A Visit to Kim's Laboratory

Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)August 2, 2014

I had to drive to LAX 10 days or so ago at the height of the rush hour. Rather than spend hours enjoying the LA traffic at a snails pace, I arranged a trip to stop and see just how Kim does his magic hybridizing roses. I have read the tutorials, watched the videos and it just seemed like I was missing something. I even brought my camera so I could take pictures of just what was not making sense.

Only, when he showed how did gathered the pollen, dried it and then collected it....wow that was easy! And same with applying the pollen. So sorry, no photos they just were not needed. He also showed how he collected the seeds, something I tried and failed at last year, probably because I was making it harder than it needed to be. I am looking forward to setting up a seed table and trying it for myself. It is amazing to see the difference in the various seedlings from the same cross and just how fast they can grow.

I hope he has a photo of the one bush that looks like it is decorated for Christmas with all the tags with all the crosses. It really was very interesting to see.

I am also amazed at just what it considered soil on his hillside (no fault of his own of course just the natural land there). It will remind me to never complain again about my slope, soil or sun...or at least I will try not too. He has some very tough conditions to deal with, dry crumbling "dirt" that bakes in the sun and looks like water drains right through it. It was too hot this time of the plants to bloom for the most part and even if they had they would have to be made of plastic to hold up a day or two. I will be happy with my gentle slope and sandy silty clay and bet he would have many more interesting mixes if his garden allowed.

I now have a couple of boxes full of cuttings that will hopefully take, most are root stocks so here it to hoping that they root.

Thank you for the tour and tutorial!

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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

Wow- boxes full of cuttings? How cool is that? I hope they all- or at least most- of them take for you. And how nice to get the in-person tutorial. No, I'm not envious, really- I'm usually this shade of green...

I'm keeping an eye on some rose hips in my gardening universe, but I'm already a bit swamped with all the many camellias I planted from seed last year. Somehow, I wasn't expecting so many of them to actually grow...

But I don't think I'll be able to resist trying to plant just a few rose seeds if I can figure out how. (Like you, I'll probably also make things more difficult than necessary).

Good luck with your cuttings,

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 9:32PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Virginia, if all those cuttings take...people will be running when they see me coming with a pot and suggesting this would be really good to grow....lol I actually do hope they take so that I can grow them out to a good size and share. I am just trying to decide a couple of good places to put two sets.

Seriously, the seed collection I made MUCH harder than it was, so I am now eyeing the self set hips for practice seeds.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 11:27AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Lucky you! It must have been a wonderful visit! I'd love to see how he does it all too. Do share any and all pictures you have. We want to see it!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 1:02PM
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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

Kippy, if I saw you with those rooted cuttings, I'd be running, too- but definitely not running AWAY!

If you do have some photos, and it's not too much trouble to post them, I know we'd all like to see a few of them.

Can you briefly describe what the easy way of collecting seed is? Enquiring minds want to know...


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:55PM
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You can get a rosarian based description of Kim and a list of his roses at the link below.

Then you can see pictures of them at Help-Me-Find.

Here is a link that might be useful: link for above

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 4:09PM
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Thanks, Kippy! Your visit was a hoot! I thoroughly enjoyed you, and myself. The box of "maters", squash, Passion Fruit, et al. was down right wonderful and as gracious as you can get. Thank you!

There are many ways to accomplish everything concerning roses. You can make it as 'scientific' or as 'low tech' as you wish. Both methods will work. Me? I LOVE 'low tech'. I don't want to 'work' at any of it. I want to ENJOY it. So, my unscientific procedure for collecting and spreading pollen is here on my blog, linked below.

After roughly three months, or when the stems of the hips begin discoloring indicating they are about ready to fall, or the hips are changing color, indicating they're ripe or ripening, I collect them. I try to use the time method mostly so I can beat the squirrels and rats to them. I collect them with the stem and tag attached. Then, I just do this.

Each cross is bagged separately. I will dig out the bag containing the particular cross when I collect another hip of the same cross to add the seeds so they are all in the same bag. That way, I can plant them all together. Just a bit of my anal retentiveness..

I keep the quart size bag full of the smaller bagged crosses in the refrigerator to delay germination until the weather is appropriate for planting. Here, that has traditionally been around Thanksgiving. Until then, it's too hot, dry, too brilliant sun, to successfully raise rose seedlings.

There are methods which require storing them on damp toweling, or in damp peat/vermiculite/sand, etc. and they work. They are great if you're germinating them in the refrigerator and planting individually germinating seeds, such as is necessary when you germinate them indoors. As all of mine are outdoor germinations, I need to delay them from sprouting until I plant them all. Storing them dry helps accomplish that.

I plant them all in raised tables I constructed very "cost effectively" from fir fencing from my local home improvement store. They are sized to make the greatest use of the available length of wood per board. The bottoms are covered with nylon window screen with galvanized hardware cloth providing stiffer support. There are 1" X 2" strips screwed to the bottom edges of the side wall bottoms to prevent the screens from collapsing out of the openings. The entire set up rests upon two x fours placed between saw horses or set directly on stacked concrete blocks, as I've done with the third box created this spring. It takes a little over two cubic feet of soil to fill each box. More can be added, but I also have to cover the tables to keep birds and vermin out. Rodents and birds ADORE rose seeds! I use inexpensive, thin bamboo stakes, trimmed to fit inside the tables to divide the rows of seedlings. I simply lay them down between the rows and plant between them.

