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.


  1. Can't begin to tell of all the pleasure you've given to me. I bought several of your things, 'Unconditional Love' being one. The surprise of growing it is that the peppery smell reminds me of 'Born Free', which is long, long gone. I'll miss looking over your shoulder, but the river goes on. Must feel good to know that you've been in the swim. Best Wishes.

  2. Paul,I wish you all the best, I think I can understand you, even if I have to drip some tears down on my keyboards…
    I am just a lover of roses, and have no experience of breeding, but

    Right now Unconditional Love is looking me into the eyes, and October Moon shows promising buds.
    Waiting for the Dragon's Blood to enter my home in Sweden in December.

    That rose of yours started my passionate rose journey.

    Just want to tell you, that I know of no other rose breeder working in such extraordinary ways in those fields of colour, fragrance and varieties.

  3. Most hobbies/passions/avocations need a fallow period, in my experience. My major one is knitting, and I have put it aside for years, but always came back to it. I hope breeding roses returns for you, for the purely selfish reason that I enjoy following your progress and I enjoy reading your writing.

  4. I completely understand. But go to sleep knowing the joy you have brought to gardens and rose lovers world wide. Rest well!

  5. You are an exceptional teacher of the art and science of rose breeding! .. and a great writer.

    I totally understand your of luck!!

    George Varden

  6. Thank you for all you've shared. It is so very much appreciated. I wish you joy and serenity.

  7. I can completely understand. And if you never post anything ever again I want you to know I consider you a great mentor and friend.

  8. Wow Paul.... But that is the beauty of a hobby, you can practice it on your own terms. Best wishes for the future, Liz

  9. Sometimes one just needs to step back. I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do, and thanks for all the help you've given me (and the rose that bears my name!) Hope to see you on the RHA forum from time to time, as I have many crosses from your roses coming up!

  10. I will miss your comments--I check your blog nearly every day to see if there is something new--it is always interesting and informative. Also, over the last few years I have eagerly anticipated the new Barden releases at RVR and spent my Christmas $$ on rosey creations from PB. I have come to feel that the Barden roses are not only something truly unique in color and bloom form, but roses I can depend on to be healthy performers and graceful garden shrubs. You will be missed--hope you don't step out for too long.

    Regards & best wishes. Sally

  11. Oh Paul. I've been busy myself and as I'm thus a day behind reading your post, I must say that I understand. But I hope you come back to breeding someday, since you are the most promising hybridizer I know of. I've always been astounded at the depths of your knowledge of the science of rose genetics and I was so looking forward to your releasing some of the foliosa(sp?) hybrids. Best luck in the future and I'll hope to see a few more of your efforts go least you'll have one buyer that would like to add to my 5 or 6 young Bardens.

  12. I have always loved your site-and been amazed and delighted by your creations even though we can't get them in Australia.
    A beautiful soul creates things of beauty.
    Take care of yourself Paul.
    Best regards
    Sandie Maclean

  13. Sometimes a reboot is in order. Best wishes for new and interesting adventures.

  14. Larry G. Popwell Sr.July 5, 2011 at 4:49 AM

    I appreciate all the knowledge that you have sent my way. May you have a restfull retirement.... or break which ever it may be..

  15. I wish you all the best in your new life !
    Greetings to your cat ;)

  16. Thank you for your generousity in sharing information as well as with sharing seedlings and pollen. You will be missed and it is my hope that this is not a permanent situation and that after what sounds like some much needed rest we will see you being active again with your roses and in the RHA forum and your blog. Best wishes to you Paul!

    Warm Regards,

    Rob Byrnes

  17. Paul, remind me to tell you the secret to winning at bingo when you get over the trauma of cleaning house.

  18. I live in Wyoming and chaired a rose club for many years here to get information out to local gardeners about growing and maintaining roses in our cold and harsh climate. Yours are the most hopeful new roses I've seen for hardiness and beauty. That said, I understand the time and toll it takes to hybridize new roses. Your heart and mind will tell you when or if you want to go on with the work. Best wishes.

  19. Well Paul I have followed you for years. I also breed roses as a hobby. I started about the same time you did. I doubt you remember but we spoke several times in the beginning. I became overwhelmed about five years ago. I was trying to keep up with my job, family and roses. Meanwhile I watched you succeed. You had Roses marketed while I drowned in weeds and exhaustion. I too put breeding on hold and culled my seedlings and organized the ones I chose to keep, a very small fraction. I also refocused on which direction I was going as far as breeding. I decided to make breeding Roses a hobby again not a consuming race. I am back where I started, old roses. My breeding has been scaled down though I'm not sure it will stay there but I will not let it get out of hand again, at least I hope. I'm also sorry Ralph M. died as I watched his breeding spill into yours. Anyway good luck at what ever decision you make, I will miss the kinship but not the competition.

  20. Well what are the chances of you coming out of retirement to make some sporadic posts? That would surely make a lot of people happy.

    Then again I'm not sure if you'll ever read this... :(

    1. Hi Bert.
      Thanks for your interest, but my retirement from roses is now quite complete, as my collection has been dispersed and/or cleared out of the greenhouses, which have been repurposed for food production. The rose industry is now so severely depressed that I see no point in trying to produce new varieties, since the odds are they will never be seen in commerce.

      Best wishes,