The Germans

mauvegirl8(Texas)April 16, 2014

Any experiences with German roses?

Out of curiosity, historically, why did German breeders not become as world renowned as French? From what I've read it seems that botanical specimens, imported roses, etc were mainly pursuits of the French & English.

Reichsprasident Von Hindenberg - experiences wanted

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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

I did have the Reichspraesident and found it to be an overly blowsy and rather shapeless rose that for me had little staying power. I can't remember the fragrance since it's been quite some time.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:09PM
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Ingrid, I'm receiving the Reichsprasident this week.
I read the blousy blooms were peony- like.
There is not much information on HMF.

Wikipedia has the biography of. Paul Von Hindenburg.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:55AM
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I don't have an answer to your intriguing question, but speculating is fun....
Possibly two world wars interrupted communications, plus the closure to the West of the GDR for some decades. Also much of the U.S. allows cultivation of roses that don't flourish in Germany where there's little summer heat, so German (and Austrian) breeders may have worked on kinds of roses not much favored in the U.S. It's possible that German breeders may not have profited to the same extent as British and French breeders from the importation of oriental roses through the 19th and early 20th centuries, as these last were many of them tender and not suited to the climate of northern Europe. Possibly Germany's not being politically unified until 1870 made a difference? There could be no state support of breeding programs where there is no state.
I'm not sure that your premise is correct, actually. There's Rudolf Geschwind, Peter Lambert, and the house of Kordes, all of whom developed roses that grace U.S. gardens. And Tantau. My impression is that rose breeding and growing is alive and well in the German-speaking countries. All this is off the top of my head.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:47PM
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The founders effect -- the French got there first. The patronage of Josephine was important. (The Bonapartist Vibert supposedly told his son that in his life he had two loves: roses and Napoleon.) Another reason (I am just speculating) may have been the relative poverty and backwardness of Germany, ravaged by many wars. Furthermore, it was not a unified country until 1870, though Goethe wrote a poem about the "Heideröslein" ("Röslein auf der Heiden"). The cold, "continental" climate may have also played a part.

An interesting "German" breeder is Rudolf Geschwind (1829-1910), who resided in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the official language of which was German. Geschwind died in Karpfen, Hungary, and because of this, he is sometimes identified as Hungarian. He was in fact of Jewish ancestry from Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). Geschwind exhibited his creations at the Paris Exhibition.

It is sometimes said Geschwind's roses did not become more popular because they had "unpronounceable" German names. This was more likely because of the strong anti-German feeling in France and Anglophone countries around the time of the first World War -- and immediately before and after. (Note: at that time the label "German" was used indiscriminately for Central European, including Jewish, I recently read.)

Geschwind's rose cultivar names (in the manner of David Austin) were often very evocative and reveal his deep feeling for beauty and his interest in Greek, Latin, and Old Norse poetry and mythology: 'Ovid', ; 'Eurydice', Erlkönig', 'Nymph Egeria', 'Wotan', Walküre', and "Freya', to name a few.

One of Geschwind's most famous creations is the splendid 'Gruss an Teplitz', named after his home town. I remember when we first saw it at the Brooklyn Botanical garden, my husband, who loves red roses, said, "Why can't we have that rose?" (Ans. it is a bit too large- growing for our little plot).

We do have 'Excellenz von Schubert', which was bred by another renowned German hybridizer, Peter Lambert (1859-1939), also responsible for 'Frau Karl Druschki' and 'Reichspraesident von Hindenberg' (which Helen van Pelt Wilson and Leonie Bell thought highly of).

Lambert was from the wine-growing, ancient Roman imperial capital Trier, near the French (or Luxembourg) border, and so was practically French.

Helpmefind quotes from The Gardener's Chronicle: 1939, p. 158: "The death occurred, on February 20, of one of the best known and most famous Rose growers - Peter Lambert, of Trier, in Germany. He was in his eightieth year, and succumbed after a short illness. Lambert rose to fame in 1891 with the production of his novelty 'Kaiserin Auguste Victoria', and gained even greater renown two years later with the production of 'Frau Karl Druschki'...."

HMF also cites the entry on Lambert by Stirling Macoboy in The Ultimate Rose Book, p. 459: "A turn-of-the-century German hybridist, still celebrated for 'Frau Karl Druschki' (1900) and 'Gartendirektor Otto Linne' (1934), he also raised a series of Shrub Roses called 'Lambertianas', and 'Trier', which is an ancestor of most of the Hybrid Musks."

