'Darlow's Enigma' Experience?

I am curious what experiences people here have had with ‘Darlow’s Enigma’. On review of previous posts, it seems that DE is diploid and fertile both ways. What percent germination rate has been characteristic? How well does DE take tetraploid pollen? How capable is DE pollen at producing hips/seeds on tetraploid seed parents?

I planted a bunch of OP DE seeds and am impressed at the early germination, but don’t have anything to report yet.

I’m also curious if it can survive and/or bloom in Zone 3.

Joe, I was looking through HMF about this rose and came across this post by Fredrik, might answer your querry.

Initial post 8 MAY byFredrik

"Had a really cold winter here in Oslo. Had at least four weeks around -20 to -25 C and I did not have time to cover the base of Darlow’s Enigma or any other of my roses. Still, Darlow’s Enigma did splendidly with very little die back. This variety is warmly recommended for Scandinavia as it also sports all of the other great qualities. A great climber! "

Darlow’s Enigma is fully hardy in Morden, MB, which is approximately USDA zone 3b. Here is a photo of Darlow’s Enigma growing at the Morden Research Station in July 2009. All three plants originally set out several years earlier were still alive.


[attachment 309 DarlowEnigmaSaskatoonthroughMordenJuly20091764.jpg]


I got Darlow’s Enigma to set seed this year with some Chihuly and Sweetness pollen. No germinations yet, but I’ll keep you posted.


It used to self sew all over the place in Newhall, in rather dense, filtered shade from an enormous Mexican Elderberry.

Thanks all for the info!

I will be trying this one with some of the Hulthemias and can imagine very nice possibilities. Germination has been very good.

Andy, I am glad to hear that you had good hip take with presumably tetraploid pollen!

I remain very pleased with what I am seeing from OP seedlings of ‘Darlow’s Enigma’. There was good germination, the seedlings are uniformly vigorous and they are all producing multiple buds on the first bloom cycle of the new seedlings. My only regret is that I didn’t use it sooner in the breeding program! I think that it will be a great addition for use in breeding for landscape type roses.

I loved everything about it as a very shade tolerant, very fragrant, ever-flowering garden plant, Jim, EXCEPT for the flesh-ripping prickles and addiction to chlorosis in the SCV. Otherwise, it was a great garden plant. You know, it COULD be advertised as a “security rose” with those prickles. Very “Ballerina” and “The Fairy” like in their ability to draw blood and break off in your flesh.

I was just thinking about Enigma in the old garden and thought you might also mine some interesting things from Aptos. It grew in even harsher conditions in that garden, lack of water, dense shade and competition from a Mexican Elderberry, and never suffered any disease or cholorsis. It roots just as easily, having layered itself in other cans in the ghetto, if you’d like some…

Hi Kim,

I love the photos of ‘Aptos’. How is it’s disease resistance as compared to ‘Darlow’s Enigma’, and it’s use as either a seed or pollen parent?

Darlow COULD mildew in the shade where I had it and conditions were right (in the old garden, don’t grow it currently). Aptos has always been disease free for me (both places) and Aptos doesn’t suffer chlorosis for me (either garden). I’ve never used either for breeding. Both set copious hips.

Hi Kim,

On closer inspection of the 37 “OP” DE seedlings that are growing, there are 3 that are just a bit less vigorous than the rest (though still vigorous as compared to other crosses), all have 3 or more buds forming and with very few to no thorns. So it looks like there is a nice range in the seedlings where one can take advantage of desirable traits (lower thorn count). One of these may be useful as an intermediary to move away from the DE thorns.

It will be interesting to see how DE does in my soil in terms of chlorosis. Good to hear that there is variability in the seedlings.

Kim, I think you need to hit Aptos with some Mutabilis pollen this season. With the apricot tones and extreme health, you might exceed ‘Plaisanterie’ in the resultant seedling.

From photos alone, I’m guessing Aptos has more potential to have color in offspring, no? Do please let us know your results when the first blooms show, Jim

When would you like Aptos cuttings, Philip? My plant is a self layered piece in a five gallon loquat I need to get planted. I honestly don’t have room for it. When I can create such a space, it’s reserved for Loyal Friend as it has much more sentimental value to me than Aptos. I want to use Mutabilis on minis and Comtesse du Cayla, if I can get them all in flower and her large enough to keep the vermin from feasting on the hips.


Glad to see that your D.E. O.P. seedlings are doing well, and are getting ready to bloom. I found great variation in her seedlings, and thought the she was worth pursuing as a mother based on the quality of the o.p. seedlings I obtained. Many of my seedlings have had vastly different (and much more pleasing) growth habits that D.E. However, I still am awaiting my first seed to germinate from her which was pollenated by me. Some of the problem(s) with the lack of seed germination might be due to my (in)experience level from a few years ago (the last time I tried to germinate crossed seeds), but none of my crossed seeds have germinated from her this year, either. I have had many open-pollenated seeds from D.E. that have germinated this year, but nothing from the planned crosses. Time will tell if they do germinate, however. Just something to keep in mind.



A question. Is it the 3 seedlings that are less vigorous that have few or no thorns or ALL the OP that have few or no thorns.


How were your OP seedlings in regards to thorns.

One of my favorite roses with a great wafting fragrance. Hate the thorns though. A thornless version with ALL of the great characteristics of the mother plant would be an ideal landscape plant. Just think as you wall the garden paths to get this surprise sweet fragrance…where is it coming from…

One summer in VA, I was weeding and had my head down picking out the weeds in another bed about 25 or more feet away from DE and I got a whiff. I rememberi thinking to myself, “Oh, Darlow must be blooming.” So I got up and walked over to the bush and in the summer heat, there was ONE cluster of blossoms in bloom, that was all. I remember reading on Garden Web that one rosasrian would bring cluster of DE in bud into the house and put it in waterr and it perfumed the entire room.


That was probably me. I don’t know if I have mentioned it here before, or maybe on some other board, but my fav thing to do with DE is to cut a spray that is just beginning to open and let it open in a vase in the bathroom with the door shut – then when you go in there, the fragrance just pleasantly envelopes you. And it takes a full week to open all the way, so the fragrance continues over that period. Who needs “Glade?”

Would be good to have a thornless one, I agree. Keep working on it, guys. But never sacrifice the fragrance for the thorns, please.


It was you! I thought the reference was made to the bathroom but wasn’t 100%sure so just made a general statement; also forgot about the blooms lasting a full week, another plus for DE. In those days, I wasn’t familiar with your name since I had been away from GW while the “uncivil war” and the IVillage takeover was going on.

Agree, keep the fragrance but get rid of the thorns. I am waiting for Andy and Jim to respond.

When I made reference to planting in among the shrubs, I was thinking of the large public gardens where there are paths here and there and wouldn’t be nice to get a mysterious whiff of scent as one ambles by, whether one locates the source or not. Was thinking of the botanical garden I use to volunteer at.

Henry Kuska use to raise a lot of DE OP seedlings and he would get doubles as well.

Jim P