Monday, August 8, 2011

Back to Rugosa origins

26-09-04, Parentage: 'Hansa' X "Magseed". Appearance-wise this is a completely unremarkable hybrid, but I value what it represents genetically. The pollen parent was given to me by it's creator Ralph Moore years ago; a cross of 'Anytime' and 'Rugosa Magnifica'. By crossing it back to an older "purebred" Rugosa I hoped to regain some of the Rugosa strength, character and, hopefully, health while infusing some of the modern miniature traits like generosity of bloom.

Clearly this seedling is not just a selfing of 'Hansa' since it has that odd "antler" pubescence often seen in Rugosa/modern hybrids. It has yet to be seen if this cultivar has merit as a garden shrub, but I plan on working it forward with other diploid breeding lines. I see a marriage with 'Therese Bugnet' in it's future.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I am announcing my decision to take a sabbatical from rose hybridizing. This may in fact lead to "retirement" from the work in time; I am open to that possibility. Right now, I have ceased generating new seedlings will and spend the next two seasons evaluating what I already have. After that, who knows.

This "hobby" (for surely that is what I must call it since it doesn't pay for itself; it is a drain on my resources, both monetary and emotional) has reached a scale that is unmanageable and so I have to look very hard at what there is here and be ruthless in removing anything that does not approach perfection. (and since perfection is so very conspicuous by its absence from most roses, that ought to be easy enough) With any luck, this approach will reduce the volume of plants, and the associated work load, to a fraction of its current state. Then, and only then, will I consider resuming the making of new crosses and raising more seedlings. I may not resume at all. Only time will tell.

As regards this blog; I make no promises that I will continue to post information. I will if the mood hits me, but for the most part I will focus my energy on the work at hand: reducing my work load and hard culling of materials. Wish me luck. And thanks for reading and contributing to this blog for the past two years. It has been a pleasure engaging my readers.

Paul Barden
June 27, 2011.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grapey surprise.

27-09-02: 'Midnight Blue' X "MORsoul". The latter is an unreleased Moore hybrid from 'Anytime' X R. soulieana. It was one parent of Ralph's lovely little 'Baby Austin'.

This was a huge surprise, color wise. I selected 'Midnight Blue' knowing that if anything could add color to a cross that might bleach out to pale pinks or peaches using most any other parent, 'Midnight Blue' could. I guess I wasn't wrong! This is the second selection that has bloomed in a very dark color. Much darker than anything I imagined possible. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that R. soulieana is represented on both sides of the parentage equation? Hmmm.

Bloom form is a bit disorganized, but that might right itself in time. It is already forming the next blooms just as the first is opening, and lots of new growth is appearing from the base, indicating a potentially shrubby, compact habit. Oh, and has a fragrance too. Fun, eh wot?

Moore's 'My Stars' as pollen parent

My Stars passes on thornlessness to most of it's offspring, apparently. Good color too!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Parentage: 42-03-02 X R. foliolosa.

This is a strikingly pretty red single, presumably a diploid, selected for further breeding. It appears very eager to set seed and hopefully I will start to see repeaters in the next gen. Very healthy plant! This is making me very pleased to have started over at the species level.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

R. wichurana variegata seedlings

2010 was the first time I had seen seeds form on R. wichurana variegata, aka 'Curiosity'. Needless to say, I gathered these promptly and set them in the fridge to stratify. What you see here is the result: green. No variegation of any kind; not even a hint. While disappointed, I can't exactly feign surprise, since the odds were good that the variegation, although genetic in origin, would not be inheritable. This suggests the factor is a sport/mutation that does not extend into the reproductive tissue layer, and so it won't get passed on to offspring.

Anyone interested in R. wichurana seedlings?! ;-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

87-09-01, an update

Pictured here is 87-09-01, a seedling from the 2009 cross of two species; R. soulieana and R. foliolosa. Both of my specimens are, I presume, diploids, and so I expect my seedlings are also. The cross was made with the idea of combining two very hardy, very healthy species while remaining strictly within the diploid realm.

The foliage, as I have noted in a post last year, is fragrant: somewhat like Raspberry and Pine combined. The plant has been immune to mildew and I would expect it to be similarly resistant to blackspot. (I won't know till later this year) The blooms, while unremarkable, are already being borne in large clusters on this 2 foot tall arching plant. Some panicles have over a dozen buds. Not surprising, given the parentage, the color is a soft "apple blossom pink" hue, and there is a modest scent.

For me, this is far from being a "finished" rose, but represents an avenue to make new hybrids that might escape many of the pitfalls all too easily inheritable from the standard Hybrid Tea/Floribunda class that currently dominate the marketplace. I think that the new garden shrub roses are going to have to be nearly indestructible compared to their predecessors; easy shrubs that provide four season interest. (interesting canes and architecture in winter, lots of bloom in the spring/summer, and colorful fall foliage, perhaps with bright hips as well) This seedling has already shown itself capable of providing colorful fall foliage, as have many of my R. foliolosa hybrids. Perhaps integration with Rugosa hybrids like 'Will Alderman' or 'Therese Bugnet' and repeat bloom will be reintroduced as well. I will also make crosses with David Zlesak's lovely red diploid 'Candy Oh Vivid Red', which has shown itself capable of breeding good rich reds when crossed with other diploids. (David's rose is also remarkably winter hardy and disease free in most climates. Well done David!)

Once there are more blooms of 87-09-01 open I might offer pollen to my colleagues, if interested. R. soulieana imparts great health, vigor and beauty to its offspring and this could be of value to other hybridizers.

Seedling 87-09-02, while seemingly as healthy and vigorous as 01 last year, has not been as nonchalant about our long, cold spring; its foliage has been "troubled" and the first round yellowed and dropped off. A sign of something I don't want to bring into a breeding line? Perhaps. I will watch it as the season develops. Many roses I grow here struggle to produce normal foliage until the weather settles into a warming trend.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

106-09-01, looking for a way to breed useful Rugosas.

Once in a while you happen upon a seedling that is willing to do some neat tricks for you. Serendipity plays a huge role in choosing which seedlings I save for evaluation. I don't dare think about all the thousands of seedlings I have discarded that may have harbored secret capabilities. Alas, we work with the ones we feel have potential and let the proverbial chips fall where they may.