Here is a link that might be useful: Rudolf Geschwind

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:59PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Melissa and monarda, thank you for the wonderful historical information in your threads. The anti-German sentiment has been touched upon, which I think was quite prevalent with two world wars with Germany as the enemy. The Great Dane, for instance, was so named even though it's a 100% German breed. Even the German Shepherd received another name during and around one of the world wars. I do a great deal of reading and inevitably, in most novels the French characters are depicted in a positive light and the Germans in a negative, often somewhat sinister one (unless they're Jewish). Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband is German (as is the Queen by ancestry) and was obliged to change his name from Battenberg to Mountbatten. Politics plays a role in many ways that we're often not even aware of.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 3:18PM
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My beloved 'Veilchenblau' was hybridized by Johann Schmidt in 1909. I think there were plenty of German hybridizers, as noted above. However, I think climate, language (awkward sounding names), unification coming late, and particularly history in the 20th century made German hybridized roses less popular in this country, although perhaps not elsewhere.

We have mostly forgotten the anti-German hysteria (there is no better word for it) that prevailed in this country during and after WWI. Interestingly, this did not happen during WWII. My FIL was born in 1913, to parents who were also both born here, and told me that even when he was in elementary school in the 1920s he was harassed by other children because of his German name.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 3:20PM
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Three of my grandparents, all U.S. born, were native German speakers; neither of my parents knew a word of the language. I've read that, as Jackie says, there was a huge wave of anti-German sentiment during WWI that destroyed the previously thriving U.S. German-language press and German-English bilingualism.
I know many English speakers laugh about the German language, but some of the most beautiful poetry ever written is in German.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 3:44PM
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Hindenberg has tremendous scent here. I've not had it for many years for several reasons. Gangly, rangy plant with terminal mildew and black spot in this climate. When it flowered, I was in love. That love was fleeting and seldom enjoyed. The flowers were the only attraction which kept him around as long as he was. He was just totally unsuited for this climate. Kim

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:05PM
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Strange to say--because no one has paid any attention to it--the German Daniel August Schwarzkopf appears to have been one of the very first to practice controlled cross-breeding in roses. His legacy is somewhat unclear, as he distributed his seedling roses to various Dutch and French nurserymen, who released them with no indication that they came from him, and with names in their own language if not completely out of their own heads; but he's responsible for such roses as 'Perle von Weissenstein' (1773), 'Grosse Mohnkopfs Rose' (-1799; much better known as 'Pavot'), and at least some of the Rubiginosa 'Hessoise' hybrids (Schwarzkopf was in Hesse). This of course is well before the French really got decidedly underway in the matter of hybridization. If I understand correctly, I believe that a work or works which will shed further light on this is/are on the way--a very welcome development!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:07PM
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This is the most fascinating of threads. Everyone contributed a piece of the puzzle. Empress Josephine's passion for the beautification of Malmaison surely contributed to introducing French society to roses.

Ships, ports, wars, climate

I agree the German language, i.e, rose names sound harsh (unlike the romance languages, Spanish, French, Italian) free flowing rhythm

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:24PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

'Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria' is a very good rose in my garden. I read that it was one of the most popular roses of its time but people stopped planting it in 1914 because of WWI.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:33PM
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My maternal grandfather, a professional basketball player, whose parents were from Beylo-Russia, was made to change his name from Max to Marty when he played in the Hudson River League - in the 19-teens and twenties, because "Max" was deemed too German-sounding for American spectators. The game, which Grandpa learned in the University Settlement House on New York's Lower East Side was taught to him by an "Austrian" (b. Cracow!) coach named Harry Baum. My grandfather enlisted as a pilot on the American side in World War I. My father's side, on the other hand is of English extraction from Kentucky and Texas, but has some Palatine German in there, as many Americans do. It was these German ancestors of my father's who fought with Lafayette in the American Revolution. In fact, so many of the "Germans" who emigrated here were extremely liberal idealists who opposed slavery and supported the American cause.

