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!