I created "box lids" out of 1" x 2" with plastic hardware cloth stapled to them to provide air, water and light availability, while keeping critters out. The tables can be watered right through the tops and often the seedlings will grow through the screen, as you've seen in some of my photos recently. I have been able to remove two of the tops without incident, while the latest table has a rodent which loves molesting the seedlings, so the top remains on that table. It's strange as all three are right together.

The seedlings are permitted to grow in the tables where they are better protected from being fried by the wooden sides and greater soil mass, until next Thanksgiving when I transplant them to individual pots, refill the tables and plant the seeds I generated this year, to begin the process all over again.

Of course, you CAN make it much more involved, "scientific", intricate than I have shown, and it will very likely work. This also works and it's inexpensive, pretty fast to accomplish and requires a whole lot less effort and time than more involved methods. And, of course, this works for outdoor germination. If you must germinate seeds indoors over winter, this isn't going to work for you.

Oh, yes, "The Christmas tree". Each tag is one hip and there are MANY hips on this plant! And, there are several almost as loaded as this one.

I hope it helps!

Wow! Thanks, Henry! Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Pollinating roses

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:31AM
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reemcook(8a PNW)

That's a Kimsmas tree!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:24AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

That was one fertile rose!!! Glad Kim has the photos because I never took one. Was too busy trying to remember what he was explaining.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:46AM
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Actually, Kippy was too busy trying to understand what I was saying. I was salivating so tremendously over those enormous, vine-ripened, luscious "maters" her mother so lovingly grew and she so graciously shared! They were GREAT! One, huge, orange which looked heirloom, was sliced, topped with red onion, a light drizzle of olive oil then with bacon flavored Gruyere and broiled. Delicious! Thanks, Kippy! Any time you're overloaded and on your way to LAX, just give me a holler!

That particular rose is an unnamed creation of Jim Sproul's, the creator of the Eyeconic series Hulthemia hybrids. It flowers heavily, continuously, and is immune to any foliage issues in my garden other than extreme sun scorch on the hottest of days. No rose I grow can withstand that. It has accepted almost all pollen I've applied to it and has made some very good, very interesting offspring. I'm particularly interested in seeing what this single, deep, saturated red "mini" is going to do with the Banksiae lutescens pollen many of those hips should have been created with. Kim

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 1:10AM
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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

Wow! Great info on seed collection and germination. And what a great set-up.

I do have a question about outdoor germination, though: you recommend indoor germination for people in cold-winter climates, but I'm wondering if you can say which zones are okay for outdoor germination, and which are iffy or not advisable?

I have my eye on some rose hips belonging to what I think is 'Pax' It's planted next to a 'Mutabilis' and another beautiful old rose that I don't recognize. I'm not planning to do anything large-scale, but of course, I'm curious to try planting a few seeds to see what- if anything- happens.

I don't have cool tables like you have, but I do have a "cage" made of pvc pipe and hardware cloth to cover seedlings and keep out the squirrels. So my concern is how cold is too cold for planting rose seeds outdoors?

Do you know the Guy Clark song about 'Homegrown Tomatoes"?:

"What'd life be without homegrown tomatoes?
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and homegrown tomatoes..."

Thanks for all the good info with photos,

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 3:16AM
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Thank you, ma'am! I don't think I remembered to include you don't cover the seeds more than about a quarter of an inch. Rose seedlings are extremely frost tolerant until they form their first true rose leaves. The seeds actually experiencing hard frosts under soil might actually help them to germinate. The people I know who have to raise them indoors are mostly in more northern states, New Jersey, Connecticut, West Virginia, Wisconsin, though a few are in Colorado and Iowa. Deep, hard freezes appear to be what you have to protect against.

How long do you have between the worst of winter and the time your day temps exceed 80 F? You could well be able to safely plant the seeds out, leave them to endure winter and find yourself with a batch of new seedlings come spring.

I'll have to look up the tomato song, thank you! I'm glad you are finding the photos helpful! Thanks. Kim

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 4:00AM
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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

Thanks for the info- we don't have deep hard freezes, so I'm probably safe with the outdoor method. Nothing ventured, nothing learned...

Link to 'Homegrown Tomatoes' below has the lyrics...


Here is a link that might be useful: 'Homegrown Tomatoes' by Guy Clark

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 3:49PM
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Nothing is better than a home grown tomato! Kim I honestly am respect what you do and enjoy all of your posts.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 11:06PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I think the yellow tomato was a Yellow Brandywine?

They sure make good tomato sandwiches

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 11:20PM
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I'd say you are safe growing them outdoors, Virginia. The greatest things about germinating them outdoors are you plant them all at once and don't have to continuously check for newly germinated ones and get them planted ASAP; you just keep them watered and let them do their own things. You don't have to worry about hardening anything off because as they germinate, they ARE hardening off. And, if you use a large and deep enough container in which to germinate them, you can pretty much leave them alone to grow in that container until fall/winter when it's safer and more comfortable to separate them. The varying temperatures are going to help them germinate better and they should continue germinating well into the eighty degrees range, despite the reported "germination stops around seventy degrees". Not here. I find them continuing to come up well into the eighties. You're going to have FUN!

Thank you, Boncrow. Much appreciated! Thank you, Kippy. I appreciate knowing the name of that tomato. It was wonderful! Kim

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:19AM
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