Above and Beyond

Here is something many/most among us are looking at: a near species hybrid with quite outstanding features…

Frost resistance, part yellow, strong, desease resistant and spectacularly decorative.

Large-Flowered Climber, Shrub.
Light apricot. Orange buds open to 5 or more apricot semi-double to double blooms… Mild, spice fragrance. 14 to 22 petals. Average diameter 3.5". Large, semi-double to double, in large clusters, flat to cupped bloom form. Prolific, spring or summer flush with scattered later bloom. Medium, pointed, ovoid buds.
Tall, arching, climbing, upright. Medium, semi-glossy, light green foliage. 5 to 7 leaflets.
Height of 9’ 10" to 13’ 1" (300 to 400 cm). Width of 13’ 1" to 16’ 5" (400 to 500 cm).
USDA zone 3b and warmer. Can be used for garden, hedge, landscape, pillar, shrub or specimen. Very hardy. very vigorous. can be grown as a shrub. can be trained as a climber. flowers drop off cleanly. suitable for a pillar. Disease susceptibility: disease resistant, blackspot resistant.
United States - Patent No: PP 24,463 on 20 May 2014 VIEW USPTO PATENT
Application No: 13/573072 on 20 Aug 2012
seed: Lemon Fluff
pollen: R. virginiana × Rosa laxa Retzius
Extremely cane hardy. Top may freeze to snow line in extreme winters in zone 3b.

Is it fertile or part of a fertile family David?

Thanks Pierre!

Yes, it is very fertile as a male. I was potting up dozens of seedlings of it crossed to some crown hardy roses last night. As a female, it doesn’t usually accept pollen too easily from the crosses I put on it, but it does set a good number of open pollinated hips. That has been the case too for the Rosa virginiana grandmother. It was interesting out of all the things I was trying to cross onto R. virginiana (mainly modern shrub roses), only the R. laxa seemed to work well. Maybe it is because they are both in the same section of Rosa- Cinnamomeae. I was able to get a sucker of the R. laxa used as a grandfather this past fall and was surprised when I counted some root tips of it, it was diploid. Peter Harris has been collecting R. laxa from different locations and sources and all those were diploid too.

In another generation of crossing to marginally crown hardy roses, at least in zone 4 here, the hardiness of Above and Beyond gets diluted quickly and most seedlings are generally strongly snowline or crown hardy. I am trying to work towards more large cane hardy roses in other colors and think the way to make that happen would be to cross roses like Above and Beyond with other hybrids that are very close to hardy species as well.

David, this is a very pretty climber. I love the fact that it has a good balance of color (I love apricots), fragrance, and disease resistance. Are you looking to breed more repeat bloom to it?

Central NJ, zone 7a

Hi Cathy :0) I’m glad you like it. It is my favorite seedling from all these years of breeding roses because it combines so many nice features. Yes, my hope is to get stronger repeat bloom in more compact seedlings while hopefully retaining enough winter hardiness and health that they are reliable here in a typical low maintenance landscape. I’ve been trying to cross it with roses that are more double than it too in order to increase petal count.

There is a nice ivory apricot very double seedling of it that is pretty hardy from just an op. It is comparable in hardiness to Above and Beyond and tall, but not quite as vigorous and aggressive of a grower. I’m excited to use this other seedling in crosses too with more compact shrub roses. There is a nice chest high seedling of Above and Beyond with a shrub rose that dies back about half way and has blooms the same color and form as Above and Beyond and it blooms more freely throughout the summer.

I’m excited where others and I can take the genetics in Above and Beyond in the future with more breeding. I have heard mixed reports that R. virginiana can have some tolerance or resistance to Rose Rosette Disease. Thankfully RRD isn’t common around the Twin Cities. It’ll be interesting if Above and Beyond and other species hybrids that trace back to additional species like R. setigera, R. palustris, etc. would be a useful source of resistance for us.

The plant that C. C. Hurst recognized as R. laxa Retz. was tetraploid. He counted chromosomes for himself, so I wonder what ever happened to that specimen.

Mistakes happen in botanic gardens, as Gordon Rowley (1951) explained:

Gardeners Chronicle & New Horticulturist 130: 14-15 (July 14, 1951)
Seeds from Botanic Gardens
Gordon Rowley

The annual circulation of exchange lists by botanic gardens and plant research stations affords the experimenter his readiest means of obtaining seeds. He can rarely hope to find a collector on the spot to send him plants from the wild, and cuttings are easy enough if taken locally, but are troublesome to pack, and perishable in the post. Thus it often happens that he falls back on a search through the current seed lists, hoping that the plants raised will come “true.” But do they? Sometimes his hopes are justified. Sometimes the plants grow uniformly, but prove to be of a different species through misnaming in the first place.

