Kind of starting new

Nearly all of my stable of potted roses that I use for breeding (and a few just to enjoy, like Double Delight) died in storage last winter. I think we left them out too long before putting them inside. I did lose some special roses that had been passed to me by friends, and at least one unique seedling of mine (Music Fizz), but otherwise this is an opportunity to start fresh and buy some new breeding roses.

So I’m looking for suggestions.

What are some of your favorite US mail order rose suppliers? I would prefer bare root, but it’s not critical.

What roses should I get to use in pots as seed parents? I keep these in a greenhouse for the summer and store them in a refrigerator-temp building over winter. So I can use tender varieties if they have other valuable characteristics, but ideally they would have some degree of midwest hardiness.

I’m breeding for health, winter hardiness, and bloom power. And fragrance and color and shrubbiness and bloom form and whatever else.

I’m sorry you were forced to start over again, Joe but what an exciting opportunity! I wish I had some suggestions for you.

Sheesh. I wish I knew this two weeks ago. I just ripped out my entire stable except for a few hybrids that I want to focus on.

ZZ/Bill Reid is my suggestion. It’s really hardy for me though no doubt will be an annual for you but its the best I ever had for a winter hardy refined rose let alone a yellow one.

Sorry to hear what happend Joe! How about some of the new Canadian roses? Maybe Rob would have some suggestions, he has a few seedlings up from them.

Sorry for your losses Joe. I had a kind of similar experience two seasons ago. Mine were in pots outside for the winter. zone 6-7. I lost at least half of my breeding stock and many seedlings. Leaving the post in an upright position and allowing water to sit and then freeze was the issue…I think. last season I put all pots on their sides which resulted in less than 5% loss. The loss did get me to rethink my goals, which are the same as yours and I ordered new breeding stock and more frequent use of stock I’d already had but not used much. I’m actually using some of your stock in my plans. :slight_smile:

My breeders include current and recently acquired: Quadra, Ramblin Red, Never Alone, Frontenac, Royal Edward, Cherry Frost, Campfire, Chinook Sunrise, Canadian Shield, AC de Montarville, Alexander MacKenzie, Basye’s Blueberry, Commander Gillette, Cape Diamond, Morden Bell, Prairie Snowdrift, Prairie Celebration and Prairie Joy. Those are basically my tetraploid/triploid hardy breeders. I’m mixing in zone 4 floriferous roses, that are healthy, in the mix with the hardy breeders.

I also have goals with diploid lines as well, combing species/species hybrids with modern floriferous diploids. Sorry there’s not more in this reply but I’m at the end of my lunch hour. If you want to pick each other’s brain I’m up for it.

Thanks for the replies, everyone! I just went through the roses I have for sale and chose the following. Starting from bare root, hopefully will be time for hips to ripen.

Above & Beyond - set hips in a pot last year
All the Rage - fat fat hips
Belle Poitevine - trying to see if rugosas set more hips in a pot in the greenhouse
Bill Reid - gets blackspot pretty bad here but can’t be choosy with yellows
Brite Eyes - haven’t perhaps worked as much as I should with this one
Calypso - great germination last year. I haven’t grown this one outside yet but top health ratings.
Campfire - poor health but excellent hardiness and spectacular color impact. I have a seedling or two with strong bloom power.
Cancan - not a great seed setter outside…trying for improvement in a pot
Coral Drift - not sure
Hansa - does NOT set seeds in the ground - I will try pollinating and exposing to high temps
High Voltage
Jens Munk - anyone?
Kashmir - good health and blossom form. I believe I’ve gotten seeds before.
Kiss Me
Music Box - not good for seeds outside
Prairie Joy - sets way better hips in the greenhouse
Shining Moment - ordered just to try
Snow Pavement - still trotting down that rocky rugosa road
Sweet Spirit - can’t remember what this is, maybe a hybrid tea
Veranda Sunbeam - ?
Yellow Brick Road - super fertile yellow

I need to remember to order Miracle on the Hudson - makes fat hips and grows well here so far.

Joe, have you worked with Doorenbos Selection? It sounds like it might meet some of your criteria, except for shrubbiness and bloom form. I’m thinking of adding it one day, the comments about it on this forum sound promising.

Hi Roselynn,

I have not tried Doorenbos Selection. Just looking on HMF, it seems like a fun rose to try. Really cool color. Thanks for the suggestion!

