortune of doing the right cross at the right time.

It was a real pleasure meeting the man, Alain Meilland.  I hope to have the opportunity to one day meet him again in France.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 First Germinations

The germinations have begun!  The first 2 rose seedlings sprouted on January 21st, and many more are already popping.  This is the time of the year when anticipation begins to mount.  The first new never before seen blooms should be presenting themselves in about 8 weeks.  I am really looking forward to see what shows up in this batch!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ready for the 2012 Seedlings!

We seemed to start a bit late this year getting the greenhouse unloaded of the surviving 2011 seedlings.  The first seedling bench was unloaded on the day before Christmas, and the remaining 3 benches were finished on New Years Eve Day, and New Years Day 2012.  There were about 250 seedlings saved and potted up for further evaluation outdoors.  After the seedling benches had been cleared of any remaining roots and leaves, they were amended with additional potting soil and fertilizer which was blended into the old soil.  This was then flattened out and a top dressing of Sunshine Mix #5 and #3 were added (both of these mixes have a lower fertilizer content ideal for germinating seeds).  Seed planting started on 1/2/12.  With help from the whole family and a friend named Tembherman, we got the seedling benches planted in record time!  The last seeds were planted on January 6th and the next day, they were all tucked in with a layer of perlite on top.  The perlite helps to keep the surface dry, which reduces seedling losses due to fungal diseases.

And so, another seedling growing year begins.....

Click here to see the process from start to finish.

I can't wait to see what sprouts!