Combining Wichurana ramblers with modern groundcover roses

I have always been amazed by the disease resistance, vigour, flowers and lax canes of Alberic Barbier. Unfortunately, it flowers only once (and is sterile). Modern large-flowered climbers do repeat, but have thick, stiff canes that I find difficult to train on a pergola. And many lack disease resistance.

So I want to breed a climbing rose, that is repeat-flowering, has large flowers, is disease resistant and has lax canes with a graceful growth habit. It can be vigorous but not too big. I’m thinking of combining two classes of roses: Wichurana ramblers and modern groundcover roses with wichurana and multiflora in their pedigree. From the first group I want to get large flowers, vigour and fragrance. From the second group I want repeat flowering, reduced height and stronger colours (although yellow is problematic) and the multiflora disease resistance. From both groups I want the wichurana resistance to blackspot and the lax canes.

I already ordered some roses from the wichurana class that were also used by Brownell (and thus at least useable as parents): Golden Glow, Elegance, Glenn Dale and Jersey Beauty. I also have Crepuscule, although it is from another class. All have latent repeat genes. From the groundcover class I plan to use some yellow groundcovers from Kordes, Noack and Interplant. I don’t know if they are fertile, I’ll have to test them. Both classes are mostly triploid, I believe.

So, what do you think of this idea?


Ive considered something along these lines a few times. I usually lose interest when I imagine 6’3" self trying to pollinate small blooms, lol.

Perhaps Sea Foam would be a useful parent for your purpose. Others have produced great roses from it:


Would you consider going back to R. wichurana for the lax habit as well as the near evergreen foliage? I’ve been reading Kingsley’s Roses and Rose Gardens this a.m. and she was talking about wichuranas which were only just newly introduced. And then they were crossed with the big Hybrid Perpetuals and gave roses with great cascades of blooms. But her commentary and others from that time were of roses being chosen to make big plants.

For scooting along the ground readiness, there may be nothing that compares with the species wichurana. For health of leaves, it is in my yard, the total package. Any rose that makes leaves that can survive three inches above moist ground, in the shade of an overly vigorous and water hogging R. laevigata, well, that wichurana has great leaves that are, in addition, a strong shade of green, not yellow green but deep green that used to be the color of classic sports cars (British Racing Green.)(In our family, that’s a good color.)

Given the roses you list (and I assume that “yellow” is also on your list of attributes) I’m wondering if you would want to add “Leverkusen,” which does have some rebloom in warmer climates though the yellow may not be as intense as its parent Golden Glow. That said, it certainly compounds the healthiness through its Kordesii parentage, and I believe that most of its HT crosses yield fully remontant plants.

Oddly, of the descendants I just saw listed on HMF, only one appears to have a yellow rose as the other parent…

Caveat: I have never grown this rose, let alone bred with it…


I tried growing Ilse Krohn Superior. I was surprised by the amount of mildew it had. Leverkusen is its sister (or some such similarity). So, I am wondering about mildew proneness in seedlings. I dug up Ilse Krohn Superior. I was disappointed, and didnt see the value in using it in breeding. But I dont know how Leverkusen would pan out. If it is anything like Dortmund, Sympathie or Rosarium Utersen, you may get a full spectrum of disease/health. I noticed Kordes liked to marry kordesii with bright colored, but mildew prone modern parents… just a thought!

Personally, one could try a buff toned rambler with Baby Love… might get a fertile triploid or some such weird combo. Some of the buff ramblers were repeat blooming.

I would use this one :slight_smile:

From the Kordesii I had Sympathie, but this had the same big, thick stiff canes that I would like to avoid. I thought this was because of the Kordesii descendence? I’ve never seen Leverkusen IRL so I don’t know about the habit of that rose.

I’m not planning to get all the way back to R. wichurana itself. I think there are many hybrids that have wichurana characteristics combined with other traits that I like to get. Using these would save some years. Recent groundcovers have very resistant foliage, repeat flower and have lax canes. They are also compact, so when I combine them with the older wichurana ramblers I might get something nice of in-between height and vigour.

Seafoam is interesting, but also a little old. I plan to use more recent groundcover varieties, especially with warm coloured flowers.

Aviateur Bleriot is interesting too, also has some descendants. I can’t get anymore climbers though, so I’ll be trying what I have first. I’m especially interested in what Golden Glow will yield when combined with yellow groundcovers.


Golden Glow definetly can produce long low growing canes. They are very bendable and floppy. I had one cane grow about 6 ft along the ground and up into another rose at the end of the short garden I have it in. It had to survive a tough transplat but grew a very long and thick cane. I was able to wrap it around a pole very easily without breaking or damaging the cane. Its the exact opposite of Dornroschern which has very stiff canes for me. My Autumn Sunset is reasonably floppy. I have a Autumn Sunset x Applejack that is very floppy and lax. Flowers like mad too.

Have you tried using New Dawn? It has very lax growth. It is quite fertile as a pollen parent. It has a history of producing some upright, stiff climbers but it definitely has the Wichuriana genes.

Dortmund is another one you may want to try. It is not as lax or vigorous as New Dawn, but it has more pliable canes than the other Kordesii roses I have grown. It has a more constrained growth habit as well, which it sounds like you are looking for. It is fertile both ways.

Hi Shane. I have found Dortmund’s kid, Shadow Dancer, to produce a better abundance of healthy seedlings. I think Mr. Moore skipped out on the mildew issue for us, lol.

I think it’s a great idea, and I would only caution that if you have limited space, you might have trouble growing out your seedlings to size in order to evaluate them all.

Maybe the small-flowered roses are better left to those of us with shorter statures and small hands - at 5’5", I shudder at the thought of having to wear elevator shoes to reach those silly hybrid tea blossoms! :wink:

Do you have access to many of Ralph Moore’s creations, by any chance? He bred a fair number of them from ramblers, and they might offer additional avenues to the kinds of goals you’re describing. Quite a few are also miniature enough to take up very little room in the garden.

Jadae, I am glad to hear about Shadow Dancer. Dortmund does produce a surprisingly high amount of mildew prone seedlings. Any idea how Shadow Dancer holds up to blackspot?

Unfortunately, there are only a very few Moore creations available in Europe. I have seen Rise’n’Shine somewhere and Stars’n’Stripes. One Dutch nursery had Little Flirt, which has interesting parentage, but it’s off their list now. The miniatures that people seem to be using succesfully as a parent are not available in Europe and Sequoia didn’t sell outside North America. Maybe I’ll order some interesting varieties through Ashdown or Hortico, since they seem to sell to Europe also.



Tried your link to HelpMeFind but got nowhere;couldn’t differentiate the #1 with lower case l so got nowhere even trying different combos. Could you state the name of the buff toned rambler you were referring to.



I tried emailing you but it bounced back to me. I actually sent 5 examples to you.



Alberic Barbier

Baby Alberic (Polyantha)

Aviateur Bleriot

Ghislaine de Feligonde

I also said Silkies are awesome :slight_smile:

Thanks Jadae,

Have Baby Love, Aviateur and Ghislaine. Will try some crosses this spring.

Thanks so much; how is my favorite yellow rose doing; well I hope!



Yep, my roses look a-ok through this winter. Some are even trying to grow in the 30 degree weather, lol.

I hope your crosses work!