Attn AquaEyes (and anyone else interested in breeding Portlands)

ffff(Calif. 9)May 29, 2013

I've been away for a year or so, but was researching the potential of the Pickering Four Seasons as a seed parent (is it really D'Esquermes like Leonie Bell thought?), and found a post by AquaEyes about attempting to breed pure (chinensis-free) Portlands.

Although I'm doing some of the exact same thing, I'm also working hard on breeding stock, since most of what was used in the 18th and 19th centuries is now extinct, and nearly everything since then has chinensis in it. Example: the single centifolia is extinct in unmossed form, and extremely rare in mossed form. No other centifolias, mossed or otherwise, from prior to 1850, have much hope of bearing seed in any quantity. They're too double to have room for actual reproductive organs. The breeding stock was rarely shared with anyone, since that might help competitors, and the market for single roses is relatively small.

If all I'd ever want to breed was Portlands, I could just use the Portland Rose and/or Pickering Four Seasons as seed parents, and be done with it, since (if Pickering = D'Esquermes) both have good track records. But, assuming I live long enough, I'd like to go beyond that, and Portlandize some good seed bearers for making potentially remontant Centifolias, Agathes, Provences and Albas. These are roses which I think really *should* have existed, and would have, had they not been preempted by the chinensis craze.

I don't know that I'll ever be able to grow a really special garden rose, but if nothing else, I hope that I might make breeding stock that others can use to keep the old European lines alive.

(I grow and like chinensis roses too, but they have several copies of their fragrance genes, which significantly change the scent palette of anything European they're crossed with. Avoiding them is feasible, while breeding them back out probably isn't.)

Relevant to this undertaking, I currently have hips on the following:
The Portland Rose
Tuscany Superb

Next year I will add these to the seed parent mix:
Pickering Four Seasons
Henri Martin (with caution; can't yet rule out chinensis content)
Agatha (francofurtana)
Mme Plantier
La Belle Sultane
R. pendulina
R. macrantha

I'm desperately looking for Single Moss, as I think that if Portlandized, it would be the best combination I could hope to pull off quickly. One could go in almost any direction with that.

My only concern is that this could take the rest of my life, and then end up unshared and wasted. Collaboration with any like-minded people seems like it would offer a lot of benefits, and since I don't entertain any notions about making money with roses, I see no disadvantages to doing so.

If this sort of thing appeals to you, please drop me a line, and maybe we can start a Portland breeder's conspiracy. (You may have to change your settings to allow me to reply.)

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I suppose you are aware that Mme. Plantier is thought by many to be a Noisette/alba cross? VG even listed it among Hybrid Chinas.

I hope you can come with something cold hardy and repeat blooming.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 6:03PM
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fogrose(zone 10/sunset 17)

I'm all in favor of your attempts as I love Portland roses. Please keep us informed as to your successes and failures.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 6:39PM
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I'm new to the forum and my only qualifications are as follows: I am a lifelong rose lover/gardener and I was a garden designer for a number of years during my past creative incarnation. I am currently a teacher, but since that job seems to be evaporating in June, I'll soon see if my next vocational life allows time for dabbling in rose genetics. If so, and I can gather more horticultural knowledge (Kim has already begun tutoring me online), I'll contact you and see if you'd like me to come aboard. The idea is positively intriguing. Rose breeding is like social work. It's a labor of love and little money.

Carol in PDX

This post was edited by PortlandMysteryRose on Wed, May 29, 13 at 19:06

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:04PM
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ffff, I'm sure I made it abundantly clear that I'm not even a novice breeder yet, but I wanted to dash off another note to emphasize that I'm fully aware I'm no candidate for your developing team. I'm so not done cookin', training-wise, but since you said "lifelong" project, I thought I might qualify at some point and I wanted to jump on board the enthusiasm train. (I do have a background in social science, so I understand the importance of methodology and the power of documentation. I mention this fact because if you've read my recent postings to Strawberryhill, you'd never glean I have any kind of science degree.) I am absolutely cheering you on! There's so much potential in those OGR/Portland beauties...


    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:56PM
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ffff(Calif. 9)

Nastarana said, "I suppose you are aware that Mme. Plantier is thought by many to be a Noisette/alba cross? VG even listed it among Hybrid Chinas."

I am aware of that, and thought long and hard about it. The other leading hypothesis is that it has the fragrance chemistry of a Musk-Alba hybrid, which might explain its cold hardiness (relative to a Noisette) and its triploidy. Since fragrance testing didn't show any of the usual chinensis scent components, I'm willing to give it a tentative try, and only give it out with a caveat.

If I take *zero* risks with chinensis, I'm basically eliminating everything newer than Maiden's Blush, except for Duchess of Portland (because it's been tested). I would then feel pretty sure that I'd die of old age before I could breed anything very useful. I'm trying to balance the two risks as best I can.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 9:13PM
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Tessiess, SoCal Inland, 9b, 1272' elev

Madame Plantier is very unlikely to have any china in her. Check the references on HMF. She has ZERO of the scent markers that indicate china descent (DMMB or TMB). The reference to look at is this one, "Characterizations of 24 Old Garden Roses from Their Volatile Compositions" (1997).

Another rose that you might consider ffff, is Sophie's Perpetual. Because of her rebloom some have classed her as a china. Erroneously it now appears. As according to one of the scientific papers listed on HMF, "Volatile Components in Chinese Roses" (2007), "...some cultivars...did not emit these components [charactertic of Chinas] and 'Sophie's Perpetual', belonging to the China group, emitted beta-phenylethy alcohol and Nerol which R. damascena Miller also emitted...These cultivars might have no relation to Chinese roses and likely derived from European ancient species such as R. damascena. "

Sophie's Perpetual appears to be an autumn damask.

I am VERY interested in this project as I love the old European garden roses. They do really well in my garden. Whereas chinas are a disaster.

I have a hip in the refrigerator that was produced by my alba Felicite Parementier last year. I'd sort of forgotten about it. So thanks for the post which jogged my memory.

My Pickering Four Seasons is a young plant from Pickering. I can check to see if it set any hips this year. R. fedtschenkoana set many this year, and she is nearby Pickering Four Seasons but also to R. primula, who is also loaded with hips this year.

