My hybridizing Plans - Need some input (long)


I am starting out with some simple plans for hybridizing some roses and I was hoping I could get some input. I have no idea what to expect and I was hoping I could draw upon the experience of others to help me finialize my plans.

When I first started looking into hybridizing, I was told that the best thing to have from the start is a goal to work towards. The one rose that I see many requests for and that doesnt really exist is a non red/pink cold hardy climber that repeats. So that is my ultimate goal.

With that in mind, I started digging through helpmefind and focused on Buck roses. I found out that Applejack was GBs first major success. Applejack is a offspring of R. Laxa. I looked for other R. Laxa offspring which lead me to Suzanne. Turns out prarie pricess is a offspring of Suzanne. With this knowledge, I decided to start with these 2 roses and a host of climbinglarge roses in the yellow range and some in the Mauve range.

My first idea was that crossing Applejack and Suzanne would be a interesting cross. I am running with the assumption that the closer to the species roses in genetics the more disease resistant. I would hope to produce some very cold hardy and large roses from this cross. Does applejack set hips? From what I have read, Suzanne does not do well for seed parent but is ok for pollen. The other thing that I would hope for is a white flowered offspring. When GB created Applejack, several siblings from the same cross were white. Is there a possibility of a white (Applejack x Suzanne)? If I could get a good plant out of this union, it could be one of my set of parents. Any comments on this line of thinking?

My next thought would be to cross all my climbers with Applejack and all my climbers with Suzanne. From that group of childeren, I would pick anything that isnt red or pink and then cross the Applejack children with the Suzanne children. I guess my goal here would be to create a set of hardy parents that would have the traits that I want that I could cross with other climbers to get some interesting results in 5 or 6 years. Any comments on this line of thinking?

I can also bring in some other hardy . I have William Baffin, John Davis, New Hampshire Statehouse, Ramblin Red and New Dawn. I dont really consider New Dawn winter hardy but it does ok in mild winters.

I am also trying to find a R. Kordesii to add to my garden.

If I had every rose I wanted, I would cross Bayses Amphidiploid(67-305) with all my climbers, R Kordesii with all my climbers, (Applejack x Suzanne) with all my climbers and then start crossing the best of thier offspring. From thier I would start trying for the really unique stuff.

Anyhow, this is what I lay in bed at night thinking about. I wonder what I could hope for in a average case scenario. Does anyone had some input on my thinking and goals. Perhaps some suggestions.

Dr. Buck gave a slide presentation and RHA has the tape and slides of that show.

I’ve listened to it several times. Dr. Buck talked about his problems creating small roses for gardens; many of his early roses were on bushes that were too large.

If you could find a rose he called “pole star”, you’d be right in his footsteps. (According to Combined Rose List, Pole Star isn’t in commerce.)

Prairie Princess sets hips readily; I bought PP because it had survived winter at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Ontario when other climbers had been frozen back. It survives in one of our back fields with minimal care.

My only problem with laxa is in catching the hips before they fall off and become critter food. Spring hips are already lost on the ground. When I mentioned their turning red last month, I should have harvested them then.

Steven, I believe Applejack sets hips. My plant is still small and in less than desirable growing conditions, but I’ll try to remember to look. Another rose you might consider using is Westerland. It is relatively hardy for a floribunda/climber and seems to pass on the orange apricot color. Also try Dornrosen. Although classed as a Hybrid Tea, it is a grandchild of R. acicuralis and very hardy. It also sets hips easily and the seeds germinate well. Dr. Buck used this in his hybridizing as well. From a cross of Dornrosen x Baby Love, I got several light yellows and an odd brownish-orange-pink (as well as a number of pinks). Also, Ross Rambler should be commercially available in a few more years. This is a white, very winter hardy climber.

Ann, I wonder if Dr. Buck was referring to Polerstern when he was talking about pole star?


