A Canadian Rose Introduction Has Recently Been Installed Into The Miniature And Minirose Hall Of Fame
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

June 21, 2015

George Mander in his rose garden in Coquitlam, British Columbia and below, a group of ‘Glowing Amber’ roses.
Photos courtesy George Mander.



Members of the American Rose Society (ARS) nominated, and the Society’s Miniature/Miniflora Rose Committee selected ‘Glowing Amber’ to be honored this year by induction into the Miniature and Miniflora Rose Hall of Fame. The award honors those miniatures and minifloras that have stood the test of time in commerce for at least 20 years, recognizing excellence and longevity. The Hall of Fame was established in 1998 by the ARS Board of Directors, and since that time 37 miniature and miniflora roses have been inducted. The 2015 honoree, which was announced at the awards banquet of the ARS National Spring and Miniature Conference in Columbus, OH on June 13th, is ‘Glowing Amber’.

When the editors of BC Living magazine asked rose hybridizer George Mander “What or who gave you the idea to start hybridizing roses?” he replied in depth.

“When my wife, Ingrid, and I moved to Coquitlam in 1966, there was a cabbage rose bush in the backyard. I didn’t know anything about growing roses, didn’t care for the blooms and wanted to throw it out. My neighbour suggested grafting different roses onto the main stems for a different look. Since I’d grafted apple and cherry trees in my parents’ garden as a teen, I thought I’d give it a try. I started reading books on crossbreeding and found it fascinating. When I finally joined a rose society in 1969, they told me I was crazy for trying to hybridize before I’d even learned how to grow roses. I started from the top down.

“It requires care in technique and cleanliness, but not a lot of training or equipment. All roses contain both female parts (pistils) and male (stamens), so roses naturally self-pollinate. Using tweezers, I collect the stamens from one rose (the designated father) and touch them to the pistils on the mother—picked or her tendency to produce good hips. Usually you would remove the stamens from the mother rose first, to prevent self-pollination.

“Pollinating a single bloom takes only minutes, but there are several steps needed to prepare. My friend Tony Denton started hybridizing in 1998 and we constantly exchange information of our experiments and results with new rose varieties for seed and/or pollen parents. To complete our yearly process, we have a window of about two months, and during this time we can do thousands of crosses. So while pollinating each bloom takes only a minute, planning, analyzing and talking over the results can take years!

In response to the question, “How do you know if it is working?” this was George’s comment: “Pollinating a single bloom takes only minutes, but there are several steps needed to prepare. Within a few weeks of completing the pollen process, the sepals on the hips start to close upwards. This is a sign that the process was successful. We then wait for the hips to swell and change colour before we harvest.

In 1995 I raised 4,800 seedlings from 14,800 seeds. From these 4,800, I kept only 140 for further evaluation. In the second year, it was down to about 80 and in the third year, I remember having left about 40. And of those I registered eight, plus three sports (mutations) from my miniature ‘Glowing Amber’. It’s 99 per cent luck and one per cent planning!

“‘Glowing Amber’ is now one of the top exhibition miniatures in the world, winning hundreds of trophies. ‘Ingrid’, named after my late wife, has the same pollen parents (‘Hot Tamale’ and ‘Rubies and Pearls’).

George Mander recently wrote to me regarding ‘Glowing Amber’ and the fact that it was being inducted into the Miniature and Miniflora Rose Hall of Fame. It’s much easier to hybridize miniatures because of space and size constraints. They can be hybridized in pots, allowing more freedom of movement, whereas hybrid teas are normally planted in the ground, and cannot be readily moved indoors under grow lights for further ripening of the seed hips. Due to a smaller root system, and the fact that minis are frequently grown in pots, they need more frequent feeding and watering.

If you would like to read a little more about Canadian rose hybridizer George Mander, see my November 11, 2007 article on this site entitled “New Rose and Hardy Holly Shrubs” (New Rose & Hardy Holly Shrubs).


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