Are you interested in using any of the native California roses in this project? I have multiple plants of R. californica, and one selection in particular 'First Dawn' sets hundreds of hips. FD is extremely fragrant too.


Here is a link that might be useful: References for Madame Plantier

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 9:57PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

I'm only just getting the yard ready for my roses to go in the ground. I was interested in perhaps re-making a Damask using a variation on the original formula. Mind you, I've also never actually bred roses before, so I won't be having any results for at least a year or two. But, relevant to my little side-hobby, I have the following to play with as far as putting together Damasks and Portlands:

'Quatre Saisons Blanc Mousseaux'

Gallicas (without China influence):
'Charles de Mills'
'Georges Vibert'
"Sissinghurst Castle"
'Superb Tuscan'
'Tricolore de Flandre'

Musk or musk-proxies:
"Darlow's Enigma"
'Reverend Seidel'
'Rosa moschata'
"Secret Garden Musk Climber"

'Blanc de Vibert'
'Rose de Rescht'
'Rose du Roi' -- original
(I missed out on "Pickering Four Seasons" and 'Marie de St. Jean' with this year's ordering, so if anyone wants to share rooted cuttings, I'll pay!)

Species and hybrid:
'R. fedtschenkoana'
'DLFED 3' (note -- does contain genes from Chinas and others)

I was also thinking of using a Gallica-proxy in the form of a short Austin rose, but as that would include China genes, it probably wouldn't be of interest to you.

Remaking some Bourbons was another little project I had in mind, using more fragrant Chinas or one of my two Teas ("Bermuda Spice" and 'Lady Hillingdon') instead of 'Old Blush', and "PFSR" and other Portlands. Being as I have the ingredients, I suppose I could play with new Noisettes as well.

I'm a bit of a fragrance snob, so after seeing what shrugs off disease, I'll be following my nose when culling offspring. I'm in no rush -- so don't be placing orders anytime soon. I'll be lucky if I get hips from my first attempts at crosses next year.

Incidentally, despite what HelpMeFind and many other resources state, I don't agree that the rose we today call 'Autumn Damask' aka 'Quatre Saisons' is the parent to the first Bourbon. I think the one which crossed with 'Old Blush' was much more like what we today call "Pickering Four Seasons Rose" and was called 'Tous les Mois'. It's often listed as a synonym of 'Quatre Saisons' today, but old references considered them different. And I think the closest we have to it today is "Pickering Four Seasons Rose".



    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 11:22PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

Tessiess, I think you are misinterpreting the results of the study. It was analyzing scent compounds as a means of determining ancestry. "Sophie's Perpetual" is often listed as a China because that is a good description of how it grows. The scent of the rose, however, is of Damask, so it must have Damask somewhere in its ancestry.

How does a China smell like Damask? Remember the Bourbons -- Damask X China hybrids. Inevitably, as they bred amongst themselves, and then back with Chinas, we ended up with roses which can look very China but smell very Damask. And that's what "Sophie's Perpetual" likely is -- a heavily-China-leaning Bourbon which maintained the Damask scent of the other side of the family tree.



    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 11:31PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

ffff, I think I'd consider the following basic plan of attack for widening the pool of remontant Portlands without China influence to use for breeding remontant versions of other non-China OGRs:

'R. moschata' X 'Indigo' = A (preference for any double-flowered remontant seedlings)

'R. moschata' X 'Rose du Roi (original)' = B (preference for any remontant double-flowered seedlings)

A X B (or vice versa) = C (preference for any remontant double-flowered seedlings)

C X 'R. fedschenkoana' = D

Cross different seedlings of D to recover or enhance double-flowered trait. This should also recover or enhance remontancy.

Once a double-flowered remontant seedling from D1 X D2 is obtained, I'd try crossing it to a Gallica to see if remontant "new Portland" offspring result. If so, then trying pollen from an Alba on it would be rather interesting -- the result might be a remontant triploid Hybrid Alba.



    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 12:09AM
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Wow I'm impressed. I get excited when I find a souvenir in the spring.
You go folks..I cant wait to see the results in a few years. The level of each of your knowledge is amazing. Keep it coming.
Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 4:41AM
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sandandsun(9a FL)


I personally think this thread is very exciting for more than one reason. It is a REAL discussion of hybridizing here on the Forum. And it includes a "plan." Bravo. No disrespect to the folks on the RHA breeders/hybridizers forum - I think highly of them all and wish them the very best success, but after years of lurking there to read their threads, it seems that very few of them have a goal. And similarly, it seems that very few are purposeful in terms of trait development. Most seem focused on the result of the immediate cross.
(Again, a personal observation not intended to be offensive, nor entirely accurate, and certainly not intended to open a worm can).

There are so many goals to work toward. The blue rose is possible, I believe. Picotees and "reverse picotees" (in the sense that "amoena" is used to describe irises) where the edge is darker or the edge is lighter (or white) have yet to be exploited to their beautiful potential, etc.

Very exciting indeed.

I wish your collaboration great success! And please, keep us in the loop!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 9:57AM
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"No disrespect to the folks on the RHA breeders/hybridizers forum - I think highly of them all and wish them the very best success, but after years of lurking there to read their threads, it seems that very few of them have a goal."

And yet, as we have seen before, you have very effectively opened said can of worms. I'm sure many of the talented and goal-oriented hybridizers who are active members of the RHA would be offended by your remarks. I know I am. Tell us, won't you - how accomplished are you as a hybridizer??

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Although not really relevant to your goals, I have been wanted to use Isphan (damask) for some kind of breeding. Here isphan is simply stunning, never any disease, beautiful textured foliage, and a long bloom period.

Last year I dissected a few blooms to try and find any pollen, there were only a few anthers in each bloom, however, I couldn’t find any pollen. Does anyone here have any ideas on how to find the elusive pollen?

Much love


    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:01AM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

I think their goals are more admirable, personally, because they are trying to get something via completely new directions. As such, it's more difficult to predict outcomes, and the RHA members move forward step-by-step into the unknown.

