Rose Cuttings by Connie Hilker

The Klassy Way to Root Roses (Presented by Connie Hilker, adapted from a method by Diana Klassy.)

Connie was our guest speaker for the 2019 ROSEFEST. She taught us and inspired us!

This is one of many ways to propagate roses and other plants from cuttings. It is simple to learn, and it uses materials that you may already have on hand.


  • Half-gallon milk jug
  • Clear 2-liter soda bottle
  • Food-quality potting media
  • Rooting hormone
  • Pruners
  • Sharp knife
  • Patience!

This method uses the bottom of the milk jug as a pot, and the top of the soda bottle to form a greenhouse.

Cut large drainage holes in the bottom of the milk jug.
Fill the milk jug with moist potting media. Water thoroughly and let drain.

The best rose cutting is a stem with a dead flower on it, with four to six sets of leaves. If possible, get the heel wood where the cutting emerges from the main cane. If you cannot get a heel, cut below a leaf bud. Remove all but the top two or three sets of leaves.

With the sharp knife, score the end of the cutting on two or three sides … cutting only through the outer layer.

Dip scored cutting into rooting hormone. (dampen cutting if using powdered hormone) Make a hole in the potting media, insert the cutting, water thoroughly.
Cover the cutting with the soda bottle top.

Place your container in a protected location … outside, place it the shade (under a bush is a good place); inside, in a window with bright indirect light. No direct sunshine at this point, or the container will overheat and your cutting will die. There should be no need to water your cutting … condensation inside the soda bottle is a good indication that the cutting has sufficient moisture.

Cuttings can produce roots in as soon as four weeks, or as many as eight, ten, or more weeks. Since roots are visible through the translucent milk jug, there is no need to pull cuttings to check their progress. Remove any leaves that fall … the cutting can still root without leaves. As long as the stem is green, the cutting is alive.

When the cutting is showing strong roots, and starts to sprout new leaves, begin to harden off your new rose by removing the screw top of the soda bottle. After a week or two, remove the soda bottle completely and begin to gradually move your rose to a sunnier environment.

Will the Real Seven Sisters Please Stand Up

-Linda Kimmel
Indianapolis Rose Society

There is some confusion about the Seven Sisters Rose, as there are several different roses by the same name. has six different varieties listed. Can we get some clarity?

A Bit of History…

‘Seven Sisters’ is believed to be an old Chinese garden rose which was introduced from Japan to England by Charles Greville in the early 1800s. John Loudon (England), a most influential horticultural nurseryman and journalist of his time, wrote (1844): “The variety of the color produced by the buds at first opening was not less astonishing than their number. White, light blush, deeper blush, light red, darker red, scarlet and purple flowers, all appear in the same corymb, and the production of these seven colors at once is said to the be the reason why this rose is known as the Seven Sisters Rose.”

According to Charles Quest-Ritson, author of “Climbing Roses of the World”, writes “the clone currently in cultivation was likely grown from seeds imported from Japan and acquired by Phillipe Noisette, a London market gardener. Brent Dickerson, author of “The Old Garden Rose Advisor”, writes about R. multiflora ‘Polyantha’, also grown from seeds imported from Japan that “It is evidently quite variable, and the small number of seeding it has given us have sometimes differed from the type so much that none of the characteristics of the original are preserved.” So, is it safe to assume that seedlings of the ‘Seven Sisters’ roses, also R. multiflora, acquired from Japan may have varied in breeding lines and traits? Once the ‘Seven Sisters’ rose was introduced (1815), it took a few years for it to gain in popularity, but eventually in the mid-century, rose sales started to take off. As the public demand exceeded the supply, nurseries started selling knock-off versions of ‘Seven Sisters’, creating even more confusion.

