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.