I've often pondered Ralph Moore's work with the Rugosas. 'Rugosa Magnifica' (van Fleet) was once Ralph used often, as well as 'Belle Poitvine' and various selections of R. rugosa rubra. I am aware that Ralph often disregarded ploidy when choosing what crosses to make and I have come to feel that there are definitely occasions when matching ploidy is potentially beneficial. For instance, this year I am flowering out a group of diploid hybrids made with 'Therese Bugnet', most of which involve R. foliolosa or one of its hybrids. These were created with attention to matching diploid-to-diploid. More on these in a coming update.

One of the lucky choices I made was in selecting a self-pollinated seedling from 0-47-19 (Moore, 1947: R. wichurana X 'Floradora'), code number 42-03-02. I am presuming (and undoubtedly correctly so) that it is a diploid, like its parent. So, making the same assumption about 'Rugosa Magnifica', I put the latter's pollen on 42-03-02 in 2009. I got only two seedlings, both growing like dwarf Rugosas, with Rugosa character in every way. Neither flowered in 2010, both are in bloom right now. The second seedling, 106-09-02, isn't quite "right"; the blooms are like miniatures of the Rugosa pollen parent, but very muddled in form, not opening correctly at times. The one I do like is 106-09-01 pictured here. The photo barely conveys its luminous purple-magenta coloring and the shimmery texture of the petals. The blooms are not large; about 1.5 to 2.0" across. Every one has been a simple five-petaled bloom and there is plenty of pollen available. (Needless to say I am using the pollen on a wide variety of other diploids and more)

I hope this little shrub (it is still only 15" by 15") will grow up to be something pretty, because I think a 3 by 3 foot mature specimen loaded with flushes of these richly colored blooms would be remarkable. With its parentage, I would expect superior disease resistance as well. We'll see!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

155-10-01: Roxburghii, are you in there??

For years there has been much discussion about the pedigree of a number of roses that list the species R. roxburghii as a parent. The Tantau Floribunda 'Floradora' (1944, Germany), for example, lists 'Baby Château' as the seed parent and R. roxburghii as the pollen parent.

Now, at a glance, there isn't the slightest hint of the species parent in the look of 'Floradora', which has led many to doubt its listed parentage. I myself doubted Tantau's pedigree for the longest time, at least unbtil I had some experience in using certain species and near-species hybrids in breeding, especially when they were employed as pollen parents. Let me elaborate.

I frequently use certain seed parents in making crosses that might be impossible on many other parents. After a while, you start to recognize which of your seed parents are likely to be "door openers" when planning iffy crosses. Introducing certain species can be especially difficult; sometimes the chromosome counts don't match, or the two varieties are simply too distant from one another in the family. I believe there are other unknown factors that play a role in fertility. Whatever the case, I found that even when using very willing seed parents, certain pollens would result in seed that, once germinated, turned out to be the result of apomixis*.

Apomixis is what happens when pollen initiates the fertilization response in a plant, but once the pollen tubes grow into the ovary, the genes prove unusable. So, in an effort to salvage the seed making process, the plant instead duplicates its own genes, in effect cloning itself. In roses, I suspect there is some recombinant action occurring as well, since some of the individuals arising from such crosses are not identical to the parent plant, but appear to be highly similar. In some cases undoubtedly some selfing may also occur, perhaps the result of insect activity, or simply incomplete emasculation.

The seedling you see pictured here was an experiment designed to see what happens when a (supposed) second generation R. roxburghii hybrid (in this instance, Moore's 0-47-19 was used) was crossed once again with the species R. roxburghii. And so, what we have here is:

[R. wichurana X ('Baby Château' X R. roxburghii)] X R. roxburghii normalis. Clearly, assuming the Tantau parentage is correct, we have a lot of species genes in this plant. Now, when I made this cross I expected one of three possible scenarios: total rejection of the pollen, apomixis, or self-pollination by insect vectors. As it happens, I got only a few hips from the 40 plus pollinations, leading me to believe they were likely the result if insect fiddling. From the approximately 20 seeds I sowed I got two seedlings. The one illustrated here is the healthier of the two; the other is far less vigorous, but it is trying to build up steam. (Maybe our cold, prolonged spring isn't to its liking; I know its not making me feel great!)

Until this individual reached a certain size I was unwilling to make many assumptions about its pedigree. But now, I look at it and I come to the conclusion that this is actually, for real, a R. roxburghii hybrid. Look closely: the most recent leaves are now composed of nine leaflets, surely a sign that roxburghii is influencing its development. I don't expect to see flowers this year, which is fine. Right now I am just fascinated to see its vegetative development. I doubt this is any kind of proof of the presence of R. roxburghii in its ancestor, 'Floradora', but it does show that when using the species, the resulting seedlings can show clear evidence of roxburghii traits. Fascinating.

*For more on apomixis, see the Wikipedia article here.

Friday, May 20, 2011


17-09-02 = R. arkansana X 'Carlin's Rhythm'.

I'm determined to obtain a seedling from the delicate-looking-but-unbelievably-tough R. arkansana, a North American native. The species has richly scented single candy pink blooms, and certain select clones sometimes have subtle stripes or streaks of darker color on the petals. Mine doesn't, but mine does do something I hope to capitalize on; it blooms at least three times in the growing season: late May, again in July or early Augustm then again in late September or October.

My specimen of R. arkansana is a reluctant seed setter, rarely accepting pollen from anything but itself. However, I did manage to get two seedlings from a cross using Kim Rupert's beautiful 'Carlin's Rhythm'. This is the second of the two (the first was paler and not as nice) and displays large-ish blooms (about 2.5") in a deeper than average rose pink. The scent is rich and pure "old rose". Now, the trick is to try it in breeding to see if I can make the next step. It will have one copy of the modern hybrid remontancy gene, and at least once copy of the gene that makes my arkansana repeat, which may or may not be distinct from other forms of remontancy. As both parents are (at least in principle) tetraploids, I would expect this seedling to be a tetraploid also.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Apparently the striping is a fixed trait; the next bloom to open is identical. Excellent.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


220-09-02: "A supposed tetraploid form of R. rugosa" X Basye's Blueberry.

The seed parent is a rose shared with me by Joan Monteith about a decade ago. Joan did an experiment in which she treated a select form of R. rugosa with the chemical Colchicine with the hopes of doubling the plant's gene count from 2X to 4X, making it more compatible with most modern tetraploid hybrids. It has not been determined with any certainty that this Rugosa is in fact a Colchicine-induced tetraploid; measurements of pollen diameter has been inconclusive. However, I have pursued breeding concepts that presume it a tetraploid and I will simply evaluate the results as I proceed.