What I was planning was basically retracing the steps of what has already been done, with a slight difference in starting ingredients, hoping for something only slightly different than what already exists, and furthering avenues which were no longer trodden after Chinas and Teas came into the mix. I think the potential for Portlands, for example, was not fully tapped, the class being overshadowed by Bourbons, then Hybrid Perpetuals, and the movement toward pretty flowers at the expense of healthy plants.

If we look at the genetically-determined origin of the Damasks as being [(R. moschata X R. gallica) X R. fedtschenkoana] then we have a formula for making more from scratch using different Gallicas, and what is likely a different individual of 'R. fedtschenkoana' from the original. This would broaden the gene pool but remain "true" to the class -- tracing the histories of rose breeding, it becomes apparent that most "new classes" derived from an original cross, which was then selfed over and over, out-crossed to other classes, selfed again, etc., but rarely was the original cross repeated with variations of starting ingredients.

I thought that perhaps starting with a different Gallica, such as 'Tuscany Superb' for example, could lead to darker-colored Damasks. If the color is "bleached out" from breeding with two white-flowered species, then perhaps a selfing of [(R. moschata X 'Tuscany Superb')], or a cross with a parallel offspring using 'Charles de Mills' as the other Gallica, would retain the red. It may also double-up the 'R. moschata' bloom trait before crossing with 'R. fedschenkoana', leading to a remontant Damask. If that didn't work, then another selfing (or lateral cross) of that generation could result in enough copies of both rebloom traits to get a remontant Damask. Yes, selfing and some inbreeding would again occur, but if starting with parallel lines, those lines could be crossed to retain vigor and expand variation.

Then I thought, well, what about using a Portland in lieu of a Gallica? Essentially, most are remontant Gallicas, already carrying whatever genetic info is necessary for rebloom from 'R. moschata' and 'R. fedtschenkoana'. Using it in a re-do of the original Damask formula may reinforce that mix of remontant genes. Being as Portlands were often crossed with Gallicas, with remontant offspring being called Portlands and once-blooming offspring likely named as Gallicas, this would indicate that Portlands are not homozygous for whatever genes are responsible for their remontancy, and that at least one of those genes behaves dominantly. Breeding back to the parent species which are likely responsible for passing on remontantcy genes in parallel lines and crossing offspring together should move toward getting them closer to (if not at) homozygosity for non-China rebloom.

If I was really ambitious, I could try both avenues at once, and when arriving at a Damask end-product, cross those "new Damasks" from different lines (i.e. Gallica line X Portland line) amongst themselves. At the very least, I could hope for a big red or purple damask with no China or modern genes, if all the Gallica and Portland founders were red or purple. If I got them to also rebloom and smell divine and be healthy here in New Brunswick, NJ, I'd pop some champagne. But as each generation would require at least a year, that celebration wouldn't come for quite some time.

I am a steady lurker on the RHA site and doing so shines a strong light on what little I know. I tip my hat to them. And I also know that my resources and time relegate me to the lowest amateur status among their lot. My little side-project is merely something to keep me amused for the next few years while I'm in grad school -- to satisfy my own questions and desires. If I get something I think might be desirable for others, that would be a bonus. And I'll be open to share them with others who may have further uses for them.



This post was edited by AquaEyes on Thu, May 30, 13 at 12:03

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:18AM
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A couple of suggestions, if I may. Finding R. fedtschenkoana is likely to be challenging - that is, unless you already own a plant - so it might be worth considering using one of Kim Rupert's hybrids. Yes, I know they are "contaminated" with China genes, but having used one of the Rupert Fedtschenkoanas extensively in my own work, I can state without hesitation that the R. fedschenkoana genes dominate the offspring for at least two generations and tend to suppress all of the undesirable traits the China ancestry brings along for the ride. Just think about it, won't you?
A modern reworking of the Portland model is wholly worth pursuing, but I think there are ways the model can be improved, and eliminating all China genes may rule out possibilities that could be highly advantageous. Omitting the Bourbons and Hybrid Perpetuals, on the other hand, is pretty much essential if plant health is central to your goal.

Having used 'The Portland Rose/Duchess of Portland' in years past, I can tell you that this rose behaves much more as a Gallica in breeding, in that remontancy is rare in its offspring, no matter what you cross it with. It is always possible that this is in fact a spontaneous remontant sport from a Gallica, and the remontancy gene isn't incorporated into the reproductive tissue layer, and therefore isn't transmissible by sexual means. We don't know for certain.

As for the Gallicas (this is more a response to Christopher's thoughtful comments), I can attest to the fact that 'Tuscany Superb' is less likely to breed deeply-pigmented offspring than 'Charles de Mills', which has - for me - bred some remarkably rich purples, garnets, and burgundies. Even when mated with other strongly colored roses of its own class, 'Tuscany Superb' breeds a lot of deep and muddy pinks. Even 'La Belle Sultane' produces darker, more attractive progeny, although rarely will you get blooms with more than ten or twelve petals (not necessarily a bad thing, mind you), and it has one particular genetic flaw it likes to pass on: mis-shapen blooms with petals that scroll inwards in a rather ugly manner. (Imagine a cluster of dunce-cap-shaped petals all gathered around the stamens and you have the idea)

Have you considered working with 'Suzanne', the Hybrid Spinosissima? I have used it in breeding and I believe it has some remarkable genes and, having barely been explored by breeders, potentially has in it the ability to do remarkable things, especially in conjunction with other species hybrids and non-China plants of all kinds. I strongly urge you to consider 'Suzanne' as something to add to your tool kit.

Best wishes for all manner of successes in your endeavor,
Paul Barden

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 12:22PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey


Thank you for the advice regarding 'Tuscany Superb'. Perhaps I'll try using "Sissinghurst Castle" instead.

My original intentions for picking out roses was to make a garden here, and as I researched my choices, my fascination for rose ancestry developed. My space here is very limited, and the Gallicas and Hybrid Chinas I picked out are to be planted in an area I didn't think would work well for reblooming roses -- planted beneath limbed-up arbor vitae in two walled-off beds. I didn't look through Hybrid Spinosissimas because that space was limited, and I already whittled down my original list for once-bloomers to fit there. And what will fit best there are things that grow like Gallicas (though I'm capping each end with one of my four "Musks or Musk-proxies" to climb into the arbor vitae).

