Paranoia runs deep

IMO, the best protection for rare plants is distribution, i.e., make them less rare.

It’s probably just me, but I think you’ll want to keep any list of rare roses under wraps, along with who has what plants where. Rare rose are regularly dug up in public gardens. Those of us who use HMF have learned we need to protect ourselves from the depredations of people who have no shame about asking for enormous quantities of free plant material.

Maybe annual publication of a list in the RHA newsletter is the way to go.

Agreed. I have often said I never wish to hold the last unicorn horn. Everything I have ever had pass through my hands, except for those I promised “not to let it get away from you”, has been spread around as liberally as humanly possible. Ask Laurie Chaffin and Carolyn Supinger how I “force fed” them roses all those years!

I also agree you can’t trust the public. I can handle those who ask for the “free material”. It’s the cursed ones who help themselves shamelessly I hope long out live their abilities to enjoy living. Putting out a list annually may be the way to go, or having a hidden list on line which isn’t searchable or requires a couple of hoops to jump through to gain entry would work? I belonged to a group a long time ago which had something similar. Until you proved yourself not a troll or spammer, you didn’t receive the information. I’d think it would be sufficient to list the plants each grows without locations.

As for those “don’t let this get away from you” plants, I am of the opinion that agreement has been honorably lived up to and I am now absolved of any obligation not to share them with those who could benefit from their use and study. As long as Ralph lived, I honored my agreement. His “heirs” do not appear able to preserve them appropriately. I have no such agreement with any of them. IF there is to be any “legacy” of his, it will surely come from spreading them as far and a wide as anything else I’ve ever wished to preserve.

What I don’t understand is why people want to keep their roses under wraps.

I’m pretty sure I have a few roses which are being propagated freely. As far as I can tell, I’m glad that it is.

Maybe I understand there is a “secret bullet” such as Zee. That is something that should probably die out with Ralph Moore since that is his legacy in a huge sense. It made him a great man.

For the most part, I don’t have anything that I’m not willing to share freely. Just so long it’s in the spirit of sharing.

I hope one day on of my roses will show up in a garden, or somebody’s parentage. My Abraham Darby x Basye’s Amphiploid, and my Livin’ Easy X Rubusta seedlings are wonderfully fertile roses. And hopefully, they will create great things for other people.

After all.

The only reason my Abraham Darby X Basye’s Amphidiploid seedling exists is because Dr. Basye believed in sharing… he gave it to somebody, that person gave it to somebody else, and so on until Mel Hulse allowed me to take a few flowers from the Amphiploid.

And now, my seedling is circulated with some people who will share it.

Maybe I’m thinking small. I don’t live in a place that doesn’t really allow me to raise more than just a few cultivars. And I don’t see the possibility of making money off this hobby.

I think part of the problem is that people tell of their plants, build excitement about them… and never release them. Rarity is something people like to talk about in their garden.

Yes, I can see how people stealing roses maybe a problem. The only solution I see to stop it is to release it in the public domain either through retail or home propagation, OR-- keep everything under wraps. Such roses shouldn’t be mentioned at all. Least the buzz and temptation should prove to be too difficult to handle for some people.

Kim, thanks for starting this thought-provoking thread.


“to see someone else produce a really nice rose using one of my hybrids, would give me just as much, or maybe even more enjoyment, as if I’d done it myself.”

Exactly Tom.

As far as I’m concerned even if these things don’t live on in themselves, at least they’ve made a contribution if we move them forward.

This is one reason why I have gone out of my way to use roses that others aren’t using, but I feel are important.

I use Kim’s roses, Viru’s roses. I’ve started using a few of, Jadae’s, Paul’s, Henry’s. Now I’ve got at least one of yours here.

We need to support each other by offering up our work when other’s show an interest.

Frankly, one of the reason’s I didn’t jump on some of the Moore stuff is that they have been used so extensively. If Paul or others take them a step further, they might interest me again for that reason only.

It would be very easy to take just the latest greatest commercially available varieties and mix them up. They wouldn’t mean much to me and the chances that any one individual is going to take them and compete with those like Harkness, Kordes, Austin and others is pretty slim.

We can create things that others won’t take the time to explore and have some fun along the way. We might even get a few significant things introduced and change the face of rosedom a bit if we’re innovative enough.

To paraphrase what’s been stated many times, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.