Case in point; today's seedling. 220-09-02 is the first seedling from this "presumed tetra Rugosa" X 'Basye's Blueberry' cross. Of the dozen or so seedlings I got from the cross, remarkably not a one has the classic Rugosa foliage. In fact, most all lean heavily towards the look of the Basye parent, which comes as a huge surprise. (Most R. rugosa hybrids in the first generation show strong Rugosa influence, often obliterating all of the other parent's qualities)

The flower is small, at just under 2", quite heavily Clove-scented, thick of petal and most remarkably, each petal has a strong white streak down the middle. Don't ask me where this trait came from. I do know that Ralph Moore once showed me a Rugosa hybrid with about 15 petals that showed the same petal streak, and it was striking. Pollen has been gathered from this seedling and will be placed on a number of tetraploid seed parents I have assigned for the purpose of testing pollen fertility. In the meantime, I look forward to evaluating this plant for sturdiness and disease resistance. I am hopeful, given its pedigree, that Blackspot resistance might be superb.

Monday, May 16, 2011


165-09-03: another approach to working with R. foliolosa. Click on the photo to view a larger version.

A few days ago I mentioned 44-09-13, one of my Foliolosa/Therese Bugnet hybrids. In the case of 44-09-13, the seed parent was a second generation R. foliolosa hybrid, whereas with today's seedling, 165-09-03, R. foliolosa itself plays that role. Both crosses utilize Therese Bugnet as the pollen donor. The idea was simply to make some Therese Bugnet crosses using any/all diploids I had on hand and which I knew to be decent seed bearers. The R. foliolosa approach was, to me, particularly appealing since it was such a healthy, Winter hardy individual. R. foliolosa also imparts on its progeny Fall foliage coloring to make the most dramatic of Maples and Sumacs envious; fiery oranges, yellows overlaid with flame red. I have come to think that modern roses ought to have some degree of "four season appeal".

I consider the seedling pictured here to be pretty much intermediate between its parents, although the flower itself leans more towards Therese Bugnet in size and petal count. The bloom has a moderately intense Rugosa scent; a welcome trait, to be sure. (The weather has been abysmally cold this Spring, so maybe when/if it warms up, the fragrance will be more intense.) The foliage could easily be said to resemble either parent, since both have fern-like feathery foliage that is narrow of leaflet and pleasantly matte in texture.

Pollen has been collected from both this seedling and its relative, 44-09-13, to be tested for fertility this year. I will try to limit myself to working it on other diploids and maybe a triploid or two, but I might just dust a few blooms of Midnight Blue while I'm at it. I won't let the creation of triploids (and their potential for sterility) stop me from making a cross once I have a few foundation plants established in the confines of a given ploidy. As Ralph so often said, "The rose will find a way."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


44-09-13 = (R. foliolosa X 'Little Chief') X 'Therese Bugnet'

This is the first of this group of seedlings to bloom. Hardly an exciting flower, really, but not a surprising result, really, considering how significant a role R. rugosa plays in its pedigree. The fragrance, in fact, is pure Rugosa: richly Clove-like. The foliage is pure 'Therese Bugnet'; ferny, with narrow leaflets, and that odd matte texture. The foliage has been impermeable to the standard diseases so far, but testing in earnest for Blackspot won't happen till the selections are planted out in the open garden.

For now, I am collecting pollen from some of these selections to test as breeders. I don't consider these individuals as "finished" works, but as potential stepping stones towards improved cold climate-friendly plants.

You can view info about the seed parent here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

121-06-14: impressions in year five.

Breeding roses is not a game for the "instant gratification" crowd. Patience, for us, is not a virtue, it is a requirement.

Cross #121-06 was created in Spring 2006; that is when I selected pollen from Austin's 'Tradescant' and placed it on blooms of my own seedling, 174-02-17 ('Sheri Anne' X 'Out of Yesteryear'). The foloowing year, probably April 2007, this seedling first appeared in a tray of seed mix topped with a generous layer of Perlite (for Damping Off suppression, did you know?) Although I do not have any notes to indicate when I first saw it flower, chances are it bloomed for the first time in June or July of 2007. The first bloom probably did little more than hint at bloom color and form, but apparently it was enough to make me select it for potting on for further observation.

In later Winter 2008, however, this seedling was almost destroyed by a week's worth of hard freezes that went down into the low teens every night. It was still in a 5 gallon container and rose roots don't like freezing solid while in pots. Long story short, it did survive, although it took more than a year to recover its vigor. 2010 showed me what a potential jewel this seedling was, with its deep garnet/purple swirls of petals, reminding me sometimes of 'Charles de Mills' or some such anachronistic creature. But unlike its Gallic brethren, this lad blooms in flushes through the growing season; pretty much a requirement for modern hybrids. (Although I am often found arguing for the merits of the elegant once bloomers)

I'm not done passing judgement on this seedling; it has yet to tell me much about ease of propagation, or its ultimate disease resistance out in the open test bed. It isn't yet as big as it will get when fully matured, and so I need to be quite sure this dark Swan doesn't turn rabid in year 6 or 7 and produce all manner of rank growth, breaking from its compact grace and going all "Audrey" on me. Time, as they say, will tell.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Midnight Blue, just because.

I was documenting seedlings in "number four" yesterday and took the opportunity to photograph one of my favorite moderns, 'Midnight Blue', by Tom Carruth. Echoing a recent comment by Jim Sproul, it is one of the few named varieties I still use in breeding. (I mostly use my own proprietary hybrids nowadays)

'Midnight Blue' is a truly amazing shrub. What color! It is also a very willing and capable seed/pollen parent; it is one of the few roses I can expect consistently good numbers of fertile seeds from, regardless of what the pollen parent placed on it.

Busy day, off to work!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Proving fertility of the R. fedtschenkoana hybrids.

A few years back, Kim Rupert graciously shared with me one of his experimental hybrids, 'Orangeade' X R. fedtschenkoana, a white flowered species-like hybrid designed to be used as a breeder plant. It took a while for my plant to settle into its invironment, but settle in it did! It is now a thicket (ever-spreading, I might add) about 8 feet across and 10 feet high. Contrary to expectations for such a cross, it does rebloom, although only modestly. Mine does not set seed, but offers potently fertile pollen.

