Christopher Marlowe and Mary Rose

Just wondering if anyone grows the DA rose; ‘Christopher Marlowe’? I have one (US equiv zone 9b in Australia) and have found this to be extremely healthy, strong growing, and very floriferous with an attractive leaf, different from most other DA roses and a pleasant perfume. I haven’t sprayed this year and the plant is clean as a whistle. Cuttings also strike easily and seem to grow well on its own roots. Would be interested to hear how it grows for others in other areas and whether anyone has used it in any crosses yet with some feedback regarding fertility used either way? I was thinking of teaming it up with other indestructibles such as ‘Bonica’ to try for English-type roses that are equally healthy that are low dense shrubs like ‘Bonica’.

Also wondering how ‘Mary Rose’ performs in other areas. It seems to work well here as a seed parent producing lots of seeds that germinate easily and is relatively clean.

I am in PA and Mary Rose grows well here, but it is quite prone to blackspot.

It doesn’t get a huge amount of BS here but is not completely clean.

Has anyone heard of Christopher Marlowe? It’s leaves are very different from the normal DA rose, almost verging on a rambler-type leaf, but the full parentage is not disclosed on HMF.

I don’t grow Christopher Marlowe, but I do grow Mary Rose and use it in breeding. In my climate it is nearly disease free.

On the other hand, Bonica is FAR from disease free here. It can produce clean offspring, but be careful, as it produces mostly pale pinks and whites, and most will Mildew badly in a greenhouse.

Here in MD both Mary Rose and Bonica get serious BS. Mary rose looses more then 70% its leaves from BS if grown no spray and Bonica looks quite naked too. Not the best choices for no spray garden around here…


I always find it amazing how the same variety of rose grows so differently in different parts of the world. I realise the fungi that causes BS is not restricted to one species but never-the-less the differences are, in some cases, extreme. ‘Bonica’ grows spot free here without being sprayed and never gets mildew. When other things are completely defoliated ‘Bonica’ looks lovely. It makes it so difficult choosing approproate parents. ‘Mary Rose’ is growing spary free here as well and is pretty clean but not completely.

Something has been turning over in my head lately… I have noticed that if you leave a plant unsprayed that in some cases it will defoliate but in other cases it will only partly defoliate and some branches seem to be totally unaffected. I wonder if there is a kind of sporting that can occur on a bush that results in partial improvements in BS resistance and whether we could select budwood from these locations and over time improve the resistance by selectively propagating more resistant parts of the rose?

CM definitely has unique leaves, as does Jubilee Celebration (which is clean, compact and fully repeat for me). However, CM has even smaller leaves than JC does! It looks awkward. I wonder if these two roses are inverse crosses of one another, or just half-sibs.

I agree with Olga on Mary Rose and Bonica. They are quite prone to blackspot on the east coast of the US.

With that said, I think the Mary Rose has a lot to offer. It has big flowers, excellent repeat bloom, bushy habit and, to my nose, a fantastic fragrance.

Has Austin not created any updates to Mary Rose that would be superior in resistance with similar positive qualities?

The Generous Gardener looks decent, and hmf says it sets hips. – just a thought

There was a DA advertised here not long ago called ‘Mayflower’. It was advertised as being completely black spot/powdery mildew/rust resistant but a little shy with its blooms. I havn’t grown it so can’t say whether it is or not. It’s flowers are a nice ‘Mary Rose’ type pink and quite large. It’s lineage is only given as seedling x seedling.


“What makes a rose disease-resistant?” a member of the visiting party asked and received the reply: “Take our 2001 new variety ‘Mayflower’ for example, it has some Rugosa in the parentage.”

Ahhh… see I love this idea of putting rugosa through everything :slight_smile: My latest cross was ‘Scabrosa’ x ‘Peace’ and it has taken!!! Going to put ‘Ebb Tide’ on it soon too :slight_smile:

Last year was the first year that I grew Mary Rose. It was about average for BS resistance. I haven’t used it yet to breed with, but it has quite a few offspring so it must be a good parent.