“…or having a hidden list on line which isn’t searchable or requires a couple of hoops to jump through to gain entry would work”

If this is going to be a list of breeder’s proprietary assets, then I believe this is a list that should be shared electronically only, and be accessible only to those who are contributors to the list and immediate current RHA members. Google Docs accommodates this beautifully; the only people who can access the list are those who have been invited to view it. I do not think we should attempt to create any special feature on HMF to accommodate this task for security reasons. Some of this information already exists on HMF and people can find out who grows what if they want, but a specific list of people who grow certain proprietary varieties is outside of the scope of HMF’s purpose and should not be public information, IMO. I think that if it became widely known that Mr. So-and-so had a long list of valuable roses in his collection (let alone where it was located: I don’t believe we should include GPS data or maps!) then it would make that collection more of a target for theft. You may not believe this is how things work, but I have knowledge of certain incidents to make me very, very cautious about what information I reveal about things.

So, what should be included in such a list? Certainly any breeding stock that has a track record of contributing significantly to any hybridizer’s body of work, such as key Moore studs (1-72-1, etc) and any varieties bred by the contributor that has been shared with other breeders, and which has been deemed of merit genetically. That part is easy.

So, what else to include? Kim started this topic because of the loss of a Moore moss variety that was given to the Huntington as a fund raiser and was (shamefully) not archived at the Huntington. Kim mentioned this rose because he felt it could make a contribution to a moss breeding program, so that kind of thing probably qualifies. Perhaps in this case a minimum of two people must agree to include it on the list?

I think that rare and relatively rare/genetically valuable cultivars should be included. This would likely include things like “Ross Rambler” and ‘Beaty of Leafland’, and the Basye breeders like “Probable Amphidiploid” and 'Commander Gillette", with the idea that we all know who among us has these plants so that we might know who to turn to for pollen, or cuttings even. I think that would be worthwhile.

I think that a spreadsheet would be the best tool, so that data could be organized into tidy columns. Obviously data like parentage, provenance, a detailed description, the name of the person who archives a plant of it, name of the breeder should be included. Can a spreadsheet accommodate inclusion of a photo? That might be worth including. What other data do you think should be included? I suppose that if there is a commercial source for a variety that it should be mentioned. What happens if you have a variety that was given to you and which you are not free to distribute? Should such a rose be on that list? I think that it probably should be included, but perhaps some indication (an asterisk after the name?) should be made to express that the cultivar is not to be freely distributed. If one of us has a cultivar listed that has been distributed only among a few RHA friends and which the breeder does not want shared further or without the breeder’s express permission, I think that should be noted clearly as well. Perhaps any individual who has a specific plant in his possession could indicate whether or not he has copies of it available for trade?

What do you think? Other suggestions? I am willing to set up the Google Doc spreadsheet to get this started, but lets iron out what information we want to include. Thanks.


lets iron out what information we want to include

The basics that you listed are a good start. However, some of the most important properties of a rose that makes this list cannot be captured categorically. The catch-bucket ‘Description’ column can handle a certain amount of the more abstract stuff and the URL column helps too but it raises another point.

The RHA newsletter and this messageboard hold much highly valuable, contextually relevant data. The newsletters have been preserved by proliferation through the CD and new editions will soon be digital, but if this messageboard goes away all that good stuff will evaporate (indeed, some of it already did once from what I’ve read). Maybe there’s a way that the database from this MB can be likewise perserved by disseminating copies of it from time to time, or by posting it to the online archive we’re about to build.

Google Docs is a good place to build the documents. Google Groups might be a good place to manage the files on a shared but restricted basis.

I have no experience with G-groups, Don, but I will take a look at the link you gave me this afternoon, thanks!


PS: I agree that the DB generated by this forum should be archived in other formats and perhaps distributed among members. I have often thought that these discussions are generating content that could easily become very valuable Newsletter articles, which Peter has had great difficulty otherwise eliciting from membership. Still that would take an effort on the part of someone to collate this information into a meaningful, publishable doc. Perhaps Google Docs could play a role in such an effort as well?

Google Groups (or for that matter, Yahoo Groups) has facilities for storing and sharing files online privately among group members and it has all sorts of related features (pics, private messaging, etc).

that would take an effort on the part of someone to collate this information into a meaningful, publishable doc.

There are automation tools for mining the information. The most important thing is having the data in hand to work with. That means not only backing it up so as not to lose it but also distributing it so that members can use these tools on it.

I’ve just thought of a glitch…the RHA exists to share open information. By nature, this invitation only list limits that and creates an exclusive, “you aren’t invited” situation which is offensive and can easily cause problems. How could there be an invitation only, limited, exclusive Google Group to run parallel to the RHA which won’t end up seeming like a country club which excludes “undesirables”? If mention is made on this forum, which is easily, publicly searchable, about such a list or group, it’s going to raise issues and probably breach any security created.

I DO love the idea of securing the future of these creations and, perhaps, even working with a resource such as Burling or Janet Inada to get them distributed to the interested public. As Cass said, and I believe we all agree, getting as many of them out to as many people as possible is the only way to insure their survival, even while WE are still around. I, too, have searched in vain for Louis Stoddard’s roses. Even though, in my climate, Arkansana and Suffulta hybrids have demonstrated rust issues, I WANT to study them. Unless some miracle occurs, that will never happen, and that is a sin.

