Thursday, June 8, 2017

Experiments in Propagation, aka Operation Save a Rose

Stanwell Perpetual rose - delicious fragrance, tough as nails!

Roses - I love them, but they have to be tough buggers to survive in my yard. They don't get coddled or protected from Chicago winters and they'd better rebloom. This year, I have been seduced by a couple of David Austin English roses. I couldn't resist their fragrance and old garden rose blossoms. We shall see if they make it.

My favorite roses in the yard are the Stanwell Perpetuals. These are old garden roses dating back to 1838 where it was propagated in England. You can read up on a bit of history here. With about three sets of thorns, the bunnies don't eat them. I usually float the flowers in a bud vase, as they are very short stemmed. They are exceptionally fragrant, repeat bloomers and they are handling some shade. Well, they are struggling in too much shade, really, which is why I'm attempting my first rose propagation project. Stanwells are near impossible to find on the market in the U.S. and I got mine via mail order about 15 years ago.

Let's see if I can pull off propagation...

Evidently, rose propagation is relatively straightforward. I'm doing softwood cuttings, which means they are the branchlets that have bloomed already this year. Dipped in rooting hormone, kept in moist potting soil, and topped with a handy plastic bottle to keep humidity and heat high. Fingers crossed that in a few weeks, I have at least one viable start!

Four little Stanwells sitting in the south window. Grow, grow, grow!