The cross 54-08, made in 2008, combined this fedtschenkoana hybrid with 'Midnight Blue', a marvelous Carruth hybrid with a deliciously mixed pedigree. (I look at hybrids with widely varied genetic backgrounds as an indicator of potential health and vigor; stirring the same old pot of genes is deadly)

54-08-03 was one of the first of about ten seedlings to bloom, and one of about four that I have selected for further breeding. Blooms are actually more lavender than they appear in photos. I recently germinated the first seedlings of crosses using this seedling, and some of its siblings. I don't know where this breeding line is going to end up taking me, but the R. fedtschenkoana genes are proving to be capable of imparting unique foliage, architecture and vigor traits to offspring. Seedlings also tend to hold on to the unusual "linseed oil" scent of the species parent. Not everyone is going to appreciate this fragrance, but I like its uniqueness. The foliage also tends to have a Pine-Cedar scent to it.

Busy day ahead; breeding has begun in earnest in the past 24 hours, as the main stud house explodes into bloom. I must go attend!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

L83 in bloom

L83, the AgCan Kordesii breeder is in bloom now. Pollen available upon request, for the hybridizers reading this.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Consistently beautiful; 25-07-07

You must be getting bored of photos of this one. *laughs* I just wish you could see it in person. The photo barely does it justice, especially since you have to inhale the perfectly suitable fragrance that it possesses. (It smells purple!) Parentage: 'Midnight Blue' X 'Pinstripe'. Here is an older post about it.

This seedling is in line for commercial release in the next year or two, pending propagation of sufficient quantities.

Another busy morning; I need to get out and start potting up the hundreds of new seedlings into 3" pots. I am pleasantly surprised by the number of 'Belle Poitvine' hybrids I got from a cross with one of my old R. foliolosa hybrids. I need to use that thing more often, I think.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Textures everywhere I look.

Busy morning, collecting pollen, cleaning up last year's selections, etc, etc., so I will be brief.

A great photo of Ralph Moore's experimental seedling "C-04", bred from 'Crested Jewel'. It was hoped to be a useful link to creating better crested Floribunda-style roses, but it was a flop as a breeder: the offspring were duds. But it remains in my collection of curious novelties where it is appreciated regularly for its unique parsley-like sepals.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Ralph Moore gem

It's the last week in April, and like clockwork, Ralph's old moss hybrid "Orange Moss" is in bloom once again. (Ralph often referred to it as simply "OM") It is one of the first roses to bloom in the stud house and it never fails to enthuse me when it opens that first half dozen intensely pigmented blooms. It seems so perfectly right to me that the richly fragrant blooms have a scent much like the "orange juice" fragrance of 'Soleil d'Or'. Undoubtedly this is not a coincidence, as the latter can be found in the pedigree of Orange Moss. Parentage is 'Mark Sullivan' X 'Golden Moss'. The moss pollen parent is a Pedro Dot hybrid. Dot, in many ways, shared a great deal with Moore, creatively, pursuing all manner of offbeat breeding lines, daring to invent what no-one else had imagined possible.

Although this is an awkward grower with wiry long canes that leap out ten feet in all the wrong directions, it is a noteworthy footnote in Moore's development of the yellow and orange toned mini-mosses that followed in the subsequent forty years.

When used in breeding, Orange Moss is a difficult plant at best; it won't set seed with foreign pollen, and the offspring are often uniformly dreadful. (Ralph insisted that he never got viable seed of any kind from it, although in 2010 I germinated three open pollinated seeds from it) Indeed, it must have been that one lucky seedling in 500 that showed any promise. It is a testament to Moore that he was able to coerce this unruly once-bloomer to sire anything of value at all.

By the way, pollen will be available upon request, for those brave enough to make use of it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mislabeled seedling.


It happens: seedlings get mislabeled. This one was from a batch identified as 'Old Blush' x self, which it clearly is not. Sometimes a few seeds stray into the adjacent row of another cross during sowing, and sometimes a seedling drops onto the work bench during repotting and loses its identity that way. There are numerous ways for an individual to become misidentified. Myriad are the tribulations for the hybridizer attempting to document (accurately?) his work. Alas.

Since I did a lot of work with 'Midnight Blue' in 2006, I am assuming this is one of its progeny. What the other parent might have been is up for debate. Could have been 'Tradescant', 'Dragon's Blood', 'Arthur Bell', or 'Brown Velvet'; all four were used in 2006. I could guess, but that would be pointless, since I have seen similar seedlings result from a wide variety of crosses. Ah well, its a decent individual, and has earned a spot out in the final test garden. Its all fun and games, ain't it? *laughs*

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

26-09-14, a few days later.

For a rose hybridizer, that sudden rush of seedlings flowering for the first time is a lot like Christmas: each one a gift that nobody has ever seen before, the product of much patience and tender cultivation. Such anticipation. Except its a kind if alternate reality Christmas where Tim Burton has made the rules: most of the presents are lumps of coal, with the occasional utilitarian pair of socks in grey or white. Nothing offensive, nothing exciting......and so many lumps of coal. We all aim, us hybridizers, to create diamonds. Lots of 'em. But the reality is that most of what we get is dull chunks of carbon by the bushel. So be it. The diamonds do appear, if only rarely.

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of a bud of a 'Hansa' hybrid I had been anticipating. This is what I got:

A throwback to its species origin. Ah well. Perhaps it has a trick or two up its sleeve yet. After all, genetically it has an infusion on both sides of its ancestry of non-Rugosa genes. It might look like an ordinary R. rugosa, but what about its genotype? Maybe it will breed something more interesting. Maybe its not a lump of coal at all, maybe it is a sock after all: a sock with a purpose.

0-47-19 poised to bloom

Remember this earlier photo?

Friday, April 15, 2011


26-09-14: Hansa X "Magseed"
I have owned Hansa for nearly thirty-five years, and this is the first time I have used it in breeding. (Although I used a twelve year old propagation of the original plant as the seed parent) It took fifteen years of meddling with rose genetics for me to realize how much I needed to be working with the Rugosas, although I occasionally used one or other of the Hybrid Rugosas in combination with various other moderns, usually with dreadful results. (I believe the Rugosas are especially incompatible with roses descended from the China section of the family, often resulting in severe health problems. If you have ever grown Rose a Parfum de l'Hay, you will know what I mean)

So in 2009 I rethought what I was doing with Rugosas and decided to take a rather different route: I combined strongly related Hybrid Rugosas with each other, and with various diploid species. This cross was inspired by David Austin's Rugosa, Mrs. Doreen Pike, a cross of Martin Frobisher and Roseraie de l'Hay. (Don't confuse the latter with aforementioned Hybrid Rugosa I spoke of disparagingly: these two are very different animals.) essentially Austin was crossing two roses of Strong Rugosa pedigree and recovered most of the Rugosa character, while introducing a more double, elaborate bloom form. The plant has also recovered much of the Rugosa health, which is a very welcome thing.

