Do you find it offensive for others to breed with YOUR roses

I have been emailing a European breeder friend who is insecure about posting the parentage of her roses on HMF because she was told by someone from the Beales organization that “some breeders take offense if you breed with their successful roses”. She resists posting them for fear of offending her peers.

This seems quite odd to me as I am thrilled when someone tells me they’re raised a pleasing seedling from one of mine. Has anyone else encountered this idea, or even understand it? Thanks!

Personally, I would consider it a great compliment!

As someone who has always worked in the public sector (Ag university) but acquainted with the ways of private breeders of crops, I think it may be more about the parents, than the successful products. Hybrid corn or sorghum breeders take great pains to prevent their inbred lines from getting out. At the same time they are advertising like crazy for the hybrids.

If you read back through Nicholas’s description of Pernet-Ducher and his competitors, they were very secretive about how they were building breeding lines. They had very small operations, not much more than many current amateurs. Pernet-Ducher probably had fewer breeding lines than Bill Radler. Later, as mass selection came along, it mattered a bit less for the really big breeders. For instance Meilland describes how his father maintained breeding records, and how Peace was one of many siblings from a single cross.

I’ve looked carefully at the available published records of work of Gordon von Abrams. He cranked out a lot of HT and floribunda roses from really only a few crosses, and not many that were particularly novel. I have yet to fully document this but I think they were actually all gotten in less than 5 yr, though they trickled out into commerce over a decade or so. He introduced several siblings and had series of similar crosses. He probably would not have wanted someone knowing too soon the combinations that he had found to be highly generative of interesting novel (patentable) roses.

In scientific research people tend to stake out sub-fields as sort of their own personal thing and they do get unhappy if someone comes in and scoops them on their own turf. But in really hot fields like cancer or stem cells, there are lots of folks with few ethical qualms who will take any advantage they can get (sometimes not even a legal or ethical way). So I can see how breeders who have worked hard to develop some breakthrough type may feel a certain possessiveness about the progeny even after they put them on the market. Realistically though, it is more likely that the amateur who comes up with a good thing will find it stolen by a large corporate operation. That is, a cross that worked will get repeated to death by the corporation with more resources. And while the amateur may have gotten the “lead” plant, the mass breeder will find a more refined version either by repeated crosses of the parents, or by recombining the progeny with other lines.

What makes me laugh though is, they are so secretive about the parents, some one like me comes along and uses the offspring which they have generated and put it through a breeding cycle. Does it reall matter if we know how they got it, with the different genetic combinations which happens during fertilization, no one will truly replicate the results. Traites like repeat flowering seem to be strong, colour is variable and health, I have had seedlings which were superb health wise but 1-2% of that cross were discarded due to PM. Results can vary, but it boils down to using parents which the results are not so variable.

I would like to be able to introduce vars good enough others will use them.

Realistically, the only way to prevent someone from “scooping” you using your creation is to play a Ralph Moore and not release it until you feel you’ve “bred past it”. He didn’t introduce things he felt were beneficial breeders until he felt confident he’d mined the best they had to offer. That’s why, when Sam McGredy asked for Pinstripe, Ralph gave him Stars’n’Stripes instead and told him to self it to fix the stripes and dwarf habit. Ralph felt Pinstripe still had too much for him to explore to permit anyone else to have it yet. It was released commercially after Ralph felt he had seen enough of what was possible from it.

Of course, someone else has as much potential for creating something worthwhile from them as he did due to the previously mentioned wealth of genetic combinations possible. Plus, many (including Ralph) maintain such limited stables of potential mates, it’s easier to play the line out and determine you’ve obtained the best there is to offer. For example, Ralph mated 0-47-19 with anything he felt could produce desirable minis, but he never attempted to create an improved rambler or climber with it, which, IMHO, is possible. He also never attempted to take them back from minis to larger sizes as those weren’t his focus. Obviously, it was possible for some striking, interesting results using them in ways and with mates he never considered himself with. He expressed pleasure that someone was using them to create larger stripes and mosses, marveling in what it took to get the initial, miniature versions and how easily others had taken them back up to large sizes. But, in many ways, I guess Ralph was the exception, rather than the rule.

