To begin, choose parents with many common strengths and no shared weaknesses. If one parent has a weakness, choose the other with a strength that balances it. Some varieties create poor offspring as the mother, but good offspring as the father, and vice versa.
Unless you live where the growing season is long, start your process during the first flush of flowers so the plant has the whole season to mature the seed.
1. Choose six or more buds on the mother rosebush. They should still be tightly closed.
2. Carefully remove the petals and anthers from several buds of the mother plant. Use nail clippers for this delicate task. (The anthers are the tiny stalks clustered in the flower center; the heads are where pollen is stored. The anthers should not be shedding pollen yet when you remove them.) A group of pistils in the center of the flower will remain. Cover the clipped buds loosely with a paper envelope so you can find them again and to keep out pollinating insects.
3. Let the prepared buds sit for one day. They will be ready to hybridize when the stigmas, or tops of the pistils, become shiny and wet. (Don't wait longer than two days.)
Continued on page 2: More of Getting Started