I’ve grown Mayflower for several years now. I’m seriously considering shovel pruning it because it’s been pretty BS and leaf spot prone in my garden. I’m not that impressed with it, if the flowers were better I might consider keeping it. The fact that it is completely sterile makes useless as a parent. So in my mind, it doesn’t have any redeeming qualitites.

I agree Simon, there are very few roses that combine disease resistance and repeat bloom with the hardiness to thrive in my zone like the rugosas do. So I used them quite a bit in my breeding program this year. I used J5, Geschwinds Orden and R.blanda on Showey Pavement; Bonica, Honey Sweet and J5 on Darts Dash. I also used Morden Centennial OP on Therese Bugnet and Blank Double de Courbet. And finally, I used Therese Bugnet on R.glauca and Champlain. Not all of them took and most of the ones that did will probably be triploids but I’m hoping that they’ll be fertile enough to work with.

The problem with working with Rugosas, as I see it, is that the first generation is often a very troubled lot. Many are prone to Rust and Blackspot and many get Mildew as well. A fair percentage have physiological problems, and some NEVER bloom. Getting past these problems can take time. Thats not to say it shouldn’t be worked on, just saying that I have seen more then the usual number of problems arise when adding Rugosas to the mix.

At this time, I have a breeding plant I am happy to be working with that is (Miniature X Bracteata) X (Miniature X Rugosa). It is a sturdy, vigorous shrub that does NOT mildew in the greenhouse (thats where I keep it, as a breeder) and it blooms continuously with 3" medium red blooms that have excellent petal texture. It sets hips easily with most any pollen, and has lovely yellow Fall color. Yes, with that parentage it does have rather thorny canes, but so what. I think its this kind of plant that can lead to better garden shrubs, hopefully with better foliage health. You just need to find a selection that gets you past the first cross with Rugosas. We shall see what happens.

Paul, that

Mayflower after 3 years in my garden - gone, due to BS.

It is all so climate specific.


Bummer! Any thoughts of The Generous Gardener anyone? It looks like the cleanest and most similar descendant of Mary Rose that i could find on HMF.

Personally, I would go with Jubilee Celebration, but it probably better fits my perimeters than some of all of yours’.

Jude the Obscure was decent for me, personally, but I didnt care for the plant architecture the seedlings inherited. It was too … stalky yet random. It lacked flow. However, it does give awesome myrh fragrance in its seedlings!

“Yes, with that parentage it does have rather thorny canes, but so what.”

I agree with this too… it’s a rose… it’s meant to have thorns. The way I see it is that I hope the rugosa adds a tendency to form a shrub that requires little-to-no pruning apart from basic shaping so the thorns are less of an issue.

“It is all so climate specific.”

Yes… and there must be some bad---- black spot causing fungi species/varieties in some places that make even the strongest roses weak at the knees.

Some rugosa seem disease prone here too. I was trying to grow ‘Pink Grootendorst’ and it was very unthrifty and eventually just shrivelled up and died. ‘Scabrosa’ seems to be the best in my garden so far though i haven’t tried some of the double hybrid rugosa here yet (hard to find).

I haven’t been able to collect pollen from Christopher Marlowe yet…

My favorite is still Rosa rugosa alba. It is a beacon of white, lol. Also, its single-ness accentuates its crepe-like petals.

I have Blanc double de Coubert forever. I ignore it mostly. It is “okay”. I find the species to be way more aesthetic and attractive.

Of the doubles, I prefer two-- Rugosa Magnifica and Jens Munk. Theyre well behaved, snifferific and healthy.

Pink Grootendorst was actually shovel pruned due to its thorns. They are particularly painful. It had masses of curved TEETH!!! It was so vigorous here that it did require heavy pruning. I feel it is due to the polyantha influence that it just loved to branch out at any momnet it could. I prefer the species thorns cause you can actually grab them with bare hands without getting even a scratch if you know what you are doing. They may be numerous, but theyre very light prickles that require pressure to be painful The truck is to cup the pruning with your hand rather than try to grab them with any specific pressure.