An Innovative Company
Mike Athy is commited to developing the very best new rose varieties for you. From the beginning Mike has not thought of his seedlings as roses but simply as flowering garden plants. "They must outflower the other plants in the garden and of course, be as scented, healthy and trouble free as possible".

In the mid 1990's Mike began hybridising roses with the goal of producing roses which would be colourful and as maintenance free as possible. From those early beginnings he now makes approx. 6000 crosses per season which will yeild around 60,000 seeds. The seeds are planted in benches under cover after having had six weeks chilling in the refrigerator.
The young plants pop up in early September and they will see their first new blooms in mid October. "These young plants are evaluated on their bloom form, colour and overall attractivness. Anything that is not up to standard is ruthlessly pulled and dispatched to the bonfire".
By July the seedlings growth will have slowed down and they can be transplanted outdoors. "Here the young plants are left completely to their own devices and we can evaluate their resistance to disease and quality of bloom cycle in a natural outdoor environment". A completely natural approach is held and all breeding and evaluation is done by hand.
Once the seedlings are planted outdoors they are no longer sprayed, or in fact given any extra care other than watering when necessary. They must fight to survive and prove they are worthy of continuing on with.
The select few varieties that pass this rigorous trial are budded onto multiflora rootstock and watched for a futher few years. After a total of around eight years only a few will shine sufficiently to warrant being marketed. Budwood from these few are sent to agents around the world where they are reviewed once more in the various climates of these nurseries.

"Throughly tested here in NZ and also by agents in 14 countries, you can be assured that our roses are the very best available".

Future Goals
"I have become increasingly interested in the diversity within rose species. Very few species have actually been used to produce the roses we know today. This suggests that there may be a great deal of potential in using underutilised varieties to create some exciting new roses".
Currently Mike is working on fragrant foliage and has selected a few attractive clones, some with fresh apple scented leaves and some with foliage that smells very strongly of pine. "This adds a whole new dimension to roses for the garden".
I am also working on improving the bloom size and petal count on the extra healthy shrub roses.

Have a little piece of NZ in your garden

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