Back to this seedling, 26-09-14: it is now about 13 months old and about to open it's first bloom. The plant itself is indistinguishable from it's species ancestors, with the same bright green, rugosa foliage and stocky, thorny growth. This seedling, and all of it's 15 siblings, are completely disease free so far, but it's early to make any long term predictions about health until the selections have spend a couple years out in the garden. Still, I sense that these are promising. The exposed petals so far indicate a typical deep Rugosa magenta hue, which isn't a bad thing, in my opinion. I am hopeful some will be more of a red color, something inheritable from Magseed. (by the way, Magseed is a sibling of Linda Campbell, from a cross of the miniature Anytime X Rugosa Magnifica, with blooms that start out a bright Cherry red and fade to more of a magenta.) I am hoping that this seedling picks up some of Anytime's fast and generous rebloom habit. At this point, I can only guess. And hope!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

First pollination 2011

Pteragonis X Suzanne
Curiouser and curiouser.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cross #155-10

0-47-19 X R. roxburghii normalis

Cross #16-10

Westerland X Marianne
Rather excited to see the first of these.

Cross #150-10

Anytime X Suzanne

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shrub shape

With every passing year, am more and more concerned with the shrub habit of the roses I breed. The rose shown here illustrates why: the plant has rounded, compact form, is foliated right to the base of the plant, and the bloom is well distributed over the entire canopy. I consider the effect to be extremely pleasing and much more attractive than the majority of Hybrid Teas that have dominated commerce for more than a century.
This is 'Treasure Trail' one of my relatively recent Moss Shrubs introduced by Rogue Valley Roses. It resulted from a cross of 'Condoleezza' and 'Scarlet Moss', both Ralph Moore Moss hybrids, and both descended from Moore's first miniature Moss, 'Fairy Moss'. I expect 'Treasure Trail' has inherited it's compact nature and bloom distribution habit from both sides of it's ancestry; both are small/smallish plants with lots of branching and tend to flower on short laterals.
I expect that compact, free-blooming shrubs like this are going to be easier to market in the years to come, with few people caring to invest a lot of energy into caring for a garden; folks are going to pick one or two roses for patio pots or to integrate into a modest mixed border, and they will want a plant that doesn't require chronic manicuring in order to make a presentable plant. The specimen you see below has, in fact, not been pruned or shaped in any way in two seasons, and yet it maintains an attractive outline and continues to perform well.
What do YOU think? Is this the kind of plant that appeals to you, and if so, what do you like about it?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

From the photo library: Ralph Moore's quest for the crest.

I found this great photo of buds of Ralph's crested breeder, C-04. It is a back-cross of Crested Jewel onto Little Darling, its momma. This is a very dwarf plant, to two feet, and lacking vigor. It does, however, bloom like as mad thing, and passes the cresting on to offspring. But the offspring are invariably weak plants with very poor vigor and zero disease resistance. I keep it as a novelty and a reminder of the good old days with Ralph and Carolyn at the nursery.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The first seeds are up already.

Curiously, it's a cross of R. arkansana and Lilac Charm!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

192-09-04: revisiting the Hybrid Bracteatas?

Years ago Ralph Moore urged me to take home a plant of his 1999 Hybrid Bracteata 'Out of Yesteryear' for breeding purposes. He felt it offered the greatest potential for hybridizing what had been till that point a rather difficult species to work with. (You can obtain hybrids from R. bracteata but the offspring are often weak, infertile, or die before reaching flowering size, making further hybridizing difficult or impossible.) Ralph was right, of course; 'Out of Yesteryear' proved a valuable parent in the work I was doing in the early 2000s. However.....

'Out of Yesteryear' has its limitations. For me, the biggest obstacle was its tendency to wash most of the color out of its progeny. You could cross it with the darkest yellows, the richest oranges and reds and end up with pale buttery yellows, pinks and the occasional peachy "art shade". Oh, and white. Lots and lots of white. I quickly began to focus on working with the most strongly pigmented offspring, moving away from 'Out of Yesteryear' as quickly as possible. One such seedling was 174-02-17, which I have spoken of several times. (Click the link to see the posts mentioning it) Still, I wished there was a true RED Bracteata hybrid to work with. So, periodically I have gone back to 'Muriel', Moore's original hybrid, to poke around in its gene pool in search of better color.

Enter stage left: 192-09-04. The seedling pictured here is a cross of ('Penny Ante' X 'Tradescant') and 'Muriel'. The seedling used as seed parent is one I find I often go to to search for color in difficult situations. While the plant itself is very stiffly upright in the manner of many Hybrid Teas, it produces astonishing panicles of up to 40 blooms and does not exceed six feet in height. It will take pollen from absolutely anything and most all seeds germinate, so it has become a kind of "go to guy" in my arsenal of breeders.

So, in May of 2009 I dash a bit of 'Muriel' pollen on a few blooms of it and voila! We have the seedling pictured above. I can't provide a lot of data about the plant yet, as it made only minimal growth in year one: it is still only 14" tall and three branches. It bloomed twice in year one, which suggests it will be free blooming. It appears to have no pistils/stigmas, so it is likely to function as a pollen parent only, assuming there is any fertility there at all. (I have seen little evidence of stamens yet either, but won't rule out the possibility until it is older) Only time and trial will tell. Still, I am hopeful. It has remarkably good coloring for a 'Muriel' hybrid; perhaps I tapped in to the 'Guinee' red in its background when mating it with my "Penny-trad".

Side note: sowing the 2010 crop of seed today, hoping to finish up the task. (I started two days ago) I can't believe its THAT time already! Yikes. Have a good weekend, all.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Unseasonable weather = unwelcome weather.

I've spent the past 48 hours moving far too many container roses into two of the six greenhouses so they can be protected in a propane-heated space during this cold snap. (Last night was not as cold as the anticipated 22F; tonight is expected to be as low as 15F!!! New foliage doesn't appreciate that kind of cold, ugh.)

The photo isn't particularly relevant to the discussion, it just illustrates that a bit of snow here, rare as it is, can render a pretty landscape. (panoramic image courtesy of my iPhone 4. Our technology is truly remarkable, ain't it?!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

It only took a year.

