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.
4 thoughts on “Everything’s Coming Up…Roses”
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.
I will take you up on that, as soon as I am organized enough to have good questions! Thanks, Leah
Glad to hear of your upcoming book! I can’t wait to read it…
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!