John has a number of unregistered varieties being grown by Certified Roses
. Once they are evaluated and registered, they will be included in Modern Roses
In his breeding program, one of John's goals is to produce exhibition "Phototropic"
characteristics giving each rose a different appearance depending on sunlight and temperature at the time they bloom.
[From Modern Roses 10
, p. 732:] John Sheldon, Arlington Heights, Illinois.
John provided this biographical information:
In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s my daughter, Robyn, and I hybridized a number of new rose varieties. Many are registered and some such as Hollywood Star, Golden Age, Hopie Girl, Strawberry Romance, O'Rilla and Delicate Lady are also commercially available. Our breeding program focused on producing Exhibition, Phototropic and Thermotropic roses. Our goal, was to "Increase the interest in roses; by making roses more interesting.". Phototropic roses change color based on sunlight, thermotropic roses change color based on temperature. Some roses fade in the sun, others darken, and some actually change colors. Roses such as 'Double Delight', 'Color Magic' and 'Paradise' all show these traits. In our breeding program, we worked to bring these traits out in exhibition roses. It was an area of hybridizing largely ignored by others. At one point these traits were actually seen as faults. 'Double Delight' was almost discarded because it was thought to be just another WHITE rose. Only later were it's phototropic characteristics seen when it turned red in the sun.
We strived to make each new rose exhibition quality and distinctly different. In recent years, I have carried on without my daughter and continue to focus on our original goal. Many varieties are currently being tested by commercial nurseries for possible introduction and new releases will be available in the coming years.
In the early 1990’s Dot and Bill McMahon worked on a process for long term storage of roses called Dry-wrapping. The process was first reported on in the 1952 Annual of the American Rose Society, but met with little success. With the advancement of gas permeable membranes such as Saran Wrap the success improved; however, bloom quality was still not sufficient for exhibition roses. By modifying the process and changing materials I was able to produce a number of Queens, including an Illinois-Indiana district queen and district McFarland, a Central Dristict Queen, King and Princess, and a national gold for horticultural excellence of a rose exhibited in an arrangement in Houston, Tx . That rose had been dry-wrapped for 46 days! In 1992, a professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) studied many chemical and other methods for preserving roses. He presented his results at the Boston National Convention of the American Rose Society, where he concluded that the dry-wrap process was the most successful of all methods studied. Following his report, I donated a slide program on my method to the American Rose Society and wrote numerous articles for the American Rose Magazine (available through the American Rose Society), Exhibitors Forum, and Canadian Rose Annual (available through the Canadian Rose Society), to help others store and exhibit better roses.
As a former statistics instructor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha I became interested in determining if there was a statistically significant difference in pruning methods. This resulted in two new techniques known as ” Knuckle Pruning" and "Double Cutting." which produce exceptional plants and exhibition blooms by minimizing stress and maximizing nutrients to the developing canes.
I have also served the American Rose Society as a consulting rosarian, accredited horticultural judge, member of the Long Range Planning committee, and Executive Committee of the American Rose Center.
In 1993 I moved from Arlington Heights, IL to 10 acres in St. Charles, IL and in December of 2003 I moved from Illinois to Youngsville, North Carolina where I built a large garden for breeding roses. I was Chairman of the board of directors for the Wilson Rose Garden in Wilson, NC. until December 2006 when I moved to Chandler, TX (near Tyler) to be closer to Certified Roses. Certified built me a garden for breeding stock and one for seedling evaluations on their property. I continue to maintain a home in NC as well where limited breeding activities and evaluations are still being carried on.