Baby Love

I never was able to acquire this rose in my former garden as I had wanted, and it occurs to me that it is now out of patent.

If it is still available, is it still a rose worth obtaining, or are there now superior descendants/replacement plants that have more to offer?

Baby Love put into my breeding line what most roses could not – rain resistance, heat resistance, warm colors, compactness, and massive repeat bloom. Some say it defoliates for them. It is uber clean here, but we may have different strains and pressures. With that said, it does seem to pass on the same resistances in the temperate climates, like the PNW and the UK, so something of that nature is good. I would use this roses again to add to my collection, but I had to stop using it as to prevent too much inbreeding.

Are you in need of BL pollen, Philip?

I appreciate the offer, Kim, but I don’t think I have any use at this moment. I’ve had very little take this year, and right now my flowers are saying, “Oh, ick. Another Texas summer…” I’ve been neglecting those babies too in deference to the new, more animated one.

…But taking a break from diapers, I started thinking about roses again (with nice fragrances, preferably) and planning (dreaming) about future crosses. I could certainly think of a number of uses for BL for next season. Hopefully I’ll have better luck with crosses taking.

How readily does BL cross? Is it a pretty effortless one to work with?

Baby Love produces masses of pollen, and like Pretty Lady, is highly male fertile. Do not use either for seed – they’re very similar.

I’ve grown Baby Love for two years now, but not really put it to use. Pretty Lady followed me home at the same time and she began ‘working’ last year. I chalked her ability to bring hips to full term on her being potted and the weather, but with decent pollen parents, she produced viable seed which has germinated into seedlings similar to the reciprocal crosses.

Hi Phillip!

Sorry to say that in our area Baby Love is very black spot susceptible…

And…we used it for a few years in crosses before we learned just how susceptible it was. To make matters worse, it seems to pass along that susceptibility very easily!

Looking back at my notes, we used Baby Love from 1996 through 1999. She was okay as a female…anywhere from 50 to 100% set. Produced on average only 3-4 seeds per hip. I seem to remember that the seeds germinated readily, but that was the ‘early years’ in my breeding career here, so I wasn’t smart enough to take germination data!

Very interesting. Thanks, Natalie. I hadn’t expected that.

I gather its real strength is in mildew resistance? (I experienced bad mildew for the first time this year. Never really had such on the rainy Gulf Coast prior to moving west.)

Baby Love has broken down from black spot for me too in MN. It just has what seems to be a vertical resistant gene that was effective against most black spot races. As the virulent race to it spreads likely through commerce of infected plants, different regions have the virulent form and takes it down. This is a great case study for the value of understanding the difference between vertical and horizontal resistance and that ultimately we need to make sure we have horizontal resistance. Baby Love does not have good horizontal resistance and once infected tends to go down hard. I’m concerned about what seems to be the single mildew resistance vertical gene it has and how heavily people especially on the West coast in their breeding programs are relying on it out of Baby Love. So far it is holding up, but if we have a significant number of newer cultivars all possessing and relying on this one allele, if/when it fails we will have a problem.

It is easy to say we should diversify and use a lot of parents as sources for resistances and traits. I also fight the tendency of overusing key parents too. Here is a link on the RHA site to an article describing horizontal versus vertical resistance.

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Correct. That is why I stopped using it, but I do use descendants that I created from it. Baby Love has more than just that going for it. The canina hybrid that I created from it, which bloomed in May, essentially made an 8’ x 5’ cascade of coral and peach-toned single blooms, looking very similar to that of the Penzance series. In other words, the yellow and orange contained in that little rose is very potent. As for new dwarfs, I am currently trialing Oso Easy Peachy Cream as a parent, which is likely even more resistant, but has the “wichurana fade” to it.

Baby love is still holding up for me here in Des Moines. I believe this will be its third year in my garden. Maybe the blackspot race it can’t fight off is not in the area yet or it just is not in my tiny little corner of the world. I am using it with a lot of the Buck, Canadian, and Brownell roses I grow with the thought of combining all the various disease resistance genes like a stew. I have about 20-25 varieties that display excellent horizontal resistance to blackspot and other diseases and they will be mixed and matched as much as I can.

I don’t know if it is worth the trouble in the long run, but I am currently following three rules when it comes to producing the F1 generation between two commercial roses: 1) no two varieties from the same breeding line/breeder are combined; 2) no two varieties with a shared ancestor within 3 generations; and 3) No two varieties that I consider tender here (so hardy + hardy or hardy + tender are okay but no tender + tender). There are a few crosses that will be made that violate this rule but overall I follow these rules. Hopefully, Baby Love’s genes will be bolstered by this type of breeding. The added bonus too is that it narrows down the number of cross possibilities so I am not outside just throwing pollen on everything I can get my hands on – which I do anyway but not as much as I did last year and the year before that.

When I get to the next generations, I am a little less strict but mainly because I want to test to see what they produce. Then it becomes a free for all with any rose with a bloom.

I don’t blame you Andre. I’ve always resisted using related roses together, particularly if their shared ancestors were things like Little Darling. Not only for disease resistance, but plant habit. The one exception I’ve usually made has been Legacy. For my climate, there is just too much RIGHT with that rose not to intensify its effects.

A great example of Baby Love kin.

A good example of Baby Love’s color potential, but not so much a good example of a plant. Both of the above are Solitaire x Baby Love.

A great example of Baby Love as a 2nd generation. Note that the foliage type has disappeared, but the tones remain the same. This is Yellow Brick Road x (Livin Easy x Baby Love), scrambling through a perennial border. It is rain, heat, and disease resistant here.

I think people thought of Baby Love as an end to disease, but it is not. It is just one of the better roses, which is faulted in some areas. However, it has way more pros than cons, especially for a rose so rich in both yellow and orange genetics.

A number of years ago Heirloom Roses sold a Baby Love seedling named Baby Girl. It has been a much more consistent performer than its parent in my GA garden. The strain of BS that can defoliate Baby Love either hasn’t found Baby Girl or it isn’t susceptible.

The habit of growth, bloom size, etc. is very similar.

I haven’t tried to raise any seedlings from it so can’t speak to its usefulness as a parent.

[attachment 1716 BabyGirl2.JPG]