How could there be an invitation only, limited, exclusive Google Group to run parallel to the RHA which won’t end up seeming like a country club which excludes “undesirables”?

Well, if there’s a need for sharing documents online then there’s a need for a secure interface to do that. The root problem is, of course, that this website lacks the necessary function.

“the RHA exists to share open information. By nature, this invitation only list limits that and creates an exclusive, “you aren’t invited” situation which is offensive and can easily cause problems.”

Well, how different is our proposal from being a member of the RHA in order to receive the RHA newsletter? In effect, that is available as a “membership only” document and we must pay into the “club” in order to receive it. I would think that anyone in the RHA is automatically invited to participate in the project and perhaps RHA members can opt to invite non-RHA persons whom they feel has something to contribute. In that way, the RHA may benefit by drawing in new people.

Many of us belong to various Yahoo Groups that are “by invitation only” and yet I don’t hear any complaints about that situation.

I think Don is right in stating that the information we are proposing to assemble requires some security. I don’t necessarily believe that our mention of such a document here means that the public nature of this forum’s contents is a security risk.

There is another option… the RHA forum has existed in this format for a long time and in that time PHPBB forums and the like have come a long way… I’m not sprooking my Rose Talk Australia forum here… but take a look at the way it is set up as an unregistered member (see link). For every section you can see, there are some you can’t. For every section a member can see, there are parts they can’t. You can set up sections that only admins can post to… so a thread can be started for a rose variety, say ‘Octavus Weld’, and people who have been given permissions to see this information can contact admins to signify the wish to participate in the preservation of this variety and have their details added to this variety. You can even make it so you can see the forum listing the headings for each variety but when clicked on you can’t see the information. In addition, these forums come with gallery options to include images with entries. The administration console is pretty much a GUI interface and is very easy to operate… an imporatnt consideration because just like roses become extinct… so do rosarians… and you need to have something easy to pick up and run with. The places that do these forums upgrade their software regularly allowing longevity of the information… I mean 20 years ago if you chose to use a 3.5 inch floppy disk as your means of storage and sharing the information there would not be many around now that could read it. There are many other features that would allow you to set up sections for regular RHA discussions and allow them to run side-by-side. There are search functions allowing people to trawl the data stored in the databases… so many different options. It can be setup very quickly and easily. It’s free with the option of spending a very small amount of money that can be collected from members in amounts as small as $2 to help purchase things like a dedicated url… RHA already has this… so there are lots of options… customising the look and feel is very straight forward and if anyone is interested in it I am happy to do any of the setting up and programming behind the scenes.

Just another offer and option…


Well here’s a thought that might throw a wrench in the mix. I worked with thousands of convicts over 21 years. If they wanted to steal something, they figured out some way to get it. Just being a member of the RHA will not secure information if the will is there to get rare, endangered or other prized roses. I joined this group a year ago for a mere $10, just renewed for $10. Basically all I needed to do was send a check to Larry. For all anybody knows, I could be looking to steal intellectual or real property. How does one determine who will have access to the information you are proposing to store?

After reading through this thread a couple of times, I think the only way to preserve and share hard work, information and plants is for each breeder to select those with whom he/she wishes to share that information.

Robert said:

“As time passes I have more and more of my own things I’d like preserved. It’s up to each of us to make sure our stuff is perpetuated. Once we’re gone all bets are off. That’s just the way it is.”

Help Me Find is set up for administration members similarly to how Simon’s group is operated. I put in a call to Steve to describe what type of operation we’re brainstorming to see if it would be easy for him to open programming for us to use there. What he describes if very much what happens with an admin password, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. It would be required to be a subscriber to HMF for the $25/year to access the information, but I suspect anyone here already is.

I honestly don’t worry about someone obtaining my seedlings. I do worry about them coming to where I live and they grow and letting themselves in to steal them. Once any piece is out of my possession, there is no way to know nor prevent where they go or who has them.

For what its worth, Heirlooms now has a nearly complete garden of all of the AARS winners to date. Some of them look a bit…lacking of vigor…but I love that they are creating it. I never thought I would see what the original Floradora looked like. It is difficult to call it orange, lol. Time flies, eh? :slight_smile:

Great thread to start Kim!

Archiving is a great idea, but I agree, that unless we get to the point where we can archive rose tissue in very small manageable chunks (like viral or bacterial cultures in liquid Nitrogen or similar - which I suspect will be affordable in the next 25 years or so) what we archive may not be anything more than history. I have a fairly extensive database on MS Excel that documents all of the last 14 years of my breeding since building the greenhouse. With a little bit of work, anyone would be able to trace ancestries to get to named varieties.