Characteristics (common to the real ‘Seven Sisters’)

‘Seven Sisters’ is a medium pink blend Hybrid Multiflora, once-blooming in the spring or early summer, born in large clusters, with individual flowers being less than 2-inches. Height can reach 10 to 20-ft and can get 10-ft wide. Hardy from zones 4b to 9b but tends to be shorter and smaller in colder zones. ‘Seven Sisters’ is not picky, it will grow well in dry or wet, acid or alkaline soil. Prefers full sun but can tolerate some light shade. Being hardy and disease resistant, as well as easy to propagate, ‘Seven Sisters’ is an ideal rose to grow and share with your friends and rose enthusiast. After all these years, ‘Seven Sisters’ is still an intensely popular rose in the landscape.

‘Seven Sisters’ is the ARS approved registration name. Alternative cultivar names may include: ‘Grevillei’, Grevilli major’, ‘Oizimei’, ‘Rosier Multiflore a Grandes Feuilles’, Rosa thoryi, Rose multiflora f. platyphylla. Most American rose nurseries sell this version as the real ‘Seven Sisters’, so ladies, please standup.

Alias Seven Sisters includes (but not limited to): ‘Red Seven Sisters’ (not registered) and Félicité-Perpétue (HSem).

‘Seven Sisters’ is comfortable on an old farm fence or a formal rose bed. Regardless of where ‘Seven Sisters’ is planted, it will bring you happiness for years. Photo reprinted with permission from Jonquil Junction (Arkansas).

Labeled ‘Seven Sisters’, most likely the “Red” version.  ‘Red Seven Sisters’ is a found rose, hybrid multiflora, once-blooming, hardy zone 6b to 8. Growth habit is similar. Reprinted with permission by Rich Baer, photo taken at a Llama farm in Washington State.

‘Seven Sisters’ Félicité-Perpétue (Hybrid Sempervirens) was hybridized by Antoine Jacques (French breeder) in 1827. This ‘Seven Sisters’ is white or near white with a blush of pink. Its growth, habit, bloom and form are similar to her medium pink counterpart. Hardy between 6b and 10b.Reprinted with permission by Lee Tomlinson, photo taken at San Jose Historic Rose Garden.

Member Profile: Nick Stanley

My Rose Adventure

Nick and Anne Stanley

When your father and grand father were both florists and/or growers, you already have a heritage to follow.

I didn’t really start down that path till around 1997. A friend of ours was growing 30-35 roses down in the Center Grove area and I started observing her in the care she took of her roses.

The next spring I built a raised bed on the north side of our house and started with 16 roses. The north side is not the ideal location but it was all that I had available. I had a friend show me how to construct the raised beds out of treated 4 X 6’s, I brought in some good top soil, and away I went.


A year later 3.5 acres across the street became available. I started the development on that property by building six, 27’ X 6’ raised beds holding 18 roses in each.

Around this time, I joined the Indianapolis Rose Society and they started showing me how to care for and graft new roses. John Hefner and Mark Nolen were tremendous mentors to me.

I then had the rose house built followed by the 16’ X 32’ barn. One of the smarter things I purchased was a golf cart that made trips back to the rose house much easier. Shortly after that I built five more raised beds on the west side of the rose house. It was also about this time that I installed irrigation for the rose beds and grass area around the rose house.

My next project was cutting back the thicket along the Buck Creek directly south of the rose house. We cut down 25-30 trees, and probably 75-100 shrubs. This is where the gazebo now stands.


Shortly afterwards we thinned out the “thicket” behind the rose house and developed walking paths and beds for hostas and other shade plants. A few years later I bought a small Kubota tractor with a frontend loader, and a used Dixie Chopper to cut grass. That required a garage and more beds around the building. The tractor was one of my smartest purchases.

It seems like one project leads to another over the years. I could not have done all of this without the assistance of Francisco Posadas the past 18 years. I’m now trying to cut back beds to help me and my ageing body as I get older. I’ve spent endless hours over the years, but it was truly a labor of love. Now, to sit back with my wife Anne and enjoy it all.

Virginia Bischoff, the Rose Whisperer

-Linda Kimmel

I would like to introduce my good friend and mentor, Virginia Bischoff. Virginia has been an Indianapolis Rose Society member since 1953, 63 years! September 17th, she celebrated her 96th birthday. Happy Birthday, Virginia!


