Congratulations Dave Zlesak

Page 37 of the February 2004 issue of the American Rose lists a rose registration for “Honeybee”. Its flower parents are (Rise ‘N’ Shine) X (induced tetraploid polyantha). Its human parent (hybridizer) is listed as David Zlesak.

The flowers are an apricot blend, 2 inch diameter, and have 41+ petals. It has intense fragrance, and the plant reaches a height of 28 inches.

No mention of disease resistance, how often it repeats, and how hardy it is.

Yes, congrats David… A yellow polyantha sounds very exciting. Right now, I’m envisioning something similar to Perle d Or. Please regail us with the story of your tetraploid polyantha.

And some pictures wouldn’t be so bad either! Congrats David on your new introduction.


Congratulations David!

Congratulations to you David. Could you tell us some more about your induced tetraploid polyantha?

Congratulations. I love polyantha types.

Congratulations, David! I’m also curious about the polyantha parent.

Oh, thank you! That’s very nice of all of you to notice it and mention it. I’m helping the undergraduate Horticulture club with their spring plant sale fundraiser. We have one greenhouse range where we are raising a lot of plants as a fundraiser. I thought it would be nice for them to have an exclusive introduction and thought of this rose. I really enjoy this rose. It’s been at least reliably crown hardy and sometimes even has some live cane above the snow. We haven’t been having typical MN winters lately! The flowers are super fragrant with kind of a sweet damask scent. The flowers are a nice apricot, but in hot weather turn more creamy white. I wish it was fertile! It’s very double and often has no anthers. It hasn’t set any hips either.

The plant has been really good for disease resistance before last year with no blackspot. There is one new race of blackspot that came into the garden last summer that it wasn’t resistant to, but it didn’t completely defoliate. The plant gets about knee high and has lots of flowers in clusters and singly. I’ve done a little recurrent selection for winter hardiness with polyanthas over the years and used some open pollinated seedlings from one of the hardier ones to treat with trifluralin. The one tetraploid that came out of that work and is the male of HoneybeeTM is a five petaled pink with flowers not quite an inch across. It’s funny that Rise 'N Shine and it combined to produce such a nice hybrid with larger and more fragrant flowers than both parents. Paul Barden and others who say that once in a while you can get something really nice out of Rise 'N Shine sure aren’t kidding. The name came from wanting a name to somehow convey a sweet fragrance and its golden/apricot color. A lot of names that came to mind were already taken. When I was helping the hort club with their perennial wholesale order from Walters, the local salesperson came with her dog. Her dog’s name is Honeybee (she has blond fur) and that named seemed to be a really nice fit too for this rose.

I think I’ll get a plant to Sam Kedem and/or Rice Creek Gardens and see if they would like to carry it in the future. I wish it was fertile so it would be useful for further breeding for us all!

Thanks again for the nice words,



You never know about fertility. One of these days Honeybee will set an op hip or someone will put pollen on it that works.

Please show a pic one day David… Your description is good, but you know what people say… a picture is worth a million words.

David, you should be so proud to have introduced a rose for people to enjoy! I’m sure all of us have at least passing hopes to do the same someday.

If I remember right you had a yellow shrub rose you were trying to introduce a few years ago, but you were afraid they had grafted it onto virused stock. Did that ever happen?

Your work with your tetraploid Poly’s is important work and I felt it would pay off for you. Is Honeybee a tetraploid?

I sure hope to see it available soon so I can buy a plant and say the hybridizer is a friend of mine!

Congratulations. David!

Your Friend,


David has posted a photo of Honeybee to the RHA Showcase: