Inspired by this forum

I want to thank each of you who contribute to this forum for giving me a goal to work towards. I have been attempting to hybridize roses now for a couple of years, and basicly breeding junk through what someone called “the lottery method.” Buy a rose with a bloom you like, cross it with a rose that has a bloom you like, and hope for a miracle seedling. I have been “bloom blinded!” I was floored when I came across this forum and read that alot of you were going back to the species roses and working out from there to create what someone (I think it was Henry Kuska) called breeding lines. Sacrifice the coveted bloom form for good health and great folliage, and then perhaps if a line can be started in which theses traits are reasonably set, work on bloom form.

So my new goal is to concentrate on breeding for a dense habit,in size about 3’x3’ to 4’x4’, healthy foliage of a quality that even if the plant didn’t bloom the foliage itself would be reason enough to grow it. Shade tolerance, and growing well in poor soil would also be a plus. That’s not asking to much is it? (Ha Ha)

Being “bloom blind” I have stayed away from once blooming roses but now to reach my goal I must go to them. I have been taking note of the different types of foliage and there are a few that I really like. Before I list them I must admit that I am ignorant of most of the species roses and could really use your help in this area. The traits that I admire in the already established lines of roses had to come from the species roses but I wouldn’t know what species to use to breed for those traits. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

The ones that I like are:

Albas: I’ve never seen one in person, but in the pictures that I’ve seen they have beautiful foliage. I read in one of David Austin’s books that “they hybridize only with great diffaculty.” They also seem to be a tall class of roses. Is there a cornerstone variety in this class that I could start with, or can I use a rose from thier past and avoid the alba’s altogether?

Gallica: I love the short, dense habit of some of these roses. Great foliage to. I have Belle de Crecy and yesterday a lady who lives near me who owns a historic homesite with a rose garden let me dig up a runner off of Tuscany.(bless her heart) I really like Duchesse de Montebello but so far it has been my “white whale.” I can’t seem to catch it.

Damask: Celsiana has beautiful foliage in the pictures that I’ve seen.

R. Glauca: I know nothing about it but I have seen a picture and it seems to have potential.

Again, I appreciate any help thats given, many thanks for this forum and good luck with your roses.


Good to see that people are having their eyes opened to the value of species roses.

Rosa fedtschenkoana is one I can recommend. It has exceptional foliage of soft grey green, it repeats, is hardy to zone 4, has pretty single flowers, and is generally an attractive bush. Its only fault is it fragrance, not the most pleasant. I


I found a picture of Rosa fedtschenkoana and you are right, it has great foliage. I would like to try it with the Gallica’s. Do you know of any nurseries that sell it?



If you are in the UK it

Hello Randy. I really love the people here, too. Theyre very nice. Not to mention a combined interest.


I can probably send you Rosa laxa pollen this summer and perhaps plants in the fall. Let me know what your mailing address is.



It’s nice to hear that the RHA forum has fueled your interest in the species roses. If you live in an area with warm enough winters, you might want to play around with Rosa bracteata or maybe Rosa laevigata. Both of the species have glossy, relatively healthy foliage. I don’t think that a lot is being done with these two species, although bracteata has been used to a limited degree (I’m thinking of Ralph Moore’s recent successes using bracteata derivatives). I’ll also warn you that these two species (especially laevigata) have been difficult to hybridize with other roses, but I’ve got one mediocre hybrid of laevigata and a nice group of bracteata hybrids (from a cross with an F1 species hybrid). I’ve been very pleased with the health of the bracteata hybrids.

But if you live where it gets too cold, or don’t have an interest in these two species, I think you’ve got great ideas already especially with the added suggestions (that other members have contributed).


Isn’t there a botanical garden with a rose collection in the UK? Here in the Netherlands, the Botanical Garden of Wageningen has two clones (they may be the same, but there are two numbers) of R. laxa Retzius. They really have a lot of species, also some very obscure ones that I couldn’t find anywhere on the web. I’m planning a visit shortly to see the plants. I hope they are all open to the public.

For R. laxa, you can e-mail them, maybe they can send you some seed. It’s probably possible from the Netherlands to the UK.


Hi rob,

Thanks for the suggestion; I probably wouldn


Thank you for your suggestions.

I live almost in the center of North Carolina. The winters here aren’t much of a problem. So far I’ve been able to grow Tea’s, China’s, and Noisette’s without any dieback.

I am reading a book now called “The Graham Stuart Thomas Rose Book”, and it has lots of info. on the species roses. I will read about the roses that you suggested. I must admit though that I am more drawn to the gray-green and blue-green foliage.

I don’t know how well they would hybridize together but I believe that some of the species with healthy, shiny foliage could go a long way toward helping the China’s, and Tea’s, etc. with thier mildew problems.

The R. fedtschenkoana rose that Jinks mentioned seems very promising to me. I really want to work with the Gallica’s, and having this rose’s gene for repeat bloom would be nice. I read somewhere that the gene for repeat bloom in the Portland’s came from this rose.

Jinks, if you read this post, I called the lady who runs the nursery listed on “helpmefind”, and she was sold out of R. Fedtschenkoana. She also grows a few others with the gray-green foliage but they were out of stock also. The same with R. Glauca. She told me that they were very hard to propagate and it would take atleast two, mabey three years on the waiting list to get them. I did order three Gallica’s and an Alba though, so all is not lost there. Thanks for offering to send me fedtschenkoana wood but I don’t know if you can send it into the U.S., and if it’s that hard to propagate I probably couldn’t get it to root and the wood would be waisted.

I saw two roses in the Graham Thomas book that look promising.

Redutea Glauca: R.Glauca x R. Pimpinellifollia

Sherardii: R. Omissa (well filled shrub with blueish-green leaves) 5’x5’

If anyone has comments on these roses, they would be appreciated.

Thanks again for your help.


P.S. I mailed my membership form last night, and I also ordered the two pamplets on hybridizing. I look forward to reading them.

R. glauca is also known as R rubrifolia. There HAS to be several nurseries offering it for sale. Even the landscapers use it on occassion, so it isn’t that rare a rose.


If all else fails Peter Beales Classic Roses has Rosa fedtschenkoana. There shouldn

Link to Peter Beales