Meet the Plant Collections & Records Intern: Chase Krug

close up of a Buck rose in piinks

My name is Chase Krug, and I am the Plant Collections & Records intern for summer 2020! I am from Marion, Iowa, and currently a junior at Iowa State University majoring in Agronomy. My duties as the Plant Collections & Records intern include collecting phenology data, updating plant records, updating garden maps, organizing plant educational outreach called the Plants of Interest table, creating plant accession tags and making display plant labels.

My leadership project focuses on propagating Buck rose cultivars in the Dr. Griffith Buck Rose Collection to create a backup collection that will safeguard the renowned rose collection. The Dr. Griffith Buck Rose Collection at Reiman Gardens is my favorite plant collection we have here at Reiman Gardens because of its uniqueness and historic ties to Iowa State University.

Griffith J. Buck served as a horticulture professor at Iowa State University from 1949 to 1985 and is credited with the creation of nearly 90 cold hardy and disease resistant rose cultivars. Dr. Griffith Buck wanted gardeners to be able to grow hybrid-tea style rose varieties without needing winter protection or requiring the use of pesticides to thrive. His breeding program only selected roses that were able to survive the severe winters of Iowa and had little to no disease problems such as blackspot caused by the fungus Diplocarpon rosae.

Dr. Buck’s work which focused on the creation of low-maintenance and disease resistant cultivars is now considered ahead of its time. The rose market at the time of his breeding work did not focus on traits such as disease resistance because rosarians readily sprayed pesticide to prevent outbreaks of disease. Dr. Buck’s rose breeding work went relatively unnoticed until the early 2000’s when a shift among gardeners occurred, who wanted new sustainable methods of pest control away from the use of pesticides, and toward low maintenance landscaping.

Today, his varieties have been important genetic sources of germplasm in creating modern disease resistant roses. The Reiman Gardens Buck Rose Collection holds the largest number of rose cultivars developed by Dr. Griffith Buck. The collection is registered with the North American Plant Collections Consortium which is a network of public gardens and arboreta that helps coordinate approaches for plant germplasm preservation and the use of high plant collection standards. The Buck Rose Collection serves as a living genetic resource for rose breeders to develop improved disease resistant cultivars.

By Chase Krug