It's a beautiful rose, but I can breed only with those I have room to plant -- or which could live in a very large pot. And since my space is so limited, I decided that any breeding I'd do would be along the lines of retracing previous steps which would give me some foresight into what I'd get. I can't manage going as deep into it as you or others on the RHA board have gone -- I simply don't have the yard space, and any additional space offered by friends in their yards can't go to a rose which will be something completely unknown in habit. If I remake a Noisette or a Portland or a Damask, I already have a general idea of how it will behave, and can properly fit it into someone else's yard.


Due to the generous enabling of Kim Rupert, I received four cuttings each of both 'R. fedtschenkoana' and his F1 hybrid of it, 'DLFED 3'. As it stands right now, two cuttings of the former and all four of the latter are growing. The other two cuttings of the former may not make it. I will need only one of each, so after they grow a bit more, I'd be willing to pass on what I don't need. Look up 'DLFED 3' on HelpMeFind and check its ancestry -- it is a very interesting mix, and I'm happy Kim held me at gunpoint and forced me to take it (KIDDING!).



    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 12:53PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Let me second the motion of looking hard at playing with spinossissimas. Unlike gallicas, they apparently have the possibility of a recessive repeating gene.

and whatever you mean by 'grows like a gallica', they do it. Including the Napoleonic tendency to take over the world.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:41PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

I like many of the Spinosissimas, but as I'm renting, it was delicate enough to say I wanted to use roses as the bones for the garden here. The Gallicas I picked aren't nearly as thorny as many of the Spinosissimas. Some of the "closer to the species" Spinosissimas do grow in the same densely suckering way as the Gallicas, but many of the others are more shrub-like -- at least from what I've seen in pictures.

For under the arbor vitae, I was imagining more of a thicket. Yes, I could have gone with the wilder Spinosissimas for the same growth effect, but that would have come with a very thorny reminder of my presence when I move from here after getting my degree in a few years. I'm not knocking them by any means. I'd love to grow them when I am my own landlord. If ffff is in such a position, and has the room and climate for them, I'm hoping he takes your advice.



    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:59PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey


Paul, do you think there is something inherently bad about the make-up of Bourbons and Hybrid Perpetuals? Or do you think that it's more that they were bred and introduced without selection for health because of the sulfur-rain coming down at the time (or because they simply didn't care about the plant, as long as the flowers were pretty)?

I wondered if someone was to re-make Bourbons and Hybrid Perpetuals today and culled those which weren't healthy, if we'd be able to have healthy Bourbons and Hybrid Perpetuals. Or if there was something that didn't click genetically about repeat-blooming initial crosses between Chinas and the European OGRs. I realize that most have moved beyond them today, so the question doesn't matter much. For me, it's just a curiosity thing. Would it be a waste of time to breed a new Bourbon from a healthy repeat-blooming Damask (or Portland) with a healthy China today, hoping for some healthy seedlings in the mix? Is there something that just doesn't "mesh" between the two groups, and disease susceptibility is simply an inevitable consequence?



    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 2:56PM
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I don't know how much was inevitable consequence and how much was the result of selecting for the "pretty face" at the expense of the plant quality (as much of the Twentieth Century HT breeding was), Christopher. Little actual 'breeding' was done, with much simply raising seeds and expecting changes. Conditions enabled them to select without disease resistance being of importance, as has been mentioned. Even for Pernet raising the early Foetida crosses, that wasn't an issue. When moved elsewhere, the black spot issues arose because his climate didn't enable the fungi to be problems. When asked about the black spot with his roses, he responded, "What black spot?" Black spot, rust and mildew issues with modern HT breeding was much the same. Seedlings and test gardens were routinely sprayed because that was just the way things were done.

Even at their best, rose plants and foliage weren't "good". Exhibitions relied heavily on the English Box, where perfect blooms with NO foliage were displayed. Had the rest of the plants been decent enough, actual stems and foliage would have been exhibited with the 'pretty faces'.

I can tell you the goal of breeding healthier versions of older types is as labor intensive and time consuming as the goals of using other species in hopes of increasing arctic hardiness and improved health. Had the disease issues at the time actually been as great as they naturally would have been, instead of artificially mitigated by other factors, I seriously doubt there would have been half of the atrocities released and praised as "beauties" as there were. Kim

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 3:39PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

First you have to *find* the healthy, repeat blooming damask. Then you have to find the healthy china. In general, repeat blooming damasks and portlands are not good plants here. For many years there was a quite consistent pattern with new OGR growers in this general part of the world. They would grow Jacques Cartier, and decide that Portlands were the perfect rose class. Then they would find out that everything else they bought on that basis stank. It is sort of like today where people think Hybrid musks are hardy and indestructible based on Darlow's Enigma.

As far as the information/pollen collection bit goes, any ideas as to what is currently the largest OGR collection in this part of the country? I believe the Cranford had to get rid of a lot of their more interesting things because of RRD. I also assume that Mike Lowe's yard had reverted to something a bit more normal. Lloyd Brace had an interesting collection - in many ways to easiest to parse in comparing different roses within a category. However this is all past tense.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 3:58PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

I guess the caveat should be "healthy HERE." I personally think it's a bit of a pipe dream to try and breed something which will do well everywhere, and those which come close (i.e. the Knock Out types) lack the charm I personally seek.

I have about 80 potted roses waiting to be placed in the garden (or remain as pot-pets) this Autumn. Next year, I'll consider playing "rose breeder" by crossing those which seem to do well here. For example, the Bourbon 'Souvenir de Victor Landeau' grew well and stayed clean without spraying until late Autumn (and by then, who cares about a little blackspot? hehe). As it's currently 90 and very humid after bouts of rain in my neck of the woods and I still see not a speck of disease on it, I think that's pretty awesome. If the Tea 'Lady Hillingdon' does the same (she just came this year), I already have plans to see how they blend together.

