not simon fraser, but what is it???

This is a spin-off from Paul’s R. glauca thread.

Three years ago I purchased what was supposed to be Simon Fraser from Hortico and never really questioned if it was mis-labeled until I saw a Mark Disero’s Simon Fraser bush last summer. After reading the description of SF that is in HMF it is clear that mine is not correctly identified.

Along comes Paul’s post and the subject of Frontenac comes up in it and I decided to look Frontenac up on HMF and suddenly I have a candidate for my not-SF. Patrick’s description of his Frontenac really fits the bush that is in my back yard. And then Roger posts that Fronenac is a terrible seed parent. This does not describe my not-SF.

In my initial attempt to sort this out I had Carefree Beauty as one of my options, but I dismissed it for several reasons. Size - mine is a fairly compact plant, CB appears to be rather large from HMF. Winter hardiness - the only 3 roses exhibiting better winter hardiness in my backyard, meaning no die-back on the canes, are W. Baffin, J. Cabot and A. MacKenzie. All of my Buck roses exhibit moderate to severe die-back. Disease resistance - it is as clean as Baby Love and Home Run, again all of my Buck roses do not exhibit that level of disease resistance. Is it possible that I am under estimating the level of hardiness and disease resistance in CB??

Any help in identification would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Liz

Below is a close-up of my not-SF bloom.


  1. what makes you think this isn’t the right plant? Aside from being a bit deeper pink and form is better than some of the other photos, I wouldn’t assume too much about its identity. How does Mark’s bush differ, and where did his come from?

  2. that said, Hortico would be my last choice for purchasing roses because they have a reputation for selling a large number of mislabeled varieties.

The first thing that threw me was the photos of the blooms being considerably paler. The next was the description in the patent that the “light pink blossoms initially are single”. Mine have never looked any different than the photo. I posted 2 other photos over at RC in a post.

Mark’s plant was partially defoliated (BS if I remember correctly) and looked like it was having problems over-wintering. I do not know where Mark purchased his plant from.

Whatever it is, it looks like it is quite useful in breeding.

Elizabeth, I admit I had doubts abut a Frontenac with heavy OP hips, although stranger things have happened. There are actually a lot of roses that are prolific OP hip-setters, and absolute failures for controlled crosses. Golden Wings is a particularly unfortunate example.

I can

I actually made quite a few pollinations with it last year as a seed parent using pollen from:

Rugelda x R15 - around 20 seedlings so far

Distant Drums - 3 seedlings so far

Julia Child - 9 seedlings so far

Scarlet Moss - 3 seedlings so far

Prairie Sunrise - first one today

The only pollen source that resulted in aborted hips was Baby Love.

The germination rate is not up there with Gemini, Loving Touch, Fairhope, but it is not bad and so far all of the seedlings appear to be vigorous.

Brace yourself; seedlings from ‘Distant Drums’ are usually very weak and mildew prone. The few that survive will be very slow to develop and fewer still will ever display any semblance of vigor whatsoever. Very disappointing as a breeder, and yet in my garden its a superior plant for vigor and disease resistance.


Hi Liz

It’s just as well it’s not Simon Fraser. I got rid of mine because it got rust, and Joyce Fleming noticed other disease problems. I can no longer remember what it looked like.

Hmm, interesting Paul. Distant Drums’ only redeeming feature up here is its color. Disease resistance, winter hardiness and vigor are sorely lacking in the DD bush in my backyard. I do have 2 seedlings of Gemini x Distant Drums from last year that survived the winter, have decent vigor, great color and bloom form. I was sort of hoping that those characters would come through in the crosses with Frontenac. At least I have been warned.

Lydia, that sort of sounds like Mark’s plant - disease problems. I’ve noticed that many of the nurseries are no longer carrying it, which is another bad sign I guess.

My Simon Fraser is a fabulous shrub rose - lots of bloom during the season - no disease in my no spray garden.

The linked web address is one acetocarmine stained microscope view of pollen of Simon Fraser. David Zlesak has determined that Simon Fraser is a triploid. Thus the larger pollen is probably a tetraploid and the smaller one is either a diploid or a shrunken dead pollen.

The link that has to be copied and pasted into the address bar contains another picture taken at the same time. It shows what are probably 2 healthy diploid pollen grains of Simon Fraser.



I feel your pain. Last year I purchased what I thought was R.fedtschenkoana from Hortico. I suspected that was not what I had when its leaves didn

Thanks Paul, My pain is now more just curiosity since the bush formerly called SImon Fraser has turned out to be better than Simon Fraser. Your pain on the other hand does not appear to have much of an up side I’m sorry to say.

Henry, how old is your Simon Fraser and where did you get it?


There is an upside in that it proved to be very healthy last year. We’ll see if that continues in the future.


Liz, my Simon Fraser is many years old. I probably have buried somewhere where I purchased it, but …

Paul, what is it that is wrong about the leaves of your

I wish I had taken a picture of it last summer. I remember thinking they were similar to Henri Martin’s leaves, another rose that I got from Hortico last year, though I could tell they weren’t the same rose. The leaves on mine just looked larger and thicker than what I was seeing in the photos. It’s hard to tell, but it looked like the ones in the photos had about the same substance to them as say R.arkansana. I don’t remember mine being as blue/gray as in the photos either.

R. fedtschenkoana is supposed to be a fairly vigorous rose that reaches 7’ tall, mine barely made it past 12" tall last year. Henri Martin for comparison made it to 3 1/2’ or 4’ tall.