Any hardier Mrs. Dudley Cross look-a-likes?

Looking at Mrs. Dudley Cross pictures online, I’m pretty much enamored with the flower form, the nodding stems, the languid leaf shape, and then the round shrub form. Everything about the plant, from flower to shrub shape is pretty much ideal for me for a “shrub” rose. Maybe even ideal period for the look I’m wanting for my breeding program/the type of shrub I want to breed. Has anyone tried working with this? It has no descendants on HMF. A dead end?

In that case…is there ANYTHING that acts or looks a lot similar to Mrs. Dudley Cross and is perhaps hardier and known fertility? I am on the cusp for teas myself, zone 7a, so they technically are hardy enough but most teas blackspot here. They’d need to be sprayed. So any fertile Mrs. D Cross alternatives or look-alikes that you can think of?


  • Max

I thought Robert’s Petite d’Or, which is 1/4 tea, would be hardy here, but it wasnt. I dont know what it is about teas, but theyre 100% more prone to cold here than the purest of china roses. This is zone 8b! The Irish singles are barely hardy here, and I assume theyre partial tea roses.

What about some of the many wichurana x teas? Are they any more hardy? I’m growing ‘Paul Transom’ which is a tea-looking wich. rambler. Apparently it can be used as pollen. I’ve not seen any hips on mine yet. Being wich. x tea means they should be carrying both shrub and repeat. Others include ‘Paul Noel’, ‘Alexandre Girault’, 'Alexander Tremouillet (wish I could get this one here), ‘Madame Alice Garnier’, ‘Aviateur Bleriot’, etc… I’d Imagine mildew would be something to watch in this mix. ‘Jersey Beauty’ is another wich. x tea that I’m going to play with.

Hey Max,

Simon’s suggestion reminds me…

I grew one of the large-flowered wichuraiana climbers for probably ten years, I’d gotten it mislabeled from a big mail order nursery. It was supposed to be ‘Kiftsgate’ which it was definitely not! I’m pretty sure it was ‘Leontine Gervais’ which they also sold at that time (and no other roses in their catalog that even came close in appearance).

Anyway, it was a beautiful, HEALTHY once-bloomer and did set hips. It was completely hardy here in Maryland. I never tried any intentional crosses on it or even tried germinating the seeds, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind. Maybe it could be a stepping stone to get where you want to go.


Max, you failed to mention the most attractive feature of Mrs. Charles Dudley Cross - the delicate, highly branched, twiggy, red canes and stems.

I saw Mrs. Charles Dudley Cross at the National Arboretum a number of years ago where it grabbed my attention and held on. Alas, on a subsequent trip it had gone missing.

I could never grow Mrs. Charles Dudley Cross here in zone 5B. As an alternative I do breed with Paul Barden’s Dragon’s Blood which, while not completely hardy, does OK here with good winter protection. Dragon’s Blood is, imho, a foundation breeder for a hardy, nouveau-tea style of roses.

‘Marie Van Houtte’ does better here than most Teas… it gets a little colder and our growing season is shorter than on mainland Australia and most the teas object strongly to growing here. MVH, on the other hand, seems to do quite well. It’s also a really good breeder as both Mum and Dad. I have seedlings in the ground now that are ‘Trier’ x MVH and it is basically a hybrid musk shrub with antique-white tea flowers to about 3" in diametre. It’s probably going to be my next registration. I just love it! I reckon you’d only need to keep them alive for one or two seasons to use with hardier roses.

Unfortunately, ‘Dragon’s Blood’ op seedlings hate Australia.

Leonie Lamesch is essentially a tea with random polyantha traits. Ours is a 6’ tall “polyantha” :stuck_out_tongue: It is more tea-like than even Mutabilis, but it is more cold hardy. I also think that the wood is more resistant to wet winters than both standard teas and chinas. It LOATHES prunings, however, which is a common tea trait here in the PNW. Even Blanc d’D Coubert hates being pruned here, to the effect that it will die-back the entire cane pruned on, which is odd for a rugosa. It only seems to do well with either tip pruning or cane removal.

I loved Leonie. “Seven shades of copper”'; healthy; vigorous; flowered like a weed with decent fragrance, but as soon as the sun hit the petals, they were gone. It didn’t matter how much I watered or which part of the yard I tried her, the petals were just too soft and easily heat damaged. She’s gone on to a more suitable garden.

I have a seedling fro Danae x Leonie Lamesch, but I think its lost somewhere at my family’s property lol. It was pastel yellow cream, but it like… rambled? to 5’. Weird rose, but Leonie is definitely fertile. The petal trait didnt pass on. To be honest, it passed on the most random traits, like the foliage type and cluster architecture. That rose is so undefineable, lol, but it seems like it might be a fun pollen parent for something like Therese Bugnet.

How cold tolerant is ‘Aussie Sixer’?


I’m sorry I can’t contribute by commenting on Mrs. Dudley Cross but I would recommend Mrs. Herbert Stevens if you are looking for a half tea variety that may have potential for breeding. It does not get its tea blood through Mrs. Dudley Cross but through Niphetos (its other parent is Frau Karl Druschki). It is a very charming rose. It has survived my Zone 5b winters with some winter damage, but with the winter coverage I give it, it rebounds quickly and forms a beautiful twiggy, well branched shrub. It does get some blackspot (about average) but I think it is worth growing as it has retained a lot of the charm that the teas possess (But I say this with limited experience and knowledge of the teas). I cannot say what kind of seedlings will come out of it yet, but I did get a few hips off it this year and will be using it on a few of my better seed parents next year to check the pollen.

I have three tea x wich, ‘Etain’, ‘Auguste Gervais’ and ‘François Juranville’, I have them growing at the base of a type of cherry tree for them to swallow the very very tall and skinny/spreading trunk.

I did notice the other day a hip on one of the three plants. I will have to check soon and collect it.