I can't resist adding this link about "German" Americans (I put it in quotations because it included what are now so many other Central European countries) from the Language Log blog, for anyone who is interested. I found it fascinating, especially the information in the comments. One commenter writes: "The Holocaust makes the conflation of Jews and Germans seem bizarre now, but the two were strongly identified before that."

Here is a link that might be useful: Somewhere east of Aachen

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:55PM
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Desertgarden- Las Vegas, Z9a @ 2800 ft.

Fascinating thread!!!

I too would suspect that anti-German sentiment played a large role during the first half of the 20th century. In fact, sauerkraut became known as "liberty cabbage" and was labeled as such. Kaiser Wilhelm and all things German were vilified during WWI, and Hitler… the Holocaust and the WWII atrocities….

This could account for the time period surrounding the two world wars, but, the world celebrated when the Berlin Wall came down during the late 80's and Germany was unified. The anti- German sentiment seemed to be directed toward the former Soviet Union during decades prior to the 90's. So, I wonder, what was occurring between German breeders and the U.S. during the past four decades?

This post was edited by desertgarden561 on Thu, Apr 17, 14 at 18:53

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 6:52PM
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After WW2 (West) Germany became our bosom friend and ally against Communism. Until 1960 and the Eichmann trial it was strictly taboo to speak of atrocities and one was supposed to let byegones be byegones. Oh, well, things are (the official line is) always changing.

At any rate, we have Kordes' marvelous roses and I'm sure there are many others that I probably don't know about. I sometimes check in on a few nice German- language rose blogs that I have stumbled upon on the web (google translator is a godsend). Elfenrosgarten is one I like a lot, and what do you know, she likes the same old roses we all do People are people the world over.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elfen rose garten

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:02PM
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I was surprised no one mentioned Kordes yet. It seems Kordes is widely known and accepted as a great hybridizer. Geschwind also seems to be a commendable OGR hybridizer.

I must concur with the speculation that the anti-German sentiments installed deeply into the minds of Americans as a result of the world wars must have affected the way we accepted certain roses. Here in the Deep South, something German may be associated with Nazi Germany. Whether by intentional avoidance or subliminal training, it seems that German products are pariahs in the common market. My family had many people volunteer in the wars, and anti-German tendencies are readily seen even through my parents' generation.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:32PM
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Kordes and Tantau are relatively modern day.
I had the early and mid 1800's in mind in my original inquiry.
In comparison, there are more Mme's then Fraus.

Does the earliest German rose, 'Perle Von Weissenstein' still exist?

Other than Pedro and Simon Dot, Spanish breeders seem relatively unknown also.

I acquired Kordes 'South Africa' yesterday. 'Poseidon', another Kordes is in transit.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:09PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

I apologize for this completely off-topic post in regard to German roses but want to mention a subject that has been completely forgotten or ignored in the annals of history, and feel the need to give it a voice somewhere. In the 1800's many thousands of Germans emigrated to Yugoslavia to get away from the constant wars and poverty in Germany. They settled in areas the Yugoslavians didn't want, drained malaria-ridden swamps and under great hardship built up prosperous, all-German communities. I suppose naturally there was dislike between the two cultures and World War II and the invasion of the Russians gave the Yugoslavians the chance they needed. Germans were killed, tortured and herded into concentration camps and between 100,000 and 1 million people died there, most of starvation. My great-grandfather was one of them. My grandparents were both in those camps, although separated, and somehow survived. The children, taken from their mothers, were the first to die.

When we speak of atrocities, it was a Canadian, digging through documents in Washington, D.C., who uncovered the fact that at least one million German soldiers, captured by the Americans, many only 17 or 18 years old, were allowed to die of starvation, thirst and neglect, with the full knowledge of General Eisenhower and the American government. It was thought that this was in retaliation of what had been discovered about the holocaust, of which none of these soldiers ever took part. History in every country seems to remember what it wants to, and conveniently buries the rest.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:20PM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens)

Very interesting thread.

'We have mostly forgotten the anti-German hysteria (there is no better word for it) that prevailed in this country during and after WWI. Interestingly, this did not happen during WWII'

I'm pretty sure cold war politics combined with the need for (non-communist) Europe's reconstruction with US funds and under US supervision played a great role in the latter. 'Nazis' became the word to hate rather than German for this reason. This happened to a large extend in Europe also, not only in the US.