I’m having difficulty wrapping my head around the notion that a breeder would resent someone else raising something worthwhile from something he/she created. It would make more sense to me for those who felt that way, not to permit anything they created to be released. It just impresses me as selfish and unrealistic. Why wouldn’t someone else want to use your creation to make theirs if yours is good? I would find it more offensive for mine to be ignored and not used.

I’ve actually seen the opposite. When visiting the old J&P breeding grounds in Simi (no longer there), I marveled over a hulthemia Zary had been using in his breeding, that he was reluctant to release, because he thought Harkness deserved to get the credit. The one I was looking at was blue in the center and white at the edges, single, and extremely striking. He was breeding with it, but never released it, and now it is apparenly lost in the turmoil that happened to J&P, so we’ll never get it.

I’ve had the same questions however with some of Sproul’s hulthemias. I got a few open pollinated seeds from my Eyeconic Lemonade plant, and they sprouted right up, and I’ve been thinking I would never, even if I liked them, try to register or sell them – that’s Sproul’s domain and I respect his work too much to do what feels like it would be “stealing” even if technically legal.

I would have to strongly agree with what Kathy has just written!

I understand the sentiments, Kathy, thank you. Ideally, if your seedling was an improvement on Jim’s (mine or anyone else’s) we should be supportive and congratulatory toward you for your success. There have been numerous times where near copies have been released. Hopefully, with the shake-up of the industry, there will be less of that with more real differences between the new and already existing varieties.

Hmm, maybe I’m a very selfish person. I just love the fact that you can take a rose that is the result of someone’s years of hard work, cross it with another rose that is the result of someone else’s years of hard work, and boom, in one year you’ve got a rose that you can call your own that just might contain the good qualities that your predecessors have worked to instill.

Even open-pollinated seedlings, in my opinion, should be fair game. If you come up with an improvement, it is your work, time, resources, inspiration, and luck that have created that improvement. The breeder of the rose has also had the opportunity to grow open-pollinated seedlings of his or her own rose, and for longer than you have.

If someone snuck onto my land at night and took cuttings from some hypothetical breeding stock of mine, took them home and bred with them…that wouldn’t be right. Likewise, if a company or individual grew open pollinated seedlings of a cultivar with the intended purpose of creating a near-duplicate that could avoid royalties and be patented itself, that would be a little sleazy.

However, when I choose to share one of my roses with someone I will be flattered if they breed with it. I’d be a little jealous if they achieved commercial success with descendants of my rose, but I’d never resent it. I’d be proud to see my grandkids succeed. (And so many people on this forum have been so generous with me that I want very much to pay it back or pay it forward by sharing any good breeders that I come up with.)

Likewise, if I am ever lucky enough to release a patented rose, then it’s totally fair game for anyone to collect seed from it. The best analogy I can think of is with Words with Friends or Scrabble. If you put your “Z” on a triple letter it might open up the triple word for your opponent, and you have to decide whether to defensively hoard the “Z” or to play it and get the points. Once you put your letters on the board you’ve opened them up to being used by your opponent.

However, in rose breeding there really aren’t any “opponents.” That’s what is so beautiful. Every modern rose is the product of an endless flow of hybridizing efforts and natural selection. In one life we can never see the beginning or the end of that flow. We can cling to a rose for a little while, protect it and call it our own, but in the end we must release it back into the flow.

Gene Boerner stated “we stand on each others shoulders” when breeding roses. Had someone else not created the material he (and everyone else who has created roses) worked with, he would have had nothing with which to work. No one created their parent stock if you go back far enough.

Another question along these lines might be whether others should breed ‘my’ rose to a rose from another hybridizer, rather than to a second one of my own.

This is a great thread!

