Foliage on First Light x OP

I had to share this with you. This is the foliage of “Little Lil” a dense, low-growing 1 year old seedling of First Light x OP. The foliage is a strong blue/green color with reddish purple edging. I almost culled this one because it was so susceptible to powdery mildew as a tiny seedling, but she apparently got over it. Glad I didn’t give up on her! The blooms look like Impatiens and are magenta or red depending on season and they are produced without interruption.

Very striking! The foliage looks hand painted.

It does look hand painted, doesn’t it? If it remains mildew free, I will definitely use it’s pollen this year. Really beautiful in person.

Wow, I really like that. Does the color hold well throughout the year?


Haha Judith!

Splendid one, a rose that does not need to be in bloom

to be interesting…

And a testimony to one of my beliefs: I don’t care about

diseases on my seedlings. They’ll do better with age,

in the ground not in a pot. If not, I search for their preferred exposition, soil etc.

George Mander wrote on his Website there is little or no

relation between “disease-proneness” in parents and their children. I’m convinced of that.

Keep it, Judith, even if it does mildew again.

If you don’t find the growing conditions that permits to keep it clean, use it as a parent to go further.

Best wishes,


Very nice, but hopefully it will keep that way… I had a seedling just like that but once the leaf matured, it turned to completly green.

Wonderful foliage. Any ideas as to what parent was available

for it to pollinate with to get that coloring?

Joe, the seedling started out with plain, light green foliage, but as it’s gotten older (it’s 1 year old now), it’s tended to do this leaf color more and more. By the fall, it was doing this on many of the mature leaves as well. It’ll be interesting to see how the leaves do this year after this spectacular spring display.

Pierre, I agree with you, and there’s no question she’s a keeper. My goodness, she is never without blooms (except when I defoliate her as I did here), and although the blooms are plain, they last forever even in 90+ degree heat, and they have a spicy fragrance. Between those traits and the foliage, she’s got me hooked! I wonder about the ploidy, since First Light’s family tree would make one think that it’s triploid. Anyone have a thought on this?

As far as crosses are concerned, the most likely cross, aside from selfing, judging from the bloom, would be Knockout. Next time I go to that garden, I’ll check out the foliage on the other nearby roses.


Many interesting roses are triploid…

A challenge to us, but worthwile.

When one consider Rose Edouard, Gloire des Rosomanes,

triploids and milestones.

Best wishes,



What is your proceedure for stratifying seeds from First Light? First Light sets op hips easily & I get large seeds from it every year, yet with the cold stratification I do, I’ve had no germinations in two years. The odd thing is that I’ve had easy germinations from “sterile” roses.

Nothing special Lydia. I prepared the seeds as soon as I cut the hips off the bush. 24 hour soak in Bromelain, 24 hour soak in H2O2, then in the fridge in paper towels/baggies on the bottom rear of the refrigerator. They started germinating at about 8 weeks in the fridge, and stopped at about 12 weeks. Pretty typical. I got a few germinations last year (? # of seeds) and of about 150 seeds this year from ripe hips, about 15 germinations, of which I have 6 little seedlings. It’s probably just a numbers game.

Pierre, it would be interesting to know for sure if it’s triploid. We’ll see how “Little Lil’s” pollen does on diploids and tetras this year. Maybe I’ll try some First Light crosses with diploids.

Thanks Judith

I process immediately as well. I do 48 hours with peroxide, then into baggy with coir & then the fridge. I’ve sworn off bromelain for the time being because I may have used too much & hastened the composting effect. I’ll hang on to the seeds. I’ve had seeds that germinated after 3 years in & out of the fridge.

Congratulations on your seedling. She’s lovely.


Wow! That’s some gorgeous foliage. We had a similar one that didn’t make it past the first year but with Mitchie’s medical problems it was a tad neglected. Sure hope yours does a lot better. Really shows the work of the bees doesn’t it. Really interesting as to the pollen parent considering the parents in your garden.

Judith, a rose with similar foliage but not as pronounced is ‘Fairy Damsel’. Maybe, you know, they could go on a blind date some day. We should swap lists this spring. Id be happy to send ya some pollen if interested. I think it’s diplod…maybe triploid.

Lydia, so far I haven’t had any problems with the Bromelain, and I’ve had the seeds sit in a bed of wet unmixed granulated 250 mgs of bromelain for 24 hours - in other words, the tablet dissolved but was not mixed into the water, and the seeds sat in the mush. I’m not sure I’ve seen any benefit in speeding up germination, but it does help clean the seeds. I don’t believe that I used Bromelain last year, so I doubt that that had anything to do with helping the First Light seeds germinate.

John, I’m sorry your seedling didn’t make it. What was that cross from? As far as parents in my garden, the First Light hips actually came from a public garden. I do have a list of the nearby plants, but of course the pollen could have come from further away. My best guess is Knockout, since the blooms are similar to Little Lil, and the plant is right next to First Light.

Jadae, thanks for the tip on Fairy Damsel. I haven’t been able to find a picture of it yet. Interestingly, they have Ballerina and R. wichuraiana in common as recent ancestors. As far as pollen goes, I’d be happy to send pollen to anyone who wants it. This season my be tough, since she’s still small and I don’t know how much pollen I can collect, but certainly next season when she’s bigger. Jadae, do you have pictures of Fairy Damsel leaves and blooms?

I meant sending pollen to you which I could do in June. I dont have any pics. It is basically The Fairy in red on a better behaved plant. This whole week is finals week so maybe after that I can get on that.

Thanks Jadae. So far I haven’t seen any evidence that “Little Lil” sets hips. Maybe this season. I’ll get back to you if she does. Good luck on your finals. Oh my, I’m so glad I don’t have to do that anymore. My grad degree in Biology was so many years ago - and I still have nightmares about missing tests!