Retaliations and population expels happened after WWII in many regions, mainly but not solely of Central Europe where ethnic Germans lived. These did not only involve ethnic Germans, but ethnic Hungarians, Romanians and what have you. Many of those regions (like a part of Yugoslavia, the rest being part of the Ottoman empire until shortly before WWI) used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire before WWI. Yugoslavia was only established as a state after WWI in 1918.

WWI effectively dissolved two multiethnic empires (Austria-Hungary and Ottoman). By the end of it, the 'ethnic' state prevailed in Europe but leaving ethnic tensions in place in many of these states. Whatever social, ethnic or economic tensions existed before WWII in those regions, were often accentuated by ethnic minorities either actually or supposedly, in whole or in part, collaborating with the Axis invading and occupying forces.

The historical incident you are refering to is true although much more complex than you are describing. There where about a total of 1.5m ethnic Germans in the regions of Yugoslavia, Hungary and Romania in total. Many of those were moved to Germany just before and shortly after the end of WWII. Atrocities did happen against ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia just after the end of WWII and some refer to these as ethnic cleansing. One has to wonder whether these events had one belated effect many years after, namely the active involvement of Germany in the beginnings of the breakup of Yugoslavia after Tito.

European history has been a complex one and still is.

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 0:01

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:43PM
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Sylvia Weiser Wendel

All of this is true, but unless I am mistaken (and I don't think I am - I just checked) Kordes carried on business throughout the Nazi era. So did Tantau.

That's enough for me. I wouldn't buy a Kordes or Tantau rose any more than I would buy a Volkswagen (a car developed specifically for Adolf Hitler). The Nazis killed my grandparents, four of my uncles, untold numbers of other relatives, and did even worse to DH's family.

It's not about revenge. It's about a stomach-churning revulsion at supporting anyone or anything complicit with the Nazi regime. I don't care how many years it's been.

There are lots of roses in the world. The world may do as it pleases, but I can live without German roses that were created after 1933. The older ones, of course, are not a problem.

Just one person's observation --

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:56PM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens)

Most of what's driving the German economy now has its roots in the Nazi era. Both large corporations and that driver of the German economy the mid-sized business. I'm not judging this, I'm just stating a fact. Germany was utterly destroyed after WWI and economic / industrial recovery started in the 30s. The US made a conscious strategic and economic decision to allow and actively help the German economy to recover after WWII, based of course on the same old pillars which, regardless of the heavy toll in loss of life the Germans paid in WWII were left practically intact. Some in Europe feel that sometimes the Germans tend to forget this nowdays.

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 0:31

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:27AM
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Desertgarden- Las Vegas, Z9a @ 2800 ft.

After WWII, the three German zones in the west occupied by the U.S., France, and Great Britain were recovering, then flourishing. The Soviet Union treated their Eastern occupied, Communist zone as spoils of war, and pillaged from what remained. Many of Germany's best and brightest that remained in the East migrated to the West. The development in the West and people fleeing the East led to conflict in Berlin, culminating with this city being encased by a wall in 1961, with guards instructed to shoot to kill anyone choosing to migrate west. Life between the progressive West and the East was clearly divided.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 11:08AM
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Ingrid, I never knew that. I am horrified. I had thought better of us than that. It is very discouraging to learn this.

When I was a little girl we lived for a few years in a coal mining town in western Pennsylvania. Our next door neighbors there called themselves and their native language 'Granish' or 'Grannish'. They had emigrated from Slovenia before World War I to escape the German draft. The Granish language, a Bavarian dialect of German, has by now just about disappeared from the world, but when I was a small child I learned a few words of it from my grandmotherly neighbor. I don't remember even one word now, but I still remember her with affection.

I had the opportunity to visit Sangerhausen in Germany last summer. Anita was there, too. It was an amazing collection of roses, beautifully tended. Perhaps overly tended by my tastes, but then I do not know the climate or understand its requirements. What really impressed me there was the truly superb collection of trees assembled about a hundred years or so ago.

By the way, there was a bust of Kaiserin Auguste Victoria on display in the garden. It had been hidden away during the Communist era, since Sangerhausen is located in the former East Germany. Now it has been restored to public view.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:50PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Nik, the "hunger camps" as the Germans who experienced them called them, existed long before the end of World War II. So did the tortures and killings of Germans, which began when the Russians invaded Yugoslavia. Long before the end of World War II my grandmother was starving to death in one of these camps, and her life was saved when a Serbian family "bought" her because of her superb seamstress skills, and installed her in a large pigpen (which had however never been used) to work for them. She did not know for a long time whether her husband was dead or alive. Personal experiences are a fact that cannot be disputed, and were shared by many who were fortunate enough to live through them.