I can't promise that they'll do well anywhere else but, as I said, my future hybridizing hobby is primarily to satisfy my own curiosity. If I'm proud of a seedling I raise, of course I'll gloat about it here, and offer cuttings to anyone else who wants to try it out elsewhere. But if it works in my yard, why should I toss it because it won't work somewhere else?

And I think that's actually a good goal for healthy garden plants -- locally bred or selected, excelling in those specific conditions, and relatively easily accomplished by amateurs. Breeding something with wider appeal or using more creative crosses I'll leave to those far better equipped and knowledgeable than I am.



    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 4:33PM
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ffff(Calif. 9)

Wow... so much to respond to! I'd like to start with something a little off-topic, but very overdue.

@trospero: If there is one person in the world who deserves credit for saving me from Double Delight, it would be you. The information you generously shared on your site was what got me started on OGRs, and with breeding/hybridizing. I posted on the RHA forum until you got burned out and took a break, at which time I wandered off and continued working on my own. (No slight to the many wonderful folks at RHA, I just didn't encounter a lot of people there who shared my very specialized interests.)

Also, right around then, you offered me a sucker from your Single Moss, but declined any sort of compensation. As badly as I wanted the rose -- and still want the rose -- I felt really uncomfortable about taking it from you, knowing that you were pretty stressed right then, and feeling much in your debt already. Should you feel like shipping one in the future, AND accept more than coffee money in return, I'd be more than delighted to follow through.

A couple of my rules of thumb have been to avoid, all else being equal, roses that are famous for their thorns, or for smelling funky, so I'd made no plans for fedtschenkoana. In light of what you've said, I'm definitely up for trying it. Melissa posted above about how hers has a lot of hips on it, maybe she'd be willing to part with a few of those, or a sucker?

@everybody not named Paul: I find this a fascinating discussion, with definite conspiracy potential, and am thinking about how to turn it into action. Like, would we benefit from having a forum, a mailing list server, or something along those lines? (If so, I could provide those.) Or can we do it all here?

I'm going to be occupied for a few days, so may not get a chance to bump this thread again for a bit, but will definitely spend my weekend thinking about this. The responses here have gotten me very excited about the possibilities!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 5:03PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

ffff, even if you're not a fan of it as it is, 'R. fedtschenkoana' is a necessary ingredient in the Portlands' ancestry. It and 'R. moschata' offer more than a single bloom-time, and I'm guessing that the linseed-oil fragrance of it mixed nicely with the musk and sweet-herbal scents of the other two ancestors of the Damasks to give that class its distinctive fragrance.

If we can believe the old literature, the Portlands arose from repeat-blooming Damasks bred back to Gallicas. If you want to make brand-new Portlands to expand the gene pool of your founders to "Portland-ize" others, you'll have to include 'R. fedtschenkoana' if you want to go beyond just breeding Portland X Portland.

Seeing the cuttings of 'R. fedtschenkoana' and 'DLFED 3', I see a strong resemblance between them and with 'Quatre Saisons Blanc Mousseaux'. Basically, the latter two are half-siblings, and 'R. fedtschenkoana' their daddy-in-common. I'm very happy to have the three of them to examine further as they grow. And when I have one each of 'R. fedschenkoana' and 'DLFED 3' growing well, I'll happily pass on extras to you, if you want. I emailed you through here, so you have my contact info.



    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 5:38PM
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"Paul, do you think there is something inherently bad about the make-up of Bourbons and Hybrid Perpetuals? Or do you think that it's more that they were bred and introduced without selection for health because of the sulfur-rain coming down at the time (or because they simply didn't care about the plant, as long as the flowers were pretty)?"

All of the above! Kim said everything that needs be said about the matter, undoubtedly better than I could. It all comes down to lack of knowledge ("What black spot??"), plants engineered for specific, rather narrow goals (The English Box Paradigm) and doing what they could with what materials they had available. I mean, can you imagine what a miracle it must have been when the first Chinas made their way into the hands of breeders?! "My god, you mean we can breed these Chinas with our own plants and get roses that bloom all season long?!" Under such circumstances, its not hard to imagine how other plant features may have been given the back seat for a few decades.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 5:54PM
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I'm eager to see your results as they appear, Christopher. Particularly from the DLFED 3 as it also contains genes from three other species; demonstrates the "mossing factor" and passes it along to its offspring; and can intensify all the plant pigments (a function of both Orangeade and Legacy). You will take them in directions I couldn't due to time, space, personal vision and climate. Many things you intend to use just don't perform well in my climate. You are going to have fun, and it will be fun watching! Kim

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 5:56PM
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ffff(Calif. 9)


Thanks for the email! Unfortunately, Gardenweb isn't going to let me reply:

"(PLEASE NOTE: The member responding to your post has chosen not to reveal his or her email address. Therefore, you cannot reply to this message via email.)"

I guess you can either find and change that setting, and try again, or just send me another with your email address in it.


Since you, too, are growing R. fed. and have offered -- sure! Whenever it's ready. I'm growing what my profile says, and about 20 others, let me know if you see anything you need, and feel free to ask if you need something you don't see. I just might have it.)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 7:25PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

Whoops, sorry...sent another with my email address. If you want to trade, I'd be looking for "Pickering Four Seasons Rose" and 'Marie de St. Jean' eventually -- I didn't manage to snatch them in my Spring orders this year. Again, no rush...I have plenty to deal with as it is right now.



    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 8:19PM
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ffff(Calif. 9)


I tried breeding Ispahan for the first time just a few weeks ago, although only as a seed parent. It went about as badly as possible, with 100% self-deadheading. Celsiana, growing right nearby, had almost 100% set. I can only hope Ispahan will be a better pollen parent than it is a seed parent.

I have the same sort of problem you're referring to, when working with roses that are very double. In centifolias and similar flowers, the anthers are usually buried deeply between petals, or in some cases, even form on the edges of the petals. Worst case, I cut off the anthers and rub them against the stigma of the intended seed parent, since roses like that typically produce very little pollen, and whatever's stuck to the anthers may be all I get.

