Illusion and John Davis as parents

In another forum Illusion X John Davis seedlings are discussed.

John Davis has been a surprising good parent for me especially considering how uncomplex its heritage is:

Whenever I have a bloom on a less hardy plant such as a Buck or Austin rose and I do not have a hardy pollen available, I go to my plant of John Davis (which is almost always in bloom). I take off a bloom that has good pollen on it and place it face down on the flower that has been prepared to accept pollen. The 2 are held in the correct position by a 2 inch by 2 inch clear plastic zip lock bag that has the 2 upper corners cut off to allow moisture to escape.

Illusion is a super zone 5 climber and has been a very good parent. Adding John Davis genes to it is an attempt to extend its hardiness range to at least zone 4.



I’ve always appreciated your work in this respect and letting us know about it. It’s valuable for encouraging the development of additional Rosa kordesii Climbers. Much more work should be done to combine the Kordes and Svejda Rosa kordesii cultivars. The potential is unlimited, so let’s get on with it.


Yes, I’ve been happy with many of the seedlings obtained when using ‘John Davis’ as pollen parent. I will indeed continue to use this rose in the future.


I really appreciate your willingness to share your experiences and insights over the years too Henry. Kathy Zuzek has some really nice seedlings of John Davis too. I have used it a little bit, but could use it a lot more. I think it is an amazing rose as well. It seems a bit mysterious to me.

It is listed as “open pollination of a seedling from R. kordesii x (‘Red Dawn’ x ‘Suzanne’)” I assumed it would be tetraploid from that pedigree and also looking at its relatively abundant, stained, evenly sized pollen grains, but it is triploid. It seems to make a great male parent. It seems consistent with it being triploid in its female fertility- relatively few hips with few seeds inside.

I raised some op seedlings from a plant of it growing in isolation. Two seedlings grew well and one is 3x and the other is 4x. Surprisingly, they both seem to have a much stronger R. laxa influence in hip shape and growth (blue-greem foliage) than John Davis itself. I wonder what the male parent of John Davis might be. Perhaps it is a self or a cross with maybe some diploid. With a strong R. laxa like influence in these seedlings could it be the diploid Ross Rambler? Hmm. Just a thought. Ross Rambler and R. laxa seem very similar. It was interesting to see the strong R. laxa influence come through to these probable selfed seedlings.

What a great rose and great male parent.


The seeds you sent me (3 germinated, 2 died from genetic nuclear meltdown lol, 1 thrived) were interesting. The remaining one looks like some painful version of Rosa moschata, lol. I think it will be a once-bloomer. If it ever blooms, I think I will cross it to something dwarf, tetraploid and repeat blooming–and preferably fragrant.