Virginia at a recent rose society meeting. We are all so honored to know her!

I first met Virginia at the Flower and Patio show at the Indianapolis fairgrounds in the spring of 1991. She had already been a rose society member for nearly 40 years. She was working the Rose Society booth. At the time, I had twelve roses and thought I was a big time rose grower. I stopped and chatted with her. I remember thinking, “that woman knows what I need to know.”  I had been checking out and reading rose books from the local library for information, but there is nothing like talking to a real person that lives in your locale. I took the membership application form and purchased a “Successful Rose Growing in Indiana” booklet ($3.00).  Not sure how I managed it, but I promptly lost the membership application before I got home. I had no idea how to reach the Indianapolis Rose Society. I waited a full year and went back to the Flower and Patio show, specifically to meet Virginia again. I thought my chances were pretty slim, like lightening striking twice, of finding her. But low and behold, she was standing behind the Indianapolis Rose Society booth talking to attendees. The booth was busy with information seekers and I couldn’t get all my questions answered. So this time, I took a membership application and managed to complete it and joined up. Virginia and I became instant friends. I loved to ask questions and she loved to talk about rose growing.  Once, she leaned over to me and whispered, “the secret is in soil.” I have never forgotten that important tidbit of information, because “THE SECRET IS IN THE SOIL.”  To have a great rose garden, the soil must be great. Take care of your soil and your roses will flourish.

After buying a tank sprayer on wheels (not a good Mantis but a less expensive version), a high-maintenance piece of equipment, it seemed something was always broken. As I whined on the phone about my broken sprayer, wasted money and the two weeks wait for a replacement part, Virginia said, “are you going to be home for a few minutes?” “Yes”, I replied. “I’ll be right there”, she said. In about half-hour, Virginia and Francis showed up at my house with an Atomist sprayer. “Here you go, use it as long as you need it,” Virginia offered. I loved that sprayer, minus the long extension cord it required. It was certainly economical on chemicals, requiring half of what I was using. What a kind and helpful gesture from the Bischoffs.

The first American Rose Society National Rose Show and Conference that I attended was in Shreveport, LA (1993), Virginia introduced me to everyone she knew, saying “this is a good one, she is a keeper.”  I was so green, I didn’t know how to read a show schedule, but Virginia saw something in me that was worthwhile.

I was invited to Francis and Virginia’s house many times to look at their roses, talk roses and to observe Francis’s hybridizing program. Francis kept a meticulous log of his rose crosses, focusing on miniatures. When the time was right, Francis would harvest the hips, store the seeds in a refrigerator and then plant the rose seed under artificial lights in his basement during the winter months. I remember looking at several flats of rose seedlings, growing under lights during February and March. What a fabulous site, a few were showing buds and some were blooming!

Francis had six miniature roses that were commercialized and marketed:

‘Ginny’ (1981), was named for Virginia.  It had good exhibition form, as did all of Francis’ marketed roses. ‘Ginny’ was classed as a red and white blend with 45 petals; I remember it as a white with vivid red edges and high pointed center. The cross was ‘Little Darling’ x ‘Toy Clown.’

‘Sadler’ (1983). Virginia said a man gave Francis a $100. to name a rose after him and the rose now bears his last name. The ‘Sadler’ rose is orange-pink with good exhibition form and 43 petals. It was a cross between ‘Fabergé’ (floribunda, Boerner, 1969) x ‘Darling Flame.’

‘Penny Annie’ (1983) was named after Dr. Lyle’s bulldog. It is light pink with 35 petals and classic hybrid tea bloom form.  It is a cross between ‘Little Darling’ x Unnamed seedling.