I really like the Gene Boerner quote. I remember Mr. Ralph Moore saying the same thing many times. He quickly recognized others when talking about his own work. Everyone builds on the work of others that go before us. It would take a very long time to start with species, only using species and your hybrids of species to get anywhere - probably wouldn’t accomplish much in a single lifetime. It is completely appropriate to take a work further on, to another level (so to speak), rather than starting all over from the beginning.

Kathy, please do not hesitate for even a moment to use the Eyeconic series in your work if you are interested in the Hulthemias. On other treads, I have suggested that the best way to cross them would be using Pink Lemonade as the seed parent and Lemonade as the pollen parent. Of course, you may want to combine either of them with other roses also. Although I think that it would be a blast to have some plants of the species, Hulthemia persica, and I would like to make crosses with it, that is not the place to start at this point in time!

I agree with Joe, that what you wouldn’t want to have happen is for someone to steal your proprietary breeding stock from your yard. But, everything on the market is fair game, and should be used to the content of your imagination.

John, regarding breeding two roses together from the same hybridizer - I see no problem with that. You may come up with something really interesting that otherwise would never have had an opportunity for existence. It might even increase the chance of recovering recessive traits since the hybridizer’s seedlings will often have several common ancestors.

Actually, John, I would NOT want to breed one of your roses to another of your roses. That’s a cross you would be more likely to make because you created both combinations and you would be more likely to combine them that way. Using your rose with others would make more sense. My eye likely sees possibilities for your material that you more than likely wouldn’t. Our tastes and goals are different. Why potentially duplicate your efforts when I can expand the rose’s use and possibly push its benefits out further? As I said earlier, Ralph had his focus for using 0-47-19. He never strayed from those ideas when there are many others which I feel the rose would be a good choice to explore with.

I think this Carl Sagan quote might fit here. “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.” You can’t recreate the roses those who came before you created. It’s impossible. If you want to climb higher, you must stand on their shoulders, use their creations. None of us have enough time to accomplish anything if we attempt to recreate the universe to “do it from scratch”.

Kim wrote:

Well… it is just something I do as most of my actual breeding work began more than ten years ago from species with no other additions than other species.

About main thread there are the mutations, most being found and legal property of the discoverer.

That is why some trial agreements and florist roses planting contracts have a clause that says all mutations remain the var breeder property.

Eventually with a reward for the discoverer.

It is according to the “essentially derived” concept. Mostly you stumble on a mutation. It may be a ready made var. Many florist roses are just color mutations.

As much as withhold a var introduction something many breeders do is to withhold pedigree.

I remember Sam McGredy anger about another breeder that did not acknowledge his vars contribution.

[quote=“Kim Rupert”]

“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”

That pretty much sums up my feelings. Personally I’d be honored if someone used my seedlings in their breeding program. Everyone is using someone else’s work, unless you only use species roses, and how boring that would be!

I once used a rose (from a major international rose hybridizer) that had no parentage listed on HelpMeFind. When I contacted the hybridizer to find out the parentage, they gave me the information along with a request that I NOT share the information with others. So yes, I have encountered that attitude.

My ultimate goal is also to create something that other breeders will want to use in their efforts.

There is nothing wrong or illegal to use a variety that is in commerce, whether it is patented or not. What is wrong is to use varieties from others that are still in development but not released yet or progeny (varieties specifically used as intermediate breeding stock) that is not yours. There is a word for this and is is called stealing.

I think it’s sad that your friend has encountered this attitude, Kim. I’d like to know what roses those offended breeders have used in the creation of their “successful” roses? I’m betting they used someone else’s creations to start out with at the very least. What a silly, immature attitude that does nothing at all to forward the health and prosperity of the very industry they’re in.

I have used roses bred by many of you on here in my breeding process because they were wonderful roses and I thought they had qualities I’d like to see passed along or mixed in with some other breeder’s beautiful rose. Am I trying to copy you? Not at all. I’m trying to better you, lol! And if I should ever succeed I fully hope that you will use mine to better me! That’s the point. To make better, healthier, lovelier roses for everyone!