Seeds received here as > Bulbine annua > from six different sources in Europe grew uniformly as > B. semibarbata, > and the true, dwarf, ephemeral > B. annua > does not seem to be in cultivation at all — except, perhaps, under another name.

An obvious misnaming such as this is easier to detect than a chance hybrid, which, if queried at all, may be dismissed as due merely to local growing conditions.

Sometimes where only one plant is wanted the remaining seedlings are discarded, and in the absence of taxonomic study this plant passes muster as the true species, and no one is ever the wiser. Early discarding of seed pans may lead unwittingly to the encouragement of vigorous hybrids. An extreme instance was a pan of > Rosa Maximowicziana > sown in 1948. A single plant came up at once, but grew into an extraordinary dwarf tetraploid instead of the expected tall shrub. Nothing more appeared until the fourth spring, when four seedlings of more orthodox form germinated, and will, we hope, prove nearer to the plant required.

An opportunity for testing the incidence of hybridity in open-pollinated seeds from mixed collections came during the search for Rose species for the National Rose Species Collection now being formed at Bayfordbury. Seedlings raised in 1948 have been grown on side by side, and many are now sufficiently mature plants for critical comparison. Often, of course, germination is erratic or very poor, and generalizations cannot be made. The best batch for purposes of analysis consists of 30 “species” from seeds from two botanic gardens.

Of these, six were obviously misnamed in the first place, and three have not as yet been matched with any published description. Eight formed families of great diversity, showing the influence of one or more foreign parents, or suggesting that the mother plant was already a hybrid. At best, only 13 (about 43% of the whole) could be reasonably retained under the name by which they were received.

Sometimes the influence of one powerful pollinator can be seen in the contamination of many plants growing near it. An interesting case was provided by seeds from a well-known collection in the North. At least four out of nine “species” raised showed unmistakable characters of the diploid > R. rugosa. > This oriental species is so distinct in its form of leaflets, stem armature, flowers and scent that its F1 hybrids can be readily perceived.

Throughout these investigations, chromosome studies have proved of the greatest help, and counts made by Miss A. P. Wylie have brought to light many inconsistencies, and helped clear up others. For instance, a very mixed family of 19 plants arose from seeds received as > Rosa flexuosa. > Some were “canina-type” hexaploids and might well be the > R. Jundzillii > to which Keller refers > R. flexuosa. > One dwarf plant is a heptaploid with 2n=49, and at least one other octoploid with 2n=56; allowing for the unbalanced gametes of Caninae Roses these could have arisen by outcrossing with a regular tetraploid and regular hexaploid species respectively.

Sometimes it is even possible to suggest, on cytological grounds, the other parent of such aberrant individuals. Five Kew seedlings received as > Rosa pendulina > (tetraploid) turned out, surprisingly enough, to be all heptaploid, with somatic counts of 2n=49 (or very nearly so). Examination of the Kew “pendulinas” revealed one that was an octoploid under the name of > R. balsamea, > and next to it as its nearest neighbour a hexaploid, > R. nutkana. > Perhaps these were the parents of the mysterious heptaploids which, for all their odd ancestry, flower well and seem remarkably fertile.


Retzius (1803) wrote that his Rosa laxa had 9 to 11 leaflets. The pictures of living plants identified as R. laxa on HelpMeFind do not agree with this. The one picture at 'R. laxa' Rose Photo does (though the R. beggeriana Schrenk in that picture does not agree with Schrenk’s description.)

Great job on this one David! It’s beautiful and I like the parentage.


Very, very nice. Well worth the wait. Your skill shows. Johannes

"the hardiness of Above and Beyond gets diluted quickly "…As is probably its yellow half…

No doubt that such a complex wide cross could (or has to?) bear a dose of inbreeding.
Well… something one could consider as inbreeding as F2s selfings or siblings are to be rather diverse even if many will be wildlings.

If I were in an appropriate climate (and younger) I would intend to breed a fertile family with this common background in order to slowly get better rebloom, color intensity and restrained growth capitalizing outstanding hardiness and species contribution.