Everything’s Coming Up…Roses

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.

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

4 thoughts on “Everything’s Coming Up…Roses

  1. My husband used to be (and still is) really into growing all the different roses. We had TONS of them. And he would search throughout San Diego for new breeds. He has lots of book and if you have any other questions, I’m sure he’d be happy to help.

  2. I just finished reading your book. The perspective of Shoko was really good, and knowing nothing about Japan, I enjoyed being informed about the culture. I’ll keep up with your blog to follow your progress, I feel like we have a lot in common and I like your genre. Best of wishes with the success of your book!

Thoughts? Comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: