Alex Mackenzie

AM is very hardy, very healthy, and repeat blooms; it produces abundant op hips.

Has anyone gotten any good seedlings out of AM? It has not produced any keepers for me in the past.

In 2008, a large number (100?) of blooms produced a small amount of pollen which was put onto several Bucks (also Suzanne derivatives); seed set was fairly good.

I’ve never used Alexander MacKenzie in any of my crosses, because of the remote location where I’ve had it planted. But, I’ll second the assertion that it IS healthy, hardy and repeats!

It’s one of the relatively few roses that have survived complete neglect – planted in an abandoned hayfield setting – no mowing, mulching, weeding, watering, pruning or fertilizing. It’s stood up to the weather, critters and disease for over ten years now; holding it’s own against competition of weeds, grass, brambles and tree seedlings.

I’m very impressed with this rose!

Best of luck with your Buck / AM crosses, I look forward to hearing how they grow.


I haven’t grown Alexander McKenzie, but two studies of the roses at the Minnesota Arboretum have shown that it isn’t completely hardy here. It suffers winter kill of up to 70% each year. So it

Hi Dave,

I like the rose and agree it has a lot of nice traits. I confirm what Paul says about it being triploid. I counted its chromosomes and it does have 21. Some triploids make better parents than others. I suspect it would be easier to raise seedlings of it used as a male, but that is just my suspicion. I included it in the Northern EarthKind trials because it is a pretty good overall rose with better blackspot resistance than many. Last fall I obtained the male parent of it and am excited to do a chromosome count on it as well.



Paul Guerts and David Zlesak:

Do you make a distinction between winter-hardy and winter-hardy-cane hardy? Many winter-hardy roses and their canes will die to the snow line or below while other hardies have canes with only tip kill. Further, it would seem that the amount of dieback will depend on how nature prepares the cane(s) for overwintering and the weather conditions during winter.

A case in point is ‘William Booth’ which generally only has tip kill or more (USDA zone 4, CDN zone 5). However, a few years back we had very strong cold westerly winds including many bouts of freezing rains and the plants suffered approximately 50 to 60 per cent total dieback. The windward side of the canes turned grey and expired.

I was wondering if the above is taken into account in your evaluations. It would seem that many rosarians and others do not make a distinction. Although some of the factors involved in nature preparing canes for winter, I was wondering if the above would make a good MSc. study?

Your opinions would be sincerely appreciated.


David Zlesak:

AM is a cross between 'Queen Elizabeth x F2(‘Red Dawn’ x ‘Suzanne’)OP and the seedling was designated as D15. I would think that AM is triploid.

I hope this helps.


Thank you Neville. I don’t have D15, but just (‘Red Dawn’ x ‘Suzanne’) and didn’t realize there was an extra op in there.

Thanks! I haven’t looked at RD x Suz yet, the plant and pot are buried in the garden for the winter. Hopefully this spring after it starts growing I can determine its ploidy.

Those are great questions about winter hardiness. I agree that there is a lot of variation and challenge in quantifying it. Some roses can die back far and recover fast which makes them nicer landscape additions. I am aiming for more and more cane hardiness if possible. The surveys of hardiness of common landscape cultivars at the MN Landscape Arboretum printed in the RHA newsletter report percent cane survival. Some roses with poor readings recover and grow back strong even though they lose a lot of material. Even though theoretically cutting off dead material should be easy come spring for people, in many typical landscapes this doesn’t happen or happen until the new growth has grown a lot. It can be hard to go in and prune then. Such plantings become messy.

I agree the hardening off process and other factors influence survival dramatically and it would be good to document and select for roses that know when winter is coming and can acclimate appropriately. Some zone 3 areas have great winter survival of roses only because they have reliable snow cover, while some zone 4 and 5 locations are difficult for the same roses because of unreliable snow cover. Hopefully we can breed roses with a strong enough consitution to have strong cane hardiness coupled with good hardening off capacity to do well reliably across much of the north. Even if they are reliably crown hardy and need pruning that opens up a lot of possiblity for homeowners willing to give the minimal care even though for many municipalities that would be problematic.

Steve MacNamara at the Hort Research Center has tried freezer studies with rose canes acclimated as much as possible and there is a lot of variation for LD50 temps based on which canes were used and such. There is a lot of variation within a plant for degree of hardening off it seems too. It would be great if more work can be done like you say to better quantify and understand the acclimation process in roses.



Many thanks for your most interesting reply David!

If you are looking for roses with very good to excellent cane survival in USDA zone 4, I would suggest ‘Rosy Vision’ photos of which are on and ‘Emily Carr’ or ‘Felix Leclerc’.

‘Rosy Vision’ was supposed to be multiplied by Palatine Roses in time for promotion at the world rose meeting in Vancouver, BC but I can’t find this info. on their web site. Mark Disero also had a limited supply. At any rate I can send you cuttings this coming Summer. The plant is six feet high and wide is very floriferous (about 25 flower buds per cane), has excellent black spot resistance and hardy to the tip.

Unfortunately, I do not recall if ‘Emily Carr’ or ‘Felix Lecler’ has very hardy wood but the one with desirable canes was coded U11 and is available from Corn Hill Nursery, Corn Hill, New Brunswick. I am sure Bob Osborne will be able to inform you. The latter two are new releases from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

I hope that this will be of some help in your research.

Wishing you the very best!


‘Felix Leclerc’ is very hardy, has seen temps of -38 C this winter and the young plant is green and alive to the tips. ‘Emily Carr’ is hardy to the snowline.



Your ‘Rosy Vision’ looks like an awesome rose. It has all the attributes one could look for in a cold-hardy bush rose.

Is it fertile?



‘Rosy Vision’ does not set hips but does give a good amount of pollen. It has been crossed with line 05-01 (05-01 x ‘Rosy Vision’ - 25 crosses) and all took. This gave a total of 201 seeds or an average of 8.04 seeds per hip. I do not have any information on per cent germination as yet. This cross will probably give a pink but hopefully the hardiness of ‘Rosy Vision’ will be transferred to 05-01 which is already hardy above the snow line. Both have very good to excellent black spot resistance. Mildew is not a problem in this area.

Line 05-01 can be seen at if you wish. Click on the thumbnail and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see this plant in full flower.

Mike, the above is for your information only. ‘Rosy Vision’ was donated to the Canadian Rose Society and we are still three years away from releasing the first rose to the marketplace. No promotional intent is meant by the above.

All the very best!



That is a good question. I do make a distinction between roses that are cane hardy and what some people call

Hi Paul:

Many thanks for your interesting reply!

I have a winter-hardy grandiflora whose canes die below the snow line, but regrowth is quick and flowering takes place at the end of June to the beginning of July. Soil type is Glacial Till. However, some new lines do take a little longer to bloom. Tender roses will die in our area after the first winter if not protected.

I will compare time and length of flowering between ‘William Baffin’ and the grandiflora and other roses this coming summer.

You can see the growth and flower of the grandiflora on our website.

Again, many thanks and all the very best!


I guess I should clarify, … ‘Emily Carr’ freezes back to or near the snowline here in my zone 3 …


Hi Neville,

I have several plants that after dieing back to the snowline or below rebound very quickly, Hot Wonder, My Hero and Carefree Sunshine come to mind. Of those three, Carefree Sunshine is the least hardy, but also rebounds the fastest. I also have some Bucks and a few floribundas that rebound very slowly. The Bucks should be hardier than the floribundas, but they don

Several Buck X AM seedlings have already germinated, so AM pollen must be at least somewhat viable.

I have really wanted to use AM for it’s health and hardiness, too. I have some OP seedlings of AM but when I tried to pollinate the rose myself they all swelled and aborted (excuse me if I don’t use the correct terminology, I am here to learn all I can). I have some OP AM seedlings in the starter tray right now. I have a beautiful miniature from an OP AM from 2005. It will have lots of buds and then they are gone and I don’t know if something eats them or they abort. Do roses abort their buds? I have moved it farther away from the other roses since it was getting overshadowed by bigger shrubs. I didn’t realize that it would stay so small. I hope to see more blooms this season. It has 5-7 leaflet’s and red full blooms. I used the AMs pollen once on a mini rose, for curiosity sake, and have a mini with coral semi-double, plain flowers. None of the seedlings that I kept or tossed set seed. Oh, yes, the germination rate was not very high on the seeds that I did take from AM.

An AM op here is a small plant which never grows or blooms much at all; maybe the lack of vigor is genetic, although the parent is plenty vigorous!