I’ve been working on my new novel for a couple months now (working title: The Rose of Galilee).  It’s about a reclusive amateur rose breeder who has nearly perfected a new breed of rose, until the arrival of her wayward niece throws her world into turmoil.

I have always loved roses.  Back when we owned a house, the first thing I did was plant a bunch of rose bushes in the otherwise barren ground.  My favorite was Hot Cocoa, a wonderful velvety burnt red rose.  (The people who bought the house kept the roses up, I’m glad to see).  Here’s an example (not my actual rose!)

When we lived in Hawaii, I noticed the roses there looked pretty awful.  In fact, I only saw two houses with them.   Seems roses need a bit of a cool period to recuperate before blooming.

Anyway, I was idly looking through roses and wondering how all these new breeds came up. Turns out there’s a whole world of rose breeding I didn’t know about.  It’s partly science and partly luck, and it can also be very big business if you happen to get a rose that hits with the public.

I connected with a prolific rose breeder, Jim Sproul, through a rose chat board (incidentally, I showed up to a San Diego Rose Society meeting, and everyone told me to contact, guess who, Jim!).  He suggested that I use Hulthemias as the rose for my fictional rose breeder.  If you haven’t heard of Hulthemia, it’s because they’re not widely available.  Rose sellers like to sell flowers that rebloom throughout the season, are relatively small in habitat, produce many flowers, have great color and maybe fragrance, are disease resistant, and can survive in just about every climate. Hulthemia are a relatively new breed, from what I understand, and therefore breeders are still trying to get to this perfect flower that will have all these attributes.  Here’s one of his blooms.

It’s an interesting book to write. I’m just hoping I’m getting all the science correct.