The Polestar/Polerstern was a possibility, but I’ve grown Pole Star (the HT) and he had two slides of his Pole Star, one bush and one bloom. The Buck blooms’ petals didn’t have the habit of recurving as the bloom opened (petals’ substance was less), all blooms appeared to open completely (my HT seldom made a fully opened bloom) and the bush (Buck version) wasn’t HT growth pattern.


Found Polestar and Russian Roses of the North, its a super hardy once blooming white. I am going to add it to my list. I dont mind the once blooming if I can introduce repeat blooming in a couple of generations.

Steve, I have R. kordesii. You are welcome to have cuttings this fall. I couldn’t find those Basye’s Amphidiploid seeds, but you ass oon I see more rip hips, I will send you them with the cuttings.

opps, forgive my spelling ;-}

I also have lots of OP kordesii hips. I don’t have any plans for them. You can have them too…

One year I tried crossing everything with William Baffin pollen. Although I do have some “breeders” to show for it, it was not a successful (run to the patent office) experience. Others have written me expressing their frustrations with William Baffin as a parent. John Davis and Alexander McKenzie appear more promising.

Howver, I am still using William Baffin and the “breeders” mentioned above mainly as a pollen parent. I am trying to use large flowered repeat flowering plants such as Heritage and Carefree Beauty plus any of the German Kordes roses that will set hips such as Illusion as the female parent.

When I use other Buck roses, I cross them with Canadians and/or Kordes as I assume the outbreeding will be more productive then breeding between Buck roses.

I think that I have had zero luck germinationg Dornrosen seeds (my records are not good so I may be wrong, but that is my recollection). I wish that I had Pike’s Peak.

Regarding Dornrosen, one year I sent a daily germination report to another hybridizer (who did the same). I just did a “find” of the e-mail messages that I had sent him and found that I had many open pollinated Dornrosen germinations???

I wonder why I now do not remember having any Dornrosen seedlings in the garden? Were they all weak and died? I just don’t remember.

Thanks Enrique and Henry. I appreciate the input. I do have Dornroschen on my list of roses for purchase next year. How is it for a pollen parent? I think I will avoid using William Baffin for now. I will turn to John Davis and Ramblin Red before I try WB.

Thank you Enrique for your offer. I appreciate your help and would gladly accept your offer.

I plan to use Buck roses other than Applejack but not right away. I think I will have to establish some secondary goals that I can work towards. I will need to plan more hybridizing efforts while I am waiting for a group of seedlings to establish themselves. Not sure what else I plan to work towards though all my efforts will revolve around cold hardy and disease resistance.

This has been a very interesting process. I look forward to the this process and will finally give me something I can work on throughout my life. Perhaps I will have something to show for it one day.

Thanks to everyone for your information. I would love to hear more comments about my initial plans and am open to suggestions for additional roses and deviations to my plan that may be more sucessful.


Applejack sets op hips easily and they also germinate easily under normal cold stratification. It produces mainly pale pink and white blooms. It will suvive winter in Southern Ontario, but will lose canes in a harsh winter. It will bounce back vigorously in spring. By harsh I don’t mean just cold, but where there are significant fluctuations in temperature within short periods of time. Bear in mind that Canadian winters are longer than US winters in similar zones.

RBG in Hamilton/Burlington is in Southern Ontario zone 6 and can hardly be considered a cold location by our standards. Furthermore until last winter, they had a high tech way of protecting their roses. Last winter. after the retirement of certain personnel, they neglected to do it, and had many losses. It would be interesting to find out which roses survived. I find this interesting because I’m in a colder zone and I only lost a couple of hybrid teas which were known to be tender.

Westerland in a similar area, can lose some canes even in a protected location, in a normal winter. I have memories of pruning out complete canes. Nevertheless it has many virtues and certainly worth using.

