Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A "Weekstime" of Rose Breeding Brilliance

Rose Breeders have to see a ten years into the future. Why? The answer is because from breeding to testing to propagating, that is how long it takes to bring a new rose to your garden.

They need to anticipate where the rose market is going long before it actually does go there. For example, who knew ten or fifteen years ago the demand in the United States was going to dramatically shift from long stem Hybrid Teas to disease resistant easy to grow shrub roses.

Tom Carruth knew.

Tom was talking about disease resistant shrub roses long before anyone realized they wanted one, and he was breeding them alongside the long stemmed Hybrid Teas that were the rage back then.

I am fortunate enough to have known Tom for close to fifteen years.  Even back then when I talked about growing roses organically or with little care, Tom never gave me one the strange looks I would get from other rose fanciers.

While I don’t even pretend to know much about rose breeding, I’ve always felt Tom thinks outside the box when it came to his work.  Roses like Scentimental, Hot Cocoa and Ebb Time show he also has a flair for stunning and unique blooms.

So next time you are in the Garden Center and you see a rose with the Week’s name on it, be aware it most likely began from the mind, hands and skill of Tom some ten years ago.  I'm sure even now Tom is peering into the future to see what kind of roses you will want ten years down the road.

A little about Tom

Tom Carruth has been breeding roses for a long time and since 1988 for Weeks Roses in California. Bringing us roses such as Cinco de Mayo, Strike it Rich, Julia Child, Wild Blue Yonder, About Face, Memorial Day, Betty Boop, Fourth of July, Home Run and to name just a few.

I asked Tom to name me his five favorite roses he bred. Here they are (with his notes) and he did say to mention this list may change tomorrow!  

(Photos from the Weeks' Website)

FOURTH OF JULY - very novel, one of few climbers with good performance over the broad spectrum of US climates.

JULIA CHILD - looks the sames everywhere it goes, my only seedling to be accepted and introduced into every country it's gone into

HOME RUN - takes the better qualities of its father, Knock Out, and steps up the game with a better red color, tidier habit and adds powdery mildew resistance to the list

EBB TIDE - a color breakthrough in the purples.

CINCO DE MAYO - takes floriferousness to the next level, almost looking azalea-like in the landscape

1 comment:

  1. Ebb Tide makes a good show at the Portland International Rose Test Garden. Many a friend I have taken there has been impressed with its novel color.