R. glauca X ('Orangeade' R. fedtschenkoana)

This cross was planted in late February of 2010, and this is one of two seedlings that germinated in the tray.....a full year later! I had a feeling that these R. glauca seeds might take quite a while to germinate, so I kept the flat for a year. Good thing I did!

I'm not at all sure what to expect from a cross like this, but I am quite certain there will be no reblooming seedlings here. Like many hybridizers, I am interested in R. glauca because of its exceptionally graceful shrub architecture, and its unique bluish/pink tinted foliage. (Not to mention its excellent Winter hardiness, something most modern remontants lack entirely) The Rupert-bred R. fedtschenkoana hybrid that played pollen donor also has some unique traits, including its shrubby bush form and matte foliage that, while a bright grass green itself, tends to pass on bluish tones to its offspring. If I'm very lucky, I might find this is a match that emphasizes blue-tinted foliage so valued in R. glauca. It is a difficult species to work with, apparently, and even germinating the seeds, as I have seen, can be a challenge.

Further reading: Louis Riel is one of the more interesting R. glauca hybrids in commerce, and has been proven fertile in breeding. Very interesting indeed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

An in depth look at Moore's yellow breeder, 1-72-1

“1-72-1” (1972):
Breeding: ‘Little Darling’ X ‘Yellow Magic’

1-72-1 is a sibling to Moore's most famous yellow, 'Rise 'N' Shine'. It is in many ways a nearly identical rose except in stature; where 'Rise 'N' Shine' is a compact plant rarely exceeding 15 inches, 1-72-1 is much larger, with somewhat arching canes to three feet or more. Both roses have a beautifully clear yellow coloring that even forty years later is hard to improve upon, but of the two I think 'Rise 'N' Shine' has the more elegant flower form.
At the time of their creation Moore was referring to shrubs like 1-72-1 as "climbing miniatures" in order to improve their marketability. It would have been very difficult in the 1970's and 1980's to sell a "miniature" rose that grew to 4 X 4 feet!

Most people don't realize that 1-72-1 almost made it into commerce in the '70s, as a kind of larger version of 'Rise 'N' Shine'; Moore submitted the rose for the American Rose Society's Award of Excellence program, and Ralph said that if it won the award, he'd put it on the market. Unfortunately it didn't win, and so it remained at Sequoia Nursery where it was put to work as a breeder. Maybe it was better that way, as it turns out to have been one of the most important miniature breeders of Moore's career, and he made good use of it. Over the years it became clear to Moore that 1-72-1 was much more able to breed strongly colored offspring than its sibling 'Rise 'N' Shine', which tended to breed a lot of whites and very pale hues. Kim Rupert has more to say about this outstanding breeding plant:

“The final unsung hero of this tale is a relative new comer. Her sister got all the glory, while she was the wallflower. I guess it’s kind of hard to be noticed when your sister is the legendary ‘Rise N Shine’. “1-72-1” came from the same cross of ‘Little Darling’ X ‘Yellow Magic’ that produced ‘Rise N Shine’, and was selected in 1972. She was chosen as a parent because she consistently produces yellow seedlings, while ‘Rise N Shine’ gives mostly white ones. In the eighteen years of introductions of her offspring, thirteen outstanding roses have resulted. She has been mated to ‘Crested Jewel’ to produce ‘Chelsea’ (1986), the first mini to possess crested sepals from ‘Crested Moss’; ‘Old Blush’ to produce ‘Pink Poodle’(1992); and back to ‘Floradora’ to create the outstanding ‘Sequoia Ruby’ (1996). Mr. Moore has even bred her to new roses not yet on the market. Week’s ‘Shadow Dancer’, itself a Moore rose, when crossed with 1-72-1 gave the delightful ‘Twister’. It’s a short climber that can be grown as a neat little shrub. It has the cleanest, brightest red, pink and white stripes yet, on ‘Cecile Brunner’ style flowers.”
For the breeder and collector, ‘Softee’ represents one of the more interesting varieties to me. Pollen from “1-72-1” was placed on “0-47-19” producing a nearly thornless, heavily blooming, little shrub. The fragrant flowers are double, soft, creamy yellow aging off-white. There is really no telling what could come from using ‘Softee’ as a parent. When I asked why he had never tried it, Mr. Moore responded he had never thought of it. I believe it important because it brings his two most successful breeders together in one rose.”

From the article, Out Of China: “Another seedling produced by the same lot as 'Rise 'N Shine; became #1-72-1, a repeat flowering miniature climber. This sister seedling of 'Rise 'N Shine' was never introduced but we have used it extensively in our breeding. From crosses of 1-72-1 X 'Gold Badge' (Floribunda) have come 'Cal Poly', (also an Award of Excellence winner), 'Work of Art', an orange blend mini climber and others.”

Known first generation offspring includes:

1979: ‘Orange Cascade’: 1-72-1 X ‘Magic Wand’, Climbing Miniature, orange Blend.
1983: ‘High Stepper’: 1-72-1 X ‘Magic Wand’, Climbing Miniature, yellow blend.
1983: ‘Softee’: 0-47-19 X 1-72-1, Miniature, white.
1986: ‘Chelsea’: 1-72-1 X ‘Crested Jewel’, medium pink, some cresting on sepals.
1987: ‘Joycie’: 1-72-1 X ‘Gold Badge’, Miniature, orange blend.
1987: ‘Snow Twinkle’: 1-72-1 X ‘Magic Carousel’, Miniature, white.
1988: ‘Golden Gardens’: 1-72-1 X ‘Gold Badge’, Miniature, medium yellow.
1989: ‘Work of Art’: 1-72-1 X ‘Gold Badge’, Climbing Miniature, orange blend.
1991: ‘Vi’s Violet’: 1-72-1 X ‘Angel Face’, Miniature, mauve.
1992: ‘Cal Poly’: 1-72-1 X ‘Gold Badge’, Miniature, medium yellow.
1992: ‘Pink Poodle’: 1-72-1 X ‘Old Blush’, Miniature, pink blend.
1993: ‘Tag-a-Long’: 1-72-1 X ‘Make Believe’, Miniature, red blend.
1993: ‘Orchid Jubilee’: 1-72-1 X ‘Make Believe’, Climbing miniature, mauve.
1996: ‘Sequoia Ruby’: 1-72-1 X ‘Floradora’, Climbing miniature, medium red.
1997: ‘Twister’: 1-72-1 X ‘Shadow Dancer’, Climbing Miniature, red blend.
1998: ‘Woodstock’: 1-72-1 X ‘Clytemnestra’, Climbing miniature, yellow blend.
2002: 'Star Dust': 1-72-1 X ‘Out of Yesteryear’, Miniflora, white blend.
2003: 'Lemon Pearls': 1-72-1 X 'Out of Yesteryear'.
2005: ‘Keith’s Delight’: 1-72-1 X ‘Rugelda’.

