We’ve often been asked what sits behind the development of our roses, so we will be publishing this new blog series titled Diary of a Rose Breeder each month to give our customers an insight in to what it takes to produce high quality, original roses to bring to market. Find out about all the things we need to do each month at our Harkness nursery.
In February we start sowing this years seeds. Prior to sowing the seeds are soaked and then sown into rows half a centimetre deep. They are in our glass houses and all we do then is wait for germination. This may happen anytime from February to April depending on the weather. The seeds will stay in this environment until September. In this batch we have sown almost 50,000 seeds. Many people don’t know that from these 50,000 seeds we may eventually get around 10/15 brand new unique roses that are healthy enough and the absolute best to take to market.
The next job for our rose breeder in February is to take all the seedlings that were sown in 2022 and pot them up to lay out in container beds. This is where we test the roses outside in the natural environment. We see how they perform through all seasons without aid to ensure healthy roses. From this batch we will choose only the most durable roses to move on to the next stage.
The next part of the rose breeding cycle goes back to the beginning. We prune and feed our ‘mother plants’ to get them ready for coming into flower in May. We will be choosing the best ‘mother plant’ to use.
Another key part of being a rose breeder at this time of year is admin! This is when we sit down and plan the breeding programme ie which ‘fathers’ and ‘mothers’ to use looking at factors such as good plant health, strong perfume and factoring in what has worked before.
At this stage we also need to consider what customers will want in 5-8 years time to ensure we are providing the best options. Planning for the Chelsea Flower Show is well underway too now as are the new rose launches for this year.
Check back next month to see the jobs we need to do in March.