I’d also like to try Duchess de Montebello.

I might add more Kordes roses to that list, Joe. I personally have no familiarity with Sunbeam Veranda, but if you want healthy warm colors (you already have Lemon Fizz) you might add Sunny Sky. She is very healthy, fertile, and was herself used by Kordes to create Orangerie. (Pierre in France extolled that one too.) I have several very strong seedlings this year off Soul Sister, which I will definitely plan on using more this spring. (First buds haven’t yet opened, but I already like the foliage and growth.) And while I don’t have her, and she purportedly can fry in our heat, Novalis/Poseidon is also exceptionally healthy, as is Wedding Bells. (By most accounts, WB is an awesome rose, even if she’s pink.)

Can’t speak to fertility on those last two, but I know folks are supposedly working with them with some success.


I’m surprised you have had difficulty getting ‘Hansa’ to set hips. I’ve never had a problem with this Rugosa cultivar in this respect, and I’ve used shrubs in different geographical locations ranging from Edmonton, Alberta to Northwestern Ontario.

‘Hansa’ has always been a favourite of mine to use in Rugosa breeding programs but now my focus is on ‘Jens Munk’. It has superior disease resistance compared to several other Rugosa cultivars I’ve bred with, no doubt because of having ‘Schneezwerg’ as one of its parents. One cross I’ve always wanted to make and, in fact, may have made it several years ago but I forget the results, is ‘Hansa’ x ‘Jens Munk’ in an attempt to obtain selections having clear red flowers. I hope to do it this year.


Isn’t that odd? It makes one wonder if there are different genotypes called Hansa. I don’t think I’ve even seen an OP hip on mine. I think I have a few Jens Munk this year that I can plant out. I’m still compelled to go down the difficult rugosa pathway in an attempt to combine cane hardiness and rebloom.

I’d be inclined to think it’s possibly more Dagmar Hastrup than Schneezwerg at play there. Dagmar has remained clean entirely, even it’s autumn foliage is spot free…Schneezwerg not so much.

Comment in HMF Roses.

“I don’t grow this rose (‘Schneezwerg’) personally but it is commonly grown in the U.K. and always looks happy and healthy, sometimes used in landscaping planting.”

The addition of a species to Rugosas can make them healthier. The prime example, of course, is Rosa wichurana (‘Max Graf’) or my own ‘Rugwich’ (‘Ottawa’ x R. wichurana). It makes sense to obtain more disease resistance to a rose species externally than finding it within the species. Conversely, in the example of Rugosas, disease resistance can be diminished by the addition of another species. In my experience, this has proven true with Rosa gallica and R. roxburghii.

We know very little regarding increasing disease resistance in breeding programs by the use of the likely related Asian species Rosa fedtschenkoana (in my opinion the other parent of the Rugosa ‘Scheeezwerg’), Rosa beggeriana and Rosa laxa, but we do know they are relatively cold hardy (Zone 2 - 3), tough species roses. They appear to have more disease resistance than, for example, the tough, cold hardy (Zone 2 - 3) North American species Rosa acicularis, R. woodsii and R. arkansana.

The future of Rugosa breeding is, therefore, with the use of these Asian species (especially the Asian species hybrid ‘Schneezwerg’) rather than North American species. Rosa maximowicziana and Rosa wichurana (both Asian rose species) also have great potential. The latter two species should be crossed and then selections crossed with Rugosas to obtain dwarf, floriferous shrubs having good disease resistance.

I have a small Doorenbos Selection you may have.

I don’t disagree with the rugosa/asian hybrid path, Calocarpa is also completely clean during the full year cycle so there is some basis that rugosa disease resistance isn’t broken down easily depending on the cross made. Schneezwerg isn’t completely clean (gets spots, not obvious, probably not noticeable unless looking up close but still there) for me in this Australian east coast climate. Dagmar Hastrup, right next to Schneezwerg, is completely clean even as it’s leaves reach their expiration date. Schneezwerg is still far better than the vast majority of moderns but I can’t honestly say Schneezwerg is completely disease free here.

Having said that, the disease pressures here vs elsewhere possibly aren’t the same…I mean there’s a lot of references saying Robusta is prone to blackspot, it’s next to Jude the Obscure which looks revolting right now (every leaf is spotted…) and Robusta is still completely clean.