There have been a number of other hybrids created by Kim Rupert in recent years, marrying 1-72-1 with R. fedtschenkoana hybrids and R. hugonis, to name just two. Kim's hybrids tend to be highly unconventional shrubs that are highly experimental yet attractive, aiming to improve the shrub architecture, while exploring new aesthetic paradigms.

I too have employed 1-72-1 in my work in recent years, with various goals in mind. Most recently, I made a number of crosses using yellow breeders in combination with the AgCan breeder L83 (A. Kordesii hybrid) including 1-72-1 as one parent. I was surprised at how many seedlings displayed medium to strong yellow or orange tones from this cross. Of these, I have selected three seedlings which have superior disease resistance and have demonstrated the ability to form seeds. These will be used in breeding to pursue the creation of a modest-sized yellow shrub rose that will withstand cold winters and have improved disease resistance.

Relatively recent additions to my 1-72-1 family includes 58-06-05 and 58-06-03
two beautifully pigmented "brown" miniatures. (although at between three and five feet tall, they can hardly be called true miniatures, even though they meet the ARS guidelines for such shrubs. Its hard to know what to call these odd-sized plants) Here is 58-06-03:

Monday, February 14, 2011

How I'm spending my mornings lately.

Cleaning rose seeds, thousands and thousands of 'em, till my fingertips are stained black!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Horizontal trellising"

This is something you should probably file under "Don't Do This At Home". *laughs*

When you manage a large collection of roses, especially one in which new seedlings are generated by the thousands every year (for 13 years!), you are inclined to let certain housekeeping chores slip. Case in point is what you see happening in the photo here. Years ago, I shoved a seedling flat under a bench after I had potted up the seedlings in it. (The red arrow in the lower left points at the outline of the flat) Every year a small percentage of seeds germinate much later than their flat-mates, often not until the Fall or the following Spring. Such was the case here: the flat lay under the bench, undisturbed, and here we are 6 or 7 years later with late germinating seedlings well rooted into the soil below the flat, and sending up vigorous canes through the metal grid bench tops! Three times now I have hacked these seedlings down to stumps, and this is how they look this weekend: happy and rarin' to go. As it happens, one of these is a seedling that hasn't yet flowered: a cross of ("Lemon D" X 'Scarlet Moss') X 'Fakir's Delight', all of which are complex Moss hybrids from Ralph Moore's library of inventive crosses. So, I don't dig these out because I am waiting to see this last, late seedling bloom.

At the far left side of the frame you see a hint of another seedling that escaped its flat entirely. It reaches to the roof of the house now and is wickedly thorny, although as is often the case with roses of modern Moss pedigree, the thorns are not particularly sharp and it would take some effort to actually injure yourself on them. I have documented the left-most seedling in previous posts, labeling it as simply "Floor Moss". Click the link to see a photo. I'm using "Floor Moss" in breeding now, since it tends to be very clean and has great vigor. Oh yeah, and the blooms ain't bad either.

Friday, February 4, 2011

One of my 2011 registrations

Its official: one of my 2011 introductions has had its registration completed. Meet 'Etienne', a Hybrid Gallica bred in 2004. It will be available through Rogue Valley Roses in the very near future!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I told ya so

Always one of the first to leaf out in the breeding house: Ralph's 'Joycie'.

Greenhouse cleanup continues

This is the main "stud house" where the majority of the breeding plants are concentrated. Every year a few plants get retired from service and a few new cultivars are brought into service. Right now I am finishing up the removal of last year's foliage and getting weeds pulled. (damned Oxalis!) this week I am seeing new foliage on a few things in this house. It's barely February!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My assistant

"These flats are ready for dumping, boss!!!"

Friday, January 28, 2011

0-47-19 tidied up and ready to go.

This is the Moore Rambler 0-47-19, a typical Wichurana Rambler in most every way. I keep several plants of it on the farm, because you never know when a Gopher or other force of nature might decide to destroy a plant. Backups are as meaningful in an archive of plants as they are with your hard drive!
Twas a pleasant afternoon yesterday and so I spent a pleasant hour in greenhouse 3 tidying up this 0-47-19, getting the canes all wound together into orderly fashion, so they'd be accessible for pollination in May.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A public service announcement.

Downy Mildew. If you have ever had to deal with it in your greenhouse (or worse, your garden) you will be clenching your teeth in dread right now. If you are not familiar with it, count your blessings. It would be wise to do a bit of reading, though, just so you know what you are dealing with should you ever have it happen to you.

Read on.

Thanks to the Marin Rose Society for publishing this resource.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Un-named Gallica seedling, circa 1999.

This has been sitting in my archive of seedlings from over a decade ago, loved but not shared. Every once in a while I look at it long and hard and think "This thing is so beautiful....but totally redundant; an anachronism."

And so, it remains in my garden, undistributed. As any hybridizer will tell you, you end up accumulating an array of seedlings that fall into the redundant category; lovely but commercially irrelevant. I'm never really sure what to do with these creatures. Do I just propagate a few and share them with the few "collectors" who would appreciate them, letting them out un-named? I still don't know the answer to that one. What to do, what to do....

Friday, January 21, 2011

Penny-trad: my "Little Darling"

I've mentioned this plant in previous posts (See: 77-07-12) but haven't written about it specifically in a post of its own, so.....

Years ago I was given an un-named seedling by my friend Duane Coyier, a retired plant pathologist. It was a self-seedling of 'Poker Chip' that Duane liked and he was of the opinion that it might have merit as a breeder. (It was eventually registered officially as 'Penny Ante', see: Needless to say, I put it to work in my breeding program, not so much because I thought it had particular merit, but because I had it, and I was willing to give any rose that made seed readily a chance. (You tend to use whatever you have available to you at any given time)

'Penny Ante' presents nicely shaped HT style miniature blooms in a rich yellow tinted with red. Blooms open very fast and do fade, but otherwise are quite pretty for the type. The plant is very upright and stiff and rather lacking in balance of architecture, in my opinion, a characteristic it tends to pass on a bit too easily. Still, it has turned out to be a very useful breeding plant and has some very useful traits: it blooms in truly massive clusters, up to 40 blooms on a spike, which it often passes on to offspring. It also has excellent vigor and reblooms much better than its English parent.