‘Marty’s Triumph’ (1985) was named after a rose friend, who was battling cancer. It was to signify Marty’s triumph over cancer. The rose is Orange-pink with a mild fragrance. It is a small, double (17-25 petals), flat bloom form. It was described as “a new and distinct variety of miniature rose plant, characterized by bright coral pink buds and blooms with pale pink reverse. It is a vigorous, compact plant with abundant glossy green foliage.” It is a cross between ‘Little Darling’ x Unnamed seedling.

‘JuJu’ (1996) is named after Jack Walter’s (Kimbrew-Walters Roses) grand-daughter. It is red blend with medium-full (26-40 petals) hybrid tea bloom form. It is a cross of ‘Little Darling’ X ‘Black Jade’ (miniature, Bernadella 1985).

‘Lida O’ (1997) is named after Virginia’s mother. It is classed as “yellow”, but I remember it being a creamy pale yellow. Again, it has great exhibition form. I won the best mini rose bowl with a ‘Lido O,’ back in the day when our rose shows were held in the gymnasium at St. Luke United Methodist Church. “Lida O” is a cross of ‘Party Girl’ x ‘Miss Dovey’. Incidentally, ‘Party Girl’ was hybridized by Harm Saville in 1997 and was named after Jan Shivers, a longtime member of the Indianapolis Rose Society.

There were many miniature roses that Francis deemed not worthy because they were too big to be miniatures and too small to be floribundas. Ben Williams, a rose nurseryman, was having the same experience. Ben saw a future for these oversized miniature roses and trademarked the name “Mini-Flora” (1977). Williams offered the name to the American Rose society but was turned down. 22 years later, the American Rose Society accepted the Mini-Flora trademark as a gift; and, the miniflora rose was established as a formal classification of a new type of modern roses (1999). The spelling was changed from Mini-Flora to miniflora to match grandiflora, etc. I only wish that we had some of those beautiful roses that Francis discarded because they were too big for the miniature classification of the day.

Virginia said, “Francis was the hybridizer.” “I liked to exhibit.” Virginia won Queen of the Show at Columbus, OH, 1974, with ‘Uncle Joe’. It was her first and only national queen. ‘Uncle Joe is a dark red beauty with strong fragrance. It was hybridized in 1972 and is a strong contender on the rose show table still today. Displaying nearly 80 petals, ‘Uncle Joe’ has a very large, globular bloom that takes its own sweet time opening.

Virginia served as IL-IN District director for a total of seven years (1976-1983). She finished out a year for a director that became ill, then served two, 3-year terms (6 years). She has fond memories of being the District Director, chuckling “they teased me all the time.” Virginia received the Silver Honor Medal (1973), and Francis received the Silver Honor in 1984. Virginia also received the Outstanding Consulting Rosarian from the District in 1984. At the local level, Virginia served as Indianapolis Rose Society President in 1969 and 1971. Both Virginia and Francis received the Award of Honor (preceded the Bronze Medal) from the Indianapolis Rose Society.

Thank you, Virginia, for being my Rose Whisperer, for whispering rose secrets over the years. I will never match all of your accomplishments in the rose world, but I’m definitely a better rose grower with your friendship and mentoring.


2016 Programs

We have a wonderful line up of meetings for 2016. See list below…

GUESTS: These meetings are open to the public so come and join the rosey fun.




TUES, MARCH 8, 6:30 pm 

Sullivan Munce Center / 205 W Hawthorne St / Zionsville

Welcome & Announcements: Linda Kimmel, President

Roll  Call: Teresa Byington, VP

2016 Program Highlights: Humberto DeLuca

Intro Board and Rosefest: Teresa Byington

Program: Mark Nolen / Spring Care & Pruning

Roundtable: John Hefner / 2015 Rose Experiences

Door Prizes/Raffle


TUES, APRIL 12, 6:30 pm 

Sullivan Munce Center / 205 W Hawthorne St / Zionsville

Welcome & Announcements: Linda Kimmel, President

Roll Call: Teresa Byington, VP
Roll Call: Your Favorite Rose Garden Book

Mini Program: Monica Taylor / Growing Roses in Containers

Mini Program: Teresa Byington / Rose Companions

Roundtable: John Hefner /  Chemicals & Midge Controls

Door Prizes/Raffle


TUE, MAY 10, 6:30 pm  

Sullivan Munce Center  /  205 W Hawthorne St / Zionsville

Welcome & Announcements: Linda Kimmel, President

Program: Dr. Mark Windham / University of Tennessee     

Rose Rosette Disease and Other Major Rose Issues

Roundtable: John Hefner / Fertilizer and Soil Amendments

Door Prizes/Raffle


SAT, JUNE 11, 9:30 am-5pm


Details here.

