Other notable gallicas for breeding?

One more thread! Then I’ll be quiet! I promise!

I currently have only two gallicas, ‘Tuscany Superb’ and ‘Duchesse de Montebello’, and one moss which is somewhat gallica-like, ‘Henri Martin’ all of which I’m excited to use since they are all so different from one another. ‘Henri Martin’ made a lot of OP hips and seeds for me this year. Same with ‘Tuscany Superb’.

I’m curious though to know if anyone knows any other really good gallicas to utilize in a breeding program for sturdy shrubs, either for good foliage/form, hips or for passing on interesting color. Or all three! ( I cant wish)

I’ve been eying ‘James Mason’ as it’s a great red from what I can tell, and having been been bred back to a gallica like ‘Tuscany Superb’ I suppose it has less influence from it’s ‘Poinsettia’ hybrid-tea grandmother than it’s mother ‘Scharlachglut’ displays. But am unsure if that’s the right way to go. Has anyone used it before?

My family currently is really tight on money, so I have to be SUPER careful with my rose purchases now, they can’t just be pretty but must help contribute to my hybridizing efforts for healthy shrubs for the Mid-Atlantic region. I keep looking at the gallicas to see if I can find another to get for this purpose, since they are the healthiest clan here, but to me a lot look very similar, even in Suzy Verrier’s book, the mass amount of crimson-pink leaves me a bit numb on which would give me the most “bang for my buck” so to speak. If I had the money I’d get a lot of them and then pick favorites of course, but unfortunately I need to be careful. Any suggestions on what is definitely worth the money and usage, would be excellent.

  • Max E.


You are welcome to suckers from any of my Gallicas, and I have a boatload of em. I’ll go out and dig suckers of anything I can and send you a list.

I have used ‘James Mason’ sparingly in breeding and been disappointed at the results. (I love this rose; it is definitely one of my top ten Gallicas out of the dozens that I grow) But my experience is limited and my sample size quite small, so perhaps I just haven’t matched it with the right thing. I got some OK plants but the majority of them bloomed dark or medium pink. I found all but one too garish to consider keeping.

As you probably know, both ‘Duchesse de Montebello’ and ‘Tuscany Superb’ have been very useful to me in breeding. I have used both ‘Chianti’ and ‘Constance Spry’ with some success also. To be honest, I’m not sure if I have any other Gallicas I would employ in breeding; many of them are hybrids with other classes and most of those are genetically sterile (produce no hips) or are too double to allow pollination. Some could probably function as breeders, but not without a lot of mechanical labor.

I suppose R. gallica officinalis could be used as well, but I doubt it offers anything that ‘Tuscany Superb’ doesn’t. I seem to recall that someone has raised new striped Gallicas using ‘Rosa Mundi’ and I have sometimes toyed with that idea myself.

As you yourself have noted, the range of colors and styles among the Gallicas is fairly limited (although I find each one has something unique to offer. No two look exactly alike) and so unless you have an unlimited budget and unlimited space, it is best to select a dozen of the best that represent the range the class has to offer.

I’ll get back to you later with a list of suckers I can offer you.

Paul B.

Thanks Paul! That’s really nice of you!

I really hate having such a seasonal job! Will be trying to grow cut flowers and fruits/vegetables this summer to make some extra money at farmer’s markets or by the road in addition to my nursery job, and perhaps garden consultations for what to plant since I do that at work anyway (I work with perennials mostly!)

Really disappointing to hear about ‘James Mason’! That’s the clearest red I’ve seen in this class, imagine if they could get a really double version of that color!

What makes me frustrated about the gallicas and have made me refrain from blindly investing in more of them due to their looks is that while they are, aside from some hybrids, the healthiest clan of roses for the Mid-Atlantic overall and yet as far as their breeding goes, as you said, they seems a bit dead end for many of them!

The gallicas of Jean-Pierre Vibert II from France seem to be awfully interesting, from a breeding standpoint since many are new from this past decade or two and he has the darkest striped gallica I’ve ever seen. It’s a shame we don’t have more information about them or specimens of his here in the states. I think they’d be mighty useful. Have you ever looked at them before?

And I’ll watch out for you list. Thanks again for such an offer!

  • Max


J Mason is a great variety. Buck X JM seedlings from several years ago were mostly deep pink to light red semi doubles, large size blooms, once bloomers on tall thorny plants, hardy here; offspring from these plants were unremarkeable; all are now gone. Just to let you know what you might get out of JM.

I forgot to mention: three dozen Duchesse de Montebello X James Mason seeds were collected last fall. You are welcome to half of them if you want. They should be sprouting soon. The goal of cross was to get larger blooms and a taller plant than is typical of gallicas, but you will get is anybody’s guess.

What about ‘Tuscany’ (instead of ‘Tuscany Superb’)? I have both here, plus an unknown Gallica that I found growing on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere… I haven’t use ‘Tuscany Superb’ or the unknown on yet… but I have used ‘Tuscany’ and have hips forming from it now… on things like ‘Ab. Darby’, ‘Route 66’, and ‘Papageno’ (going fomr some striped Gallica-like seedligs).

Talking about ‘Constance Spry’… do you class this a Gallica Paul(or a hybrid Gallica)? I have just acquired a plant of CS and about a hundred cuttings… I’ve always wanted to know what would happen if you self pollinated it given it was the first DA cross with the beautiful Gallica; ‘Belle Isis’ (another I want to get soon too which might be useful for you Max???). It [CS] is once blooming but obviously is carrying remontancy… so that’s another one of the of the things I want to play with over the next few years (among other things).

Max, here is a source for a free Belle De Crecy sucker if that’s on your list of wants.

Link: forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/rosespro/msg021854519763.html?3

Thanks Dave, Kathy! =) Dave, that sounds like an interesting attempted cross.

Simon, you raise a good question, actually. I’m not sure how different ‘Tuscany’ is to ‘Tuscany Superb’, all I’ve heard is that the latter I think exhibits a bit bigger habit, more petals and is considered a seedling or sport of the former. ‘TS’ was a very good setter of OP hips for me. Good rose. Does anybody know if theres any pros or cons in using ‘Tuscany’ versus ‘Tuscany Superb’. I’m gonna guess there’s not much of a difference.

‘Belle Isis’ seems rather pretty but I must confess I’ve never been a fan of black licorice! Thus a lot of so called anise or 'myrrh" scents in the plant kingdom don’t always appeal to me very well. Poor anise hyssop agastache at the my work is such a good performer and great for designing beds for people, but darn if it doesn’t smell sickeningly sweet! The white type is so strong in particular.

Luckily I associate the “classic” rose scent that I’ve started to become familiarized with and pick up from ‘Roseriae de l’Hay’, ‘Leda’, ‘Duchesse de Montebello’ among others is soap. I think if it’s a soapy myrrh I’d be able to stomach it a bit better…