Pearl Drift

I received this email from Richard Baxter with the subjest line: Pearl Drift - can’t post messages w/XP can you post for me?

Randy, I used a lot of Pearl Drift pollen last year, without success. I think I had two Pearl Drift pollinated hips set, resulting in one germinated seed that did not make it, and maybe an O.P. hip or two, again without anything to show for it. But then again, I was just a neophyte rookie back then

more of Richard Baxter’s email

Robert, White Surprise does not appear to look much like Schneezwurg. If Schneezwurg is in fact R. Bracteata x R. Rugosa they should be damn near identical shouldn

Wow, What a lot of good, interesting information, even if it wasn’t very promising. Richard, yes, I agree that Pearl Drift still has potential despite its track record. Sometimes we just get lucky. Look what one unlikely hip did for Kordes with his plant of Max Graf! He got r. kordesii which was fertile and very useful for hundreds of crosses that produced many valuable roses.

We amateurs have the advantage of not having to satisfy CEO’s or stockholders with “winners” every year, so we can spend some time on unlikely or difficult prospects. If we get lucky maybe we can get something worthy of sharing with the world. If not, then possibly a rose with potential that other hybridizers can put to use.

It seems clear to me that the most potential for improving the roses of the future lies in bringing in genes from less conventional sources such as species or their hybrids. Let the big boys keep crossing the “popular” roses, I’ll keep trying some way out crosses hoping for something unique and different.

Thanks for the input.


Hi Robert,

My email is all fouled up. I tried to send this to you yesterday via email but it came back undelivered.

I received your rooted cutting of Pearl Drift yesterday and it looks to be in good shape. I put it into a plastic box with a clear top and white sides. I’ve used this little box with success in the past to root cuttings in as it keeps the moisture in like the ziplock bag method. I have it on my east porch where it can only get morning sun so it won’t cook. I’ll leave it in there for another week or so before I start to harden it off very carefully.

Thanks again for your kind offer. I really appreciate it



Thanks very much for your kindness. I really appreciate the opportunity to have this rose to use for future hybridizing. As I understand, it won’t set hips reliably but it’s pollen is well received by some roses, so I plan to use it as pollen parent when it begins blooming.

What kinds of crosses have you been doing this summer? Do you have any special seedlings that you are excited about?

I’ve been working so much this summer I didn’t get to do much hybridizing, but I did manage to get enough that when the hips ripen there should be plenty to keep me busy this winter. I’ve been using Rugelda, a supposed rugosa hybrid quite a bit. It’s really a beautiful rose both in bloom and striking shiny foliage. It sets hips well and is well received as a pollen parent. I bought Dr. Eckener (another rugosa hybrid) last spring and was so dissapointed when all the hips that looked so promising for a month or two aborted. Thankfully I have several hips from it as pollen parent on other roses.

I also have used some of Kim Rupert’s seedlings from Bayse’s Thornless, AKA 77-361. Most of these are thornless or nearly so and accept pollen from almost anything you throw at them.


I’m really focusing on hardiness and disease resistance, but am trying to make crosses that might result in really unusual blooms. I like stripes, spots, and colored reverses and am always looking for any rose that would pass on some unusual bloom type. seedlings.

I’d love to hear about some of what you’ve been up to in your crosses.

Hello, Here is a response to this discussion that I am copying and pasting for Pierre in France. Hope it helps some of you. You might wish to contact Pierre directly for more information. I can forward his address with his permission to any interested parties. Thank you, Robert

Pierre wrote:

White and Pink Surprise are barely different: pink is showing in the bud


Schneezwerg is not bracteata x rugosa. The later cross will give plants

quite similar to the Surprises.

Pearl Drift which is evidently a bracteata hybrid is not sterile. Got

some hips with few bad germinating seeds. Harkness Pearl Drift seedling

Many Happy Returns is fully fertile but here bracteata is rather


Mermaid and the Surprise are in the same fertility league as Max Graff:

better to use as pollen or you will get an ocasional OP hip on a larger

plant and not impossibly germinating seeeds.

Pierre Rutten

Hey Folx,

Been lurking for awhile. But from all the research I’ve done, there’s a consensus that Pearl Drift is difficult to work with. I grew it years ago when the only North American source was Hortico. I still have a plant of it, albeit no seedlings. I think it’s a dead end, but would love to get my hands on a plant of Many Happy Returns since its seedparent of Herbstfeuer has good genes too. I wish there was a US source for it… anyone?

I think my little Pearl Drift shrub had 3 OP hips last autumn (quite long to ripe…). I sown the seeds maybe…I’ll search and told you if seedlings are emerging…

The first seedling appeared this morning…

Thanks, Fred. That’s encouraging.


Seedling is flowered: a nice whitish inside, pinkish outside flower, similar to pearl drift in flower aspect…

the plant is very healthy…