Hamilton County Fairgrounds

2003 Pleasant St, Noblesville, IN


RSVP only (see info below)

Mark & Cathy Nolen’s home

7457 Donegal Lane

Indianapolis, IN 46217-5478

RSVP: 317-859-4142

Pitch-in: Bring your favorite wine and a hearty appetizer.


TUES, AUGUST 9, 6:30 pm

Sullivan Munce Center  /  205 W Hawthorne St / Zionsville

Welcome & Announcements: Linda Kimmel, President

Roll Call: Teresa Byington, VP

Mini Program: Carol Tumbas / Rose Fragrance

Mini Program: Edible Roses

Roundtable: Humberto DeLuca / Diseases this Season and How to Deal With Them

Door Prizes/Raffle



Sullivan Munce Center  /  205 W Hawthorne St / Zionsville

Welcome & Announcements: Linda Kimmel, President

Roll Call: Teresa Byington, VP

Program: Eloisa Garza / Prison Garden Program

Roundtable: John Hefner / Fall Care & Winterizing / pH Soil Testing

Everyone who wants a soil test, bring a cup of soil in a non-metal container.

Door Prizes/Raffle


TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 6:30 pm 

Sullivan Munce Center  /  205 W Hawthorne St / Zionsville

Welcome & Announcements: Linda Kimmel, President

Roll Call: Teresa Byington, VP

Program: Diane Brueckman / The Future of Roses

Roundtable: Humberto DeLuca / 2016 Successes & Failures

Door Prizes/Raffle

Rosefest 2016: Timeless beauty for today’s gardens

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Indianapolis Rose Society invites you to a day filled with roses!

June 11 / 9:30 am – 5 pm
Hamilton County Fairgrounds
2003 Pleasant Street / Noblesville, IN

CONTACT: Monica Taylor at or 317.514.7284

Schedule for the day…

  • Tea in the HCMGA Rose Garden: 9:30 -11:30 am (Free)
    • Sponsored by the Hamilton Country Master Gardener Association.
  • Rose Display in Exhibition Center opens at 10:30 am (Free)
    • Public is invited to judge the rose displays.
  • Lectures 12:30 – 4 pm ($10) (Tickets required)
    • $10 ticket – entrance to all three lectures! Limited seating for lectures. (Tickets will go fast… let us know if you want them, here or contact Monica @
  • Rose display winners announced at 4 pm.

Speakers … 

Take a look at this rose dream team…

Peggy Martin of New Orleans, LA
12:30 – 1:30 pm | Program: Old Garden Roses
Peggy is the VP of the Heritage Rose Foundation and owner of the original Peggy Martin Rose, the rose that survived Hurricane Katrina.

Carol Tumbas of Bloomington, IN
1:45 – 2:45 pm | Program: Hardy, Sustainable Shrub Roses
Carol is the former President of the Indianapolis Rose Society, a well respected rosarian and grower of more than 500 roses.

Gaye Hammond of Houston, TX
3 – 4 pm | Program: Earth-Kind Roses
Gaye is a noted expert of the Texas A & M Earth-Kind Program and lectures nationwide about growing roses in no spray conditions.

Additional Information

  • Roses and rose products will be available for purchase.
  • Roses and rose arrangements from member’s garden will be on display.
  • The public is invited to judge displays.
  • There will be educational resources on roses and rose culture.
  • Download flyer here.   



CONTACT: Monica Taylor at or 317.514.7284

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