Another rose which impressed me, grown as a shrub in a colder area, is Salita. It is a pretty shade of mid orange and has good substance. I believe it’s from Tantau and he normally doesn’t reveal the parentage. The plant I saw in a friend’s garden was very full, had a good crop of flowers that were in good shape despite persistent rain and the productivity impressed me. It was larger and fuller than Lichtkonigin Lucia in the same garden. I can’t comment on its fertility.

The only roses in my garden that didn’t lose canes last winter were Henry Kelsey and William Booth, and Prairie Dawn, all from Ag Canada. John Cabot needed a severe pruning. William Booth is a single, healthy, fertile and is much more manageale than William Baffin (which I don’t like for aesthetic reasons).

If you are interested in diploids, seedlings of Calocarpa are quite cane hardy, and a reasonable proportion of seedlings are somewhat thornfree. I’m also very fond of Prairie Dawn, a big shrub. which is a warm pink, very fragrant, healthy and hardy. As a seed parent, it functions as a diploid, but it’s pollen is accepted by some tetraploids. It has parentage has mixed ploidy and I have no idea of how it’s classified. Perhaps someone could enlighten us.

Hello Steven

Here is the requested contribution.

Very good point to have goals.

Breeding your own parents is the longest way.

The better introduced vars were selected from many thousand seedlings and tested for decades.

You may breed good parents but it is not that easy.

Get a fertile rose with quantatively and qualitatively better than average progeny is most difficult.

And it is not necessary when aiming at unique stuff.

Pink is a strongly dominant color.

For non-pink I would stay away of pink parents.

Learn as much as you can about past and actual achievements: there are a lot of forgotten and/or unexplored pathes in roses.

These points I can elaborate.


Thank you for the additional information about Applejack Lydia. I am glad to hear it produces some white flowers. I was hoping that it would given that all of its siblings were white. I am anxious to see what will come from a Suzanne x Applejack cross.

Pierre, thank you for your suggestions. I have thought about this quite a bit. I dont expect getting immediate results from my efforts or a plant that has a ton of wonderful traits. Thats why I am looking for several secondary goals that will take my time while I try to meet my mail goal. I have been told that hybridizing is as much luck as it is skill. I dont expect to get lucky but I am sure going to try.

Hopefully I will have many years to learn and try new things. Perhaps by the time I retire I will have createdfound a set of plants that will give me all I need to keep me happy and hybridizing through my twilight years.


If you have an opportunity you should cross ‘Armada’ (small Climber) with ‘Suzanne’. Also ‘Westerland’, as Joan mentioned for yellow colour. ‘Armada’ has a very good pedigree including ‘New Dawn’ and 'Park Director Riggers (excellent red Rosa kordesii hybrid). The seeds of ‘Armada’ germinate easily.

In my opinion, because of its excellent record in the pedigree of three major rose series (Parkland, Buck and Explorer Rosa kordesii), ‘Suzanne’ still has potential to develop new types of hardy roses. I will be using it to cross with Rosa rugosa/acicularis cultivars like ‘Lac La Nonne’ and ‘Carlos Dawn’. Breeding lines developed can be used with tetraploid modern roses to increase hardiness while maintaining relatively good flower quality. It’s a long term project.

I should mention that the ‘Red Dawn’ x ‘Suzanne’ selection developed by Robert Simonet that led to the development of the Explorer Rosa kordesii cultivars still exists. The pedigree of this selection includes ‘Etoile de Hollande’ and ‘New Dawn’. It should be used for further breeding.

Hardy (Zone 3) Climbers (actually Pillar roses) growing 2.5 - 3 metres tall are much in demand by consumers. Especially yellow cultivars (the first one to do it will make a million!). Further development will probably come about by combining Rosa laxa and Rosa kordesii. There hasn’t been enough work done combining these species in breeding programs to develop hardy Climbers.

Good luck in using ‘Suzanne’


Even though I have no room for another rose, I browsed just for fun. And what did I find? Isabella Skinner, a rose that has R. laxa in its blood (which one? I don’t know) It looks intresting, it has a tea and floribunda as parents too. Here’s the link.