With limited real estate (we live on 1 acre) I have not been able to keep all of the roses that I would like and have just a “handful” of named roses (bred by others) that I still keep.

With regard to seedlings that I have kept - there are very few old ones. I bred roses for about 6 years before building the greenhouse. There are only 2 seedlings that remain from those years.

Even many of my “important” proprietary breeders have been let go over the years, to be replaced by some of their offspring.

Since having a greenhouse (this is the 14th year that we have planted in the greenhouse), I have code named my seedlings by “year planted in the greenhouse”, starting with “A” for the first year all the way to “N” for those planted this year. Looking at the parentage of the seeds that we just planted, by far, more recent seedlings dominate both as seed and pollen parents.

They are as follows by group:

Seed parents:

“F” year - 1 seedling as a seed parent.

“G” - 2

“H” - 1

“I” - 3

“J” - 6

“K” - 15

“L” - 16

“M” - 13

Only 3 Named varieties were used as seed parents, ‘Midnight Blue’, ‘Gemini’, and ‘Cal Poly’.

Pollen parents:

“F” - 1

“G” - 1

“H” - 1

“I” - 2

“J” - 2

“K” - 7

“L” - 19

“M” - 16

Additionally, I used 4 named varieties as pollen parents, ‘Cal Poly’, ‘Black Magic’, ‘Hot Cocoa’, and ‘Kardinal’, and the species R. minutifolia.

It can be seen that the “K” and “L” year seedlings predominated. I dabbled with the brand new “M” seedlings last year, but the volume with them is very low due to the immaturity of the plants. Many of the “M” seedlings that prove to have good germination will be used more extensively in the coming year.

I am describing this to explain how transient are most of my seed and pollen parents. As mentioned earlier, I have let go many of the seedlings upon which my current breeding stock was built. Many that I used this year, will not be used again, even though some of their seedlings may prove to be an important link to the future.

It’s interesting how important links to future generations may themselves not appear to have much to offer (and they don’t in and of themselves), however, that lucky seedling, coming from a lucky break, carries the work forward, while the “link” becomes lost. There are very few “lost” links that I regret losing because the important genetics can be found in their offspring.

For the thousands of seedlings that I have grown, there are very few still living that I would include in an archive. I am not trying to throw cold water on a good idea, however, I think that looking at breeding potential, a vast germplasm can be found in a relatively smaller number of individual seedlings if carefully selected.

Some thoughts on Mr. Ralph Moore’s roses:

There is a vast resource among his seedlings that have been preserved that may be flying away very quickly. I am fairly confident that he would want us to share with each other as much of his material that we can. Kim, even those roses that he asked you “not to let get away”, I think that he would want them shared. For those of us who knew him, he seemed especially interested the last few years to get some of his more important seedlings that hadn’t been fully explored spread around. Besides the “standing on the shoulders of those who went before us” quote that many of us heard Mr. Moore say, he often liked to quote, “the only things that last are what you give away”. I think that there is much wisdom in those words.

Jim Sproul

Thanks, Jim. By “archiving” I mean documenting it exists and WHERE it is. None of us could possibly keep everything, but I’m sure there are some you have wanted or will want to come back to, but don’t have any longer for one reason or another. By sharing them among us, or even to outside interested parties, either directly or by permitting commercial nurseries to offer them, they have a greater chance to survive.

Everything you state about standing on shoulders is right on. I agree with your thought that Ralph would want them spread around. I didn’t feel it right to question him about that in the latter days. He was so focused upon TAMU and their being the Savior he so wanted. It’s very sad that life and his family betrayed him as he betrayed those who upheld him for so long. As I said, my obligation and committment have been executed. There are far too many other directions to take these things he never even thought of, much less had time and hands to accomplish.

Now, what entried would you wish to include in the data base and which seedlings would you like spread around?

If HMF can accommodate this documentation we have in mind than I’m all for it.


I hope you never regret dispatching any of those earlier seedlings, but I bet you will in time. Better to give some of them away than to just let them go extinct.


I can see Jim’s point and why in his case he wouldn’t choose to retain many of those earlier seedlings.

Working within the current genome of what’s available commercially, moving forward without preserving much of the past makes sense.

In my opinion genetic breakthroughs should take precedence.

I think it would be fun to work collaboratively put together a list of important hybrids worthy of preservation.

In some ways it might be a daunting task to get consensus depending on one’s point of view.

Jim’s work with Hulthemia derivatives, like his “I89-2” would qualify in my opinion, although he might disagree and have superior candidates by now.

Jim also generously shared a couple of his main stream proprietary seed parents with me awhile back.

I’m still working with descendants, though I didn’t retain the original crosses.

I’ve tried to take them in some different directions.

Thank you again.