Two years ago I was in conversation with David Zlesak and lamenting the fact that Ralph Moore's famous 0-47-19, although a good breeder for many purposes, tended to produce a vast majority of pink or white seedlings. (Out of the small percentage of repeat bloomers it bred: more than 2/3 are once blooming) David suggested that I try his Polyantha shrub 'Candy Oh Vivid Red' on 0-47-19, as he felt that it could impart better color. As a bonus, it was a confirmed diploid (as was 0-47-19) and so I could establish a remontant diploid line out of R. wichurana, hopefully in red. Well, clever fellow that he is, David's hunch was right; 66-09 has indeed produced a handful of good rich red seedlings. The selection displayed here is one of about 5 that have very rich coloring. All selections so far have been 5 petaled, which isn't surprising considering the parentage. All have glossy Wichurana style foliage and most have a distinct Musk scent. (No sweet component whatsoever)
At this point I am visualizing these selections as breeding specimens only, but who knows. Perhaps one or two of these will mature to have excellent garden-worthiness properties, in which case they may become candidates for release. I;ll post photos of some of the siblings as they mature.
This cross was made with the goals of creating a breeding stock plant that was 1) a diploid, 2) well pigmented in the red range, 3) exhibited many of the R. wichurana traits such as disease resistance, attractive foliage, abundance of bloom and ease of propagation. With any luck, some or all of these criteria will be found in this seedling, or one of its siblings.
I cannot comment on the mature growth habit of the shrub. That is to be determined in the next 24 months. I list this as a diploid seedling since both parents are confirmed diploids. It is unlikely that it is anything but a diploid.