Sylvia, I can totally understand your feelings given the horrific experiences your family endured. I can only point out humbly that the Nazis who committed those atrocities were a relatively small number and that the German people knew very well what their fate would be if they did not follow the party line, much as was the case in Communist Russia. Even Field Marshall Rommel, one of the most respected soldiers of World War II, was forced to commit suicide by the Nazis in order to save his family's life.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 1:22PM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens)


Below wiki link is a summary ref. the issue of ethnic Germans after German withdrawal from occupied territories (and from areas of pre-war German Reich). With regards to Yugoslavia, German occupying forces withdrew from Serbia in 1944 and from the northern states in 1945. Red army presence in Yugoslavia (contrary to other central and eastern european states) was limited and ended with the end of the war.

It seems to me that a large percentage of the German people (in Germany) was supporting Hitler before and during most of the war, regardless if many might not have been aware of the total magnitude of the particular atrocities. The German people were mostly behind the party in their dream of turning the whole of Europe to German hinterland. The war couldn't have happened the way it happened otherwise. Nationalism was a pretty nasty thing and still is.... In my country, apart from the Jewish 'cleaning up', the rest of the atrocities (mass executions of all males in villages including boys, burning down all the villages in whole areas etc etc) happened by the Wehrmacht (the regular army) btw.

Attributing all blame to a small minority of maniacs who were the leaders doesn't help anyone in my view and certainly does not help humankind learn from its mistakes. Even in Germany there has been a recognition of it. There are dangerous signs that this recognition is waning lately, although many Germans themselves at the very same time seem very ready to brand whole nations based on their leaders mistakes. Food for thought. No nation, or country or state should ever be let to think that it is better, in any way, than another. This is what I have gotten from all of this.

Now everybody, all this has been very interesting but pls. let's return to roses, German or otherwise.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flight and expulsion of Germans (1944�

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 15:34

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 2:17PM
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Desertgarden- Las Vegas, Z9a @ 2800 ft.

Nik, well communicated.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 3:32PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Wilhem Hinner still wasn't as early as that in the 19th c, but he did work in Lambert's nursery in 1897. I'd like to get Hinner's Gruss an Aachen sometime. I have his 1902 Andenken an Joh. Diering, the climbing hybrid tea.

My modern Kordes roses fared MUCH better in this horrible cold winter than poor J Diering, but I'm sure he'll grow up nice and tall again :) He did really well for an early HT! (He got canker issues from the abrupt change from super-cold to warm, not outright frozen dieback, so he is hardier than it sounds, too).

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:38AM
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Perle von Weissenstein is still in commerce, at least in Europe.

Some of my older German rose favourites are Königin von Dänemark (Booth 1816) although James Booth was a Scottish expatriate living in Holstein that belonged to Denmark at the time, Gruss an Aachen (Hinner 1909), Gruss an Teplitz (Geschwind 1897), Kronprinzessin Viktoria (Späth 1888) and Fragezeichen (Böttner 1910).

Picture of the climber Fragezeichen (means Question Mark, Böttner perhaps had a problem naming it?)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:09AM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

That's a beautiful picture, mariannese. I've always admired your garden and hope that you'll post pictures when your roses are in full bloom this spring.

What a very whimsical name for a rose. I can just imagine showing someone my garden and standing in front of this rose "and here is my lovely rose, Question Mark". Surely he could have thought of hundreds of better names......


    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:16PM
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I can understand the potential motivation for the name, Ingrid. Perhaps he was questioning the presumed parentage? You often raise results from a cross you completely don't expect. I'd attempted for years to raise Stellata mirifica seeds until my parent plant died year before last. It set a crop of its odd, smelly hips and provided a small batch of seeds. Two appearing traditional Stellata, the other an obvious hybrid, apparently with Fedtschenkoana, its closest neighbor. I named the potential hybrid, "Puzzlement", because it IS a puzzlement for a number of reasons. Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Puzzlement

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:54PM
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