Ralph Moore often told me he thought the miniatures had the ability to pass on some valuable properties to future generations, including abundance/frequency of bloom. I can see now just how right he was. Although it doesn't have stellar disease resistance, "Penny-Trad" has a track record of breeding some highly disease-free seedlings, when mated with the right thing.

You just never know where your best breeders are going to come from.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The little stuff: 81-02-01

81-02-01: 'Oakington Ruby' X 'Little Chief', 2002. Nicknamed "Priscilla Plumbbob".

It is undeniable that Ralph Moore's work heavily influenced my own vision of rose breeding in the early 2000s. At times I even sought to mirror some of his own efforts, if for no other reason than to simply see first hand what kind of variations could be had with such crosses. It is worth remembering that when a hybridizer releases a selection into commerce, that we, the consumers, are seeing only one plant the breeder considered to be the best of the lot. The rest of the seedlings tell a much bigger story: perhaps the selected one was the only seedling of merit in a sea of junk. Or perhaps there were dozens of runners up that were so, so close to ideal that many were considered for commerce. Or maybe germination was terrible and there were only five seedlings to evaluate at all! You never know. I've seen all of these scenarios in my own work.

Back to the rose in the photo. I shared Ralph's fascination for tiny roses, and was especially fond of one of the key contributors to modern miniature breeding: 'Oakington Ruby'. It can be a great little shrub, and is totally China-like in all its aspects, except its small stature and tiny plant parts. I played with it a bit years ago, crossing it with other minis mostly, just to see what I would get. 81-02-01 was one such cross: 'Oakington Ruby' X 'Little Chief', the latter being born out of a curious pedigree involving a R. multibracteata hybrid, R. wichurana, 'Slater's Crimson China', and "Rouletii". As a breeder, 'Little Chief' has a reputation for being finicky as a seed parent but very generous as a pollen parent. I've used it on things like R. foliolosa and gotten some striking results. In the case of 81-02-01, seedlings were a lot more typical of this kind of breeding: lots of very small plants in pinks and reddish hues, well-branched, largely unremarkable. (I did release one as a kind of "collectors item" rose, named 'Oui'. Click here to view it on HMF)

This cute little pink number is one of my favorites of the lot, but has not been introduced into commerce, as I regard it as a bit of an anachronism and hardly something a lot of people are going to be interested in. It is 8 years old now and still happily occupies a 5 gallon pot, and has not exceeded 15" tall and about as wide. It is intermediate in style between the two parents and fairly thorny. I presents its bloom in clusters spread attractively across its canopy of dense, bright green growth and is in bloom on and off all season. The candy pink blooms are about an inch across, very double and have an unusual sweet candy-like fragrance, similar to the scent of certain China cultivars. It sets seed on occasion, although I have never tried to germinate them. Maybe I will sow a few this year, just out of curiosity.

Listing on HMF


My apologies for posting an article about this same seedling twice; I wrote this last night, assuming I hadn't spoken about it before, but I did, last August. Still, its a different photo and I said some things here that I didn't the first time, so here we go....

Breeding: 42-03-02 X R. pisocarpa

The seed parent I used is one I am using more often as time goes by; a self seedling of Ralph Moore's Wichurana Rambler 0-47-19. (0-47-19 is a cross between R. wichurana and 'Floradora') My seedling 42-03-02 has been described in my blog before, but briefly, it is a dwarf-ish shrub to about 3 X 3 feet, with glossy small foliage and a constant supply of one inch deep pink to purple blooms in clusters of up to 30. It is extremely healthy and sets seed readily. It also happens to be a diploid.

In this case, the pollen parent I used is a particularly dark selection of R. pisocarpa that is growing near my home. At least 20 seedlings were selected from this cross in Summer 2010 and now reside in gallon cans. These were all extremely vigorous and quite healthy, but as expected, they have not flowered yet.....except the one shown here. This seedling, #14 began flowering sparingly in July, and bloomed twice more before cold weather shut it down for the year.

This is completely unexpected behavior, as none of these should be repeat blooming. Clearly this seedling shows R. pisocarpa influence, and in fact more closely resembles the species parent than it does the seed parent. Although rose genetics are, for the most part, quite straightforward, there are plenty of surprises to be found, especially when unconventional breeding lines are involved. (Yes, in this era I regard work with native species as "unconventional", although many of my peers - amateur hybridizers like myself - are often heavily invested in species work)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ralph Moore and the Rugosa hybrids: 'Peach Candy'

'Peach Candy', bred by Moore, introduced by Sequoia Nursery in 1995. Parentage: 'Sheri Anne' X 'Topaz Jewel'.

Ralph Moore did considerable work in the past 20 years with various Rugosa hybrids. There wasn't a breeding line at Sequoia Nursery that didn't get some Rugosa genes injected into it at some stage. The results, of course, varied wildly; some were spectacularly unique, some were monsters with a renegade persona, some were tragic mutants that signaled a mismatch of genetics from widely divergent branches of the family tree. My recollection when discussing these breeding lines with Ralph is that many seedlings were troubled in some way and very, very few were noteworthy.

One of the most successful of the Hybrid Rugosas Ralph bred was 'Topaz Jewel', a stunning soft medium yellow hybrid from a cross of 'Golden Angel' X 'Belle Poitvine'. Many breeders, Ralph included, have sought to take 'Topaz Jewel' a step further in the hopes of generating a true yellow Rugosa hybrid that has the toughness of the Rugosas and the generous rebloom of more modern hybrids. Unfortunately that hasn't been easy. I know that some people continue to try to work with it, and in spite of the fact that it apparently is a diploid, (no aneuploidy as far as we know) it almost never sets any seed and its pollen rarely, if ever, results in seed set on other hybrids. Ralph himself produced but one hybrids from 'Topaz Jewel', the lovely 'Peach Candy' pictured here. It has none of the characteristics of its Rugosa pedigree (unless you count its reluctance to propagate from cuttings), looking like a rather ordinary peachy-hued Miniature.

Some goals, no matter how persistent the breeder, just aren't going to get you where you hoped to go. Still, it doesn't hurt to try.