The right time to do this is soon before they'd open. Most people do it very early in the morning. With the really double blooms, you can get by with some delay, since the petals effectively immobilize the pollen.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 8:31PM
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ffff and others,

Crazily enough (a teacher will do almost anything), I had planned to experiment with OGR breeding at my school this year. I have a limited supply of candidates but was going to keep it simple and try Rose de Rescht and Indigo as pollen parents and R. alba 'Semi Plena' and R. gallica 'Officinalis' as a seed parents. (I realize that Rose de Rescht probably has china in its history...or so I've heard.) Reasons for my choices: R. alba 'SP' and R. gallica 'O' set big lots of hips and are lovely garden plants--tough, fragrant, graceful ('Semi Plena' more so), and drought-tolerant. The Portlands grow well here and are tough, fragrant, compact, remontant, and reasonably drought tolerant.

I took starts to our school garden with plans to work collaboratively with our science teacher. We tend to teach workshop-style, so the students and the science teacher and I would have learned the art and science of rose breeding together. What a graduation gift that would have been for kids (3 years from now) who created new and delightful hybrids. The fact that some of the roses would have...ummm...more personality than scent and physical beauty would do nothing to rob the moment of its magic. Alas, funding and such things are forcing the school to close.

So, I thought, this year might be a good one for me to experiment on my own with roses that are still blooming. I plan to cross some things with lovely Penelope my wonderful hipsetter. Next year, I'd like to try my hand at 'Semi Plena.' My experiences will hopefully better prepare me for another teaching position where I can once again introduce my students to the life-affirming power of OGRs.

Questions: (1) Am I on the right track with my parent plants? (2) I love the albas. Do any other albas provide choice hips? Mine never have. (3) Related to Love and Peace's question. How the heck do you get anything to cross pollinate with a damask for gosh sakes? Can't get a hip on any of mine. (4) If I cross back again to Portlands or hybrid musks, will that tend to produce better remontancy?

Sorry for all the questions. No hurry in any kindly replies.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 6:32PM
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ffff(Calif. 9)

PortlandMysteryRose:" I plan to cross some things with lovely Penelope my wonderful hipsetter. Next year, I'd like to try my hand at 'Semi Plena.' My experiences will hopefully better prepare me for another teaching position where I can once again introduce my students to the life-affirming power of OGRs.

Questions: (1) Am I on the right track with my parent plants? (2) I love the albas. Do any other albas provide choice hips? Mine never have. (3) Related to Love and Peace's question. How the heck do you get anything to cross pollinate with a damask for gosh sakes? Can't get a hip on any of mine. (4) If I cross back again to Portlands or hybrid musks, will that tend to produce better remontancy?

Sorry for all the questions. No hurry in any kindly replies."

My thoughts would be,
(1) Your choices of parent plants are fine, but for reasons involving ploidy, and other things which put most people to sleep, I think some ways of doing it are more likely to work well than others.

I don't see anything wrong with Penelope as a seed parent. I'd be somewhat less enthusiastic about it as a pollen parent, but you never know.

(2) Ploidy again... I'd recommend trying semi plena as a pollen parent, with a tetraploid seed parent like the Gallica, or maybe even the Indigo. The seedlings would probably show more influence from the seed parent than from the Alba, so it might take a second generation of Alba pollen if you wanted an obviously Alba leaning plant. I've heard that rebloom is inherited from the seed parent more often than not, making Indigo x semi plena sound intriguing. Some Albas have rebloom genes lurking (from Damask crosses), so it's not impossible that you'd get a few rebloomers that way.

In my experience, typical "species" Albas set hips reliably, but usually only produce 1-2 seeds per hip. Caninas heavily favor the seed parent's genetics over those of the pollen parent, so using an Alba as a seed parent is likely to produce offspring that look so Alba that you'll be unsure whether your cross took, or if your Alba self-pollinated. The offspring would also be hexaploid, which might matter to you, if only because the offspring will continue to favor genes from the seed parent.

Felicite Parmentier is a tetraploid Alba, and Chloris might be too, but neither are known for setting a lot of hips. I have roses like Botzaris, Celsiana, Petite Lisette and Mme Plantier in my mix as a way to bring in some canina traits without worrying about hexaploidy. I will incorporate centifolias, too, if I can find any which aren't irreversibly sterile. In short, there are lots of ways to attack that problem.

(3) Agreed. The Portland Rose sets hips pretty well for me, although it makes few seeds per hip. Autumn Damask sets some hips for me, but not reliably. (I suspect the Portland picked up additional fertility from a Gallica ancestor.) Pickering's Four Seasons might be okay, and then (if you're sufficiently patient) there's the idea about recreating R. damascena from scratch. I think your Indigo has a chance, too. AFAIK no reasonably pure Damask is a totally hopeless pollen parent, so there's always that.

My quickest tries will probably be things like Portland x (Mme Plantier x R. fedtschenkoana). Assuming Damasks are R. fedtschenkoana x (musk x gallica), Mme Plantier is Musk x (Damask x Canina), and the Portlands are (Gallica x Damask), offspring would be 13/16 Damask, 1/8 Gallica and 1/16 Canina, which sounds like a reasonable Damask Perpetual to me. Probably purer Damask than my Celsiana, Ispahan, Botzaris, or any of my Portlands. But that's several years off still.

In the shorter term, I have some Celsiana x Portland hips that look like they're going to take, and some Gallicas (Tuscany Superb, Alika, Complicata) x Portland have definitely set.

If you have a taste for the bizarre...
On some May evenings I can't resist having a few beers out among my roses. If I have a few too many, this may result in my roses having regrettable one night stands. I impulsively did some things like Eugene de Beauharnais x Duchesse de Rohan which, to my astonishment, is actually producing a hip. I doubt whether DdR could ever have very fertile offspring, but I will try them out anyway, if only to see what they smell like.

Co-conspirators are welcome to anything I might have.

(4) Probably, but it depends on what you cross it with. Pure musks tend to bloom much later than other once bloomers, but reliably remontant musks, if they ever existed, would appear to be extinct. Some supposedly pure musks will rebloom in certain microclimates, but I don't think it's clear whether/how that can be effectively exploited in a hybridization program. Hybrid musks contain chinensis, presumably their main source of rebloom genes. The chinensis rebloom mechanism is not identical to the Portland rebloom, and a reblooming Portland x a reblooming chinensis cannot be counted on to produce remontant offspring. Where any Musk rebloom might fit in is unclear, so if you crossed a hybrid musk with something like Baronne Prevost, you'd be very likely to get some remontant offspring, but nobody could predict which kind of remontancy it would be.

