Monday, April 20, 2009


I've been talking a few times recently about the results I am getting using Ralph Moore's breeder "Magseed", so I think its time I spoke a bit about it in more detail. This is a sister seedling to 'Linda Campbell', ('Anytime' X 'Rugosa Magnifica') the remarkable Hybrid Rugosa that can be grown to perfection in almost any climate. It is reported to prosper in zones as cold as USDA 4, and is probably good to zone 3 in a protected location. 'Linda Campbell' is however, sterile. Most first generation Rugosa hybrids are. (I regard 'Rugosa Magnifica' as a "pure" Rugosa, and that would make 'Linda Campbell' the first outcrossing into a very different line of breeding) "Magseed" on the other hand is quite fertile. As its name suggests, it does produce seeds, but it is far more fertile as a male (pollen) parent. It tends to make one or two seeds per hip, so unless you have a very large, mature specimen, work with it as a seed bearer is going to be very slow. Better to use it for pollen and work with a generous seed bearer.

I firmly believe that ideally, you should look at no less than 100 seedlings from any one cross to see the full breadth of what that cross can represent. Of course, you don't always get that opportunity; I make some crosses every year that result in hundreds of seeds, and then only five germinate. Bad combination of genes; can't always be avoided. I will make a few crosses using "Magseed" as the seed bearer, but the majority of crosses will employ it as a pollen donor.

What does it offer as a breeder? Well, based on my selections to date, it tends to breed large (6 feet plus) upright shrubs with bold, dense foliage, thick thorny canes, large blooms, good color (including some bicolors with paler reverses or a picotee petal edge coloring) and if you are lucky, a decent fragrance. Some of the hybrids I am currently evaluating have excellent Blackspot resistance as well. (I will describe 105-04-08 and other "Magseed" offspring in upcoming posts)

I think "Magseed" has the potential to breed a new race of hybrids that offer excellent shrub architecture (very important to me), improved Winter hardiness and hopefully, immunity to Blackspot, the bane of Rosedom.

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