Robert L. Smith

While reading old newsletters I came across this guy’s work. Ok I have two questions about this breeder. It list four plants by this guy on HMF; Brian’s Song, Bright Angel, Dakota Sun, and Dakota’s Song. First off does anybody know if these are all breed by the same Robert L. Smith or by two different guys? Secondly has anyone ever used these? The parentage for three of these roses are listed and they have some good stuff in there parentage.

If you look at the oldest photos of ‘Dakota’s Song’ you can see PM on the foliage in the photo.

I know for sure that Brian’s Song, Dakota Song and Dakota Sun are bred by the Robert Smith I know. Probably the last one too. He owned a nursery in Mitchell, SD. His son, Dr. Brian Smith was my advisor at the University of Wisconsin River Falls. Brian teaches classes on fruit and vegetable production and breeds strawberries and stone fruits. I worked as a work study student for Brian on his breeding projects. Robert Smith and his wife sold the business and their home and live near Brian and his family in Wisconsin now. I grew both the Dakota roses and confirmed they are both tetraploids. I haven’t bred with them and if I remember right they haven’t been good at setting op hips. They are very nice roses and have the typical nice habit of Buck roses of which they descend. They are pretty healthy too. If I remember right Dakota Sun doesn’t make much pollen and is very very double.

I don’t think Robert is breeding roses as of late unfortunately. Hopefully I am wrong.


I’ve grown both Dakota’s Song and Dakota Sun for a couple of years. They both resemble HT’s with respect to plant form and blooms are very double (and fragrant) and resemble OGR-type blooms. I have never seen an OP hip on either plant. No crosses that I attempted took and I was unable to get pollen from either of them. That said, they are both lovely roses. They are on their third winter in northern Wisconsin and although they have died back to the ground each spring they regenerate new growth pretty well. I expect that they would thrive in a slightly warmer zone. Dakota Sun has been clean for me. Dakota’s Song was clean the first two seasons but did defoliate completely fairly late last season.