(I think some people have adopted the idea that Damask rebloom is a meeting of fedtschenkoana rebloom and musk rebloom, which sounds reasonable, but it's also possible that it comes from a fedtschenkoana hybrid crossing with itself, relieving musk of any responsibility for rebloom. I guess if we try enough crosses with species musks, we will find out.)

So I'd expect Penelope to produce rebloomers when crossed with any other rose with chinensis rebloom, but otherwise probably not. Unless there are some rebloom genes lurking in your Gallica or Alba, crossing them with Rose de Rescht and Indigo will not produce any rebloomers in the first generation, but many of the offspring will still be carrying some rebloom genes, and, when crossed with a Portland, would produce reblooming progeny. (You'd also produce a lot of roses with too few or no remontancy genes, but will have to grow them out and breed them to be sure which are which.)

That's what makes breeding roses with Portland style remontancy a challenge. Unless you're crossing two Damask Perpetuals together, it's usually a 2-generation job.

Caveat: the author is a dabbling amateur with no qualifications, other than having bred a few plants for fun. Nothing stated above should be considered 100% certain.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 4:51PM
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Thank you so very much for the wonderful crash course in breeding. So informative and concisely and clearly stated... but with a dash of OGR humor. I laughed uproariously at the description of the possible consequences of mixing alcohol and rose sex! Although roses are much more complicated to breed than, say, Hemerocallis for which one just basically needs to remember that diploids and tetraploids don't mate, I'm going to plunge boldly into this new frontier and see what rosey offspring follows.

Once again, thank you so much!


    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 5:17PM
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ffff(Calif. 9)

I bring greetings from Saint Nicholas! Well, actually Saint Nicholas x Salet (upper right) and Autumn Damask x Gloire des Rosomanes (lower left). Just thought some of you OGR fans out there might like knowing that things are moving along.

Merry Christmas!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2014 at 1:35PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey




    Bookmark   December 25, 2014 at 1:43PM
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Congratulations! Merry Christmas! Kim

    Bookmark   December 25, 2014 at 7:38PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Thanks for the update ffff. I'm so excited for your work.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2014 at 9:26PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

Unfortunately, I have only paltry results from my first year's attempt at hybridizing. I'm hoping next year will be more successful, if only because my roses will be a bit more mature and offer more blooms. This year I was left with two hips formed, both on 'R. moschata' -- one with 'Nigrette' as the daddy, the other with 'Chateau de Clos Vougeot' as the daddy. And, unfortunately, my improvised tags fell off, so I don't know which was which. One hip had one seed, the other had two (the hips on 'R. moschata' are tiny). I planted each seed, and will leave the pots outside, hoping the repeated freeze-thaw cycles will aid germination. It's really just a half-hearted attempt, as I've been focusing more on other things in the garden, and didn't set myself up with proper seed-starting supplies. But it would be interesting to see if I get even one "red Noisette" to grow.



    Bookmark   December 25, 2014 at 10:00PM
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ffff(Calif. 9)


Although Autumn Damask is a pollen hog (80 flowers = 55 hips = 35 seeds), Saint Nicholas is the opposite (5 flowers = 5 hips = 67 seeds), and both have been germinating very well. I think I have 9 seedlings from AD and 11 from SN now, and I only took the unsprouted remainder out of stratification a couple of days ago.

That AD x GdR is probably triploid, it's growing at about 3x the speed of everything else, and I had to move it to a 1G today, because its roots had already escaped the bottom of a tallish 4" pot. I don't know how much of it is GdR's vigor, and how much is the triploidy, but I'm expecting a big vinelike hybrid non-perpetual. If it's sterile, it's not really good for anything, but if it turns out to be fertile, I'm giving Christopher dibs on it, since I know he doesn't mind a little chinensis, and its selfings or other offspring might rebloom quite well. If he wants it, anyway! Likewise for the seedlings of Grandma's Hat I'm growing out, or anything else more suited to breeding Bourbons or HPs than Damask Perpetuals.

I'm sure that more mature plants will help quite a lot, as will trying to focus on the seed parents that give the best results. Like even though Autumn Damask is germinating well for me, the bees get most of the credit for those crosses, because I don't have the patience or pollen to use a seed parent that averages less than half a seed per pollination. Look for next year to include a whole lot more Saint Nicholas x [damask perpetual] seedlings, so that there's a nice bunch to pick from when I start crossing them back to try and recover rebloom.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2014 at 7:42PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

Sorry I missed your last reply, ffff.......

Hey, don't be so sure that the 'Autumn Damask' X 'Gloire des Rosomanes' seedling is triploid -- it could be tetraploid. Isn't 'GdR' a triploid itself? Doesn't that mean that some pollen is diploid and some is haploid?

And, hey, if it grows like gangbusters and you have enough to root a cutting, I'd love to try it out. I'm going to try rooting 'R. fedtschenkoana' for you, so we could trade. My own rooted cutting of it (from Kim Rupert) sent up a fat-caned sucker this year at the edge of the pot. I suppose it's safe to assume more will follow in 2015.



    Bookmark   January 2, 2015 at 9:39PM
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ffff(Calif. 9)

Okay, it's not growing so fast now -- I moved it from indoors under lights, to out in the cold over a month ago -- but the possibility of taking a cutting shouldn't be too far off. And you're right, it could still have that sort of vigor and be tetraploid. As it gets older, I hope for more clues.

Of planned crosses with Saint Nicholas, 11 are now little plants, having survived infancy without sickness. I used mixed pollens, so I can't tell which are which yet, except for the mossy-looking ones (Salet, or *maybe* Chapeau de Napoleon). Most of the others look varying degrees of Damask, and most are probably from Pickering FS, but some may have to bloom before I can be sure which pollens took.

