A possible Rosa woodsii x R. moyesii 'Geranium hybrid

A few years ago when visiting the late Robert Erskine in the fall, I collected hips of his ‘Carlos Red’, a selection of Rosa woodsii with deep pink almost red flowers. It was growing next to his Rosa acicularis cultivars ‘Aurora’ and ‘Kinistino’. I was thinking, of course, that perhaps I would get some seedlings of a Rosa woodsii x R. acicularis cross. The seedlings theoretically would be tetraploids (diploid x hexaploid). This spring all three seedlings I had bloomed well and it appears they are hybrids with Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’. The flowers are small (2.5 cm. in diameter) and range from light to medium pink. The foliage is distinctive for a hybrid of a native prairie species with attractive, semi-glossy, medium green leaves.

Last summer I visited the residence near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta where Mr. Erskine lived the final years of his life. The residence is close by where Mr. Erskine lived and many of his roses are located on this property. I was surprised to see a large shrub of Rosa moyesii growing well with no significant winter kill located not too far from the ‘Carlos Red’ shrub. The cultivar is likely ‘Geranium’. I know Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’ is surprisingly cold hardy, since a shrub has grown for many years at the Devonian Botanic Garden (Zone 3) at Edmonton, Alberta. This year there was lots of winter kill of shrub rose cultivars at the DBG including, shockingly, ‘Harison’s Yellow’ but Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’ came through quite well. I don’t know how to explain this phenomenon.

It’s possible I got tetraploid seedlings from o.p. ‘Carlos Red’ but not in the way I expected. In any case, these are likely the first Rosa woodsii x R. moyesii hybrid seedlings ever developed. I think there is much potential to work more with Rosa moyesii, crossing it with North American native species. As far as that goes, more should be done crossing European and Asiatic with North American species to combine the best characteristics of native roses of both continents.

I believe so, too. I put Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’ on Belle Epoque just yesterday! I wasnt thinking of the yield, tho. I was given the pollen from a local friend and I knew Belle Epoque set seeds easily even when it is raining hardcore. I’d love to know what R. m. ‘Geranium’ really is, though. Many books say that it is a R. moyesii selection but it is hard to believe that it is any ordinary selection.