There are also at least 5 Autumn Damask seedlings which look like they'll make it, and so much OP Single Musk that the culling process is ongoing. About thirty OP Grandma's Hat also germinated, but over 90% were sickly and/or misshapen. I don't know whether they're sickly because GH selfs badly, or whether GH makes sick babies regardless of the pollen used, but its promising start has definitely tarnished. One seedling of Tuscany Superb looks like it will make it. About thirty plants, all told. Others mostly haven't felt like germinating yet, if at all. No thanks to the squirrels, my dinky Saint Nicholas pretty much saved the year. I wish I had more of it!

Since none of those seedlings can be expected to bloom this year, I'm now planning a bunch more F1s. And I have to say, the closer spring gets, the more I'm tempted to try an alternative direction, which I think aligns with yours. Although I absolutely will keep working on Damask Perpetuals, I realize that the odds of getting one to rebloom are low, and that even having a fine seed parent for them, might not be enough to make future breeders want to risk trying it. Chinensis rebloom is just SO much more within reach.

So this year I'm hedging my bet, and will also try my hand at (gasp!) Hybrid Perpetuals. Breeders will include, to be sure, Alfred Colomb, Ardoisee de Lyon, "Barbara's Pasture Rose," Eugene de Beauharnais, Gloire des Rosomanes, Jacques Cartier, Reine des Violettes, Rose du Roi (of commerce), Salet (again), and Sydonie. It *may* include too modern Hugh Dickson, too sickly La Reine, or too sterile "Glendora."

The basic idea will be the same -- boost female fertility in old roses -- but I would want to keep up the outcross-backcross process indefinitely, with the goal of bringing successive generations closer to the ancient European classes, and farther away from HPs. Early on, they might still be useful for breeding Bourbons, HPs, Austin types, or species crosses.

So expect the next batch to include things like:
Saint Nicholas x Reine des Violettes
Gloire des Rosomanes x Saint Nicholas
Tuscany Superb x Alfred Colomb
Hebe's Lip x Jacques Cartier

(When looking for some other information, I came across and re-read a Paul Barden blog from 10 years ago, in which he wished for something virtually identical to Indigo, which had just enough chinensis in it to ease the breeding of (at least slightly) remontant offspring. Although he intended to try it using Modern Shrubs and a different breeding methodology, the basic idea is the same. I'm using old roses for that job in an effort to restrict how modern descendants can look and smell, since glossy foliage and some other modern traits are dominant. While either approach could work, I'm hoping mine will quickly produce some useful results, since I don't feel quite young enough to try Paul's method for this particular job, and don't have the acreage to rush it.)

Last year's Damask Perpetuals will be going on as before -- Pickering, Pink Leda, Autumn Damask, Duchess of Portland -- with Indigo and another Pickering plant joining the effort. Hebe's Lip will be getting a lot of pollen, as I suspect it's where SN got its female fertility from.

Every year I try a few long shots, using tiny amounts of pollen from functionally sterile roses on my best seed parents, and will continue doing so. (Though it's way too early to be sure, one of my SN seedlings looks like it could be from Duchesse de Rohan pollen I put on it; it has foliage as oval as any of my Autumn Damask seedlings, but far less thorns. After years of failing with roses like that, this gives me hope!)

My Single Musk is much happier lately, so it can expect a bunch of pollens, mainly directed at the moschata x gallica needed for a Damask do-over. If you like, I'll put some Gloire des Rosomanes pollen on it too, and send you any hips which result. If there's anything you'd love to see tried with things which I grow, and I've mentioned no intention of doing such crosses, let me know. Some of my roses, like Gloire des Rosomanes, will have a lot more flowers than I will have plans for.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2015 at 5:48PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

You're much better set-up than I am -- perhaps if I get hips from planned OGR crosses, I should just send them your way while I practice with OP hips. Speaking of which, I noticed that my 'Rose du Roi, original' formed hips on any blooms I failed to dead-head after the first main flush. If your '...of commerce' doesn't work for you, would you want cuttings of my '...original'? I can try rooting pieces in Spring, along with 'R. fedtschenkoana'.

And yes, I'd love to try 'R. moschata' X 'Gloire des Rosomanes'!



    Bookmark   January 28, 2015 at 7:33PM
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I'm thrilled to read of all the hybridizing that is going on with Portlands, I felt so pleased after I had read that Portlandia was D.N.A. tested and shown to have no China rose blood, but Gallica X Autumn Damask (or was it vice versa?)

I apologize for such a long posting about Tea roses but I'm so excited to learn of other amateur rose hybridizers, this is off the Portland topic, and about Tea roses mostly.
I'm glad your seeds of 'Grandmothers' Hat' germinated, I just planted seeds from that rose.
Most of my seed beds are planted with Tea rose seeds, as it's my favorite class of rose, (Alba coming in for a close second) and when I was gathering hips I saw how lovely the hips are on G.H., with their lacquer red color, and planted seeds from that wonderful rose.

My 2 goals are;
-to grow a seedling of a more richly hued Tea rose
- eventually to breed an unfading yellow Old Garden Tea rose.
I have planted dozens of seeds each from
Clemintina Carbonieri
Monsieur Tillier
Lady Hillingdon
Out of all 14 Tea and T-N I've gathered hips from those 3 had by far the most hips and seeds.
Mary Van Houtte (, one 7' tall by 10' wide plant only produced c. 18 seeds)
(an immense Rosette Delizy set 4 hips, none of which produced seeds) the mostly ivory hued ' Mrs. Dudley Cross' set one hip that had one seed.

After reading Jack Harkness's essay on how many variations of beautiful roses can be seen from planting o.p. seeds, I thought I'd give it a try.
My 3 year old own-root plant of 'Marachal Niel' died before I could work on breeding an unfading yellow Old Garden Tea. I hope to start again with a new plant of M. N. as soon as I find one, and budding it onto rootstock so I can have a more vigorous plant with more blooms to use as a seed or pollen parent.
Though I grow Souvenir de Pierrie Notting, Alexander Hill Gray, Celine Forestier, and Alliance Franco-Rusee, Marachal Niel is by far my favorite yellow rose from the Tea family.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2015 at 8:19PM
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