To use it in further breeding or not?

Last year I raised a seedling from St. John x Cardinal de Richelieu. I had only a few seeds and only one grew into a seedling. The seedling flowered this year and it is kinda nice, however it does not have the special colour of CdR. It is pink. It has a light fragrance. The seedling has average disease resistance. It doesn’t know if it wants to be a groundcover or a small shrub yet, but I guess it will become a small shrub when it is a little bit older. Also, last years canes only grew leaves at the top, even though they were hanging down. This makes it look a bit ratty.

So what to do with it? On the one hand it is a not very special seedling, with many other English roses being superior to it (they have better flower form, repeat and have more fragrance). It is pink and will probably spawn more pinks. On the other hand it is a Gallica/Floribunda cross, which makes it interesting to see what a subsequent generation looks like.

What would you do?


It has a nice flower, but first I would try to find out if it is fertile both ways or not if you haven’t already done that. If you can get a good seed parent which has good germination I would consider using it furter. Right now do some test pollinations to determine fertility, germination and see what kind of offspring you get. Are they prolific, healthy,etc. If you like what you see then use it with more pollinations. Just be careful not to fall in love with your seedlings too much. There will be many more and probably some better ones. Good luck.


Rob, if it has traits (though even if not seen in this one) that you want to carry further, I would use it with a superior seed parent. It is more likely to be pollen fertile than seed fertile. I would do crosses with it as a pollen parent this year. If it sets OP hips, I would test its germination and later consider using it as a seed parent.

Just my two cents…

Jim Sproul

Save it because you are the only person who may have succesfully raised a seedling from Cardinal de Richeliue (god knows I tried…)

I’d cross it with this or Ebb Tide:

…in any direction possible.

I love the bloom on St. John. But in my garden, the bloom support system is a disaster with canes getting canker over winter if even one piece of mulch contacts them. Some canes have even cankered in spring. I love it enough that I tolerate its weaknesses.

And I see the good parts of St. John’s bloom in your bloom and I celebrate that it’s on a plant that doesn’t have the bright green (pretty but weak) foliage and canes that St. John does.

I know we zero in on the blooms, but putting great blooms on better plants should be a goal as well.

Rob, in any case just don’t toss it away.

If anything, provide this rather stunning rose to other people to work with.

I have a light lavender rose of Cologne X Constance Spry that may actually bring out some of the “blue” of your seedling’s Cardinal de Richelieu parent.

Sounds very interesting.

Can you tell us more about St. John?

St. John is a somewhat recent off-white Harkness floribunda. I belive I saw the lineage once, but forgot. I think it was part of his floribunda lineage that used Hybrid Musks. Harkness introduced Prince of wales at a similar time. It is also a white floribunda. PoW was short, and the blandest shade of white Ive seen. St. John was a prettier white, but leggy (the one at Heirlooms is anyhow).

I certainly won’t throw the seedling away. Just wondering what you thought about it’s value to use further. I will test the fertility of the plant. I’ll put some Abraham Darby pollen on the next flower. The pistils are very well developed, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Hopefully it will set seed. I’ll try the pollen too of course.

St. John is actually a low floribunda here, not leggy at all. However it grows in a weird, windy location at the corner of the house, so maybe that’s why. It looks like Iceberg to me and is nothing special, however I wanted to test it, it had a flower available and I had CdR pollen, so that’s why I put in on that flower. Not really a thoughfully planned action.

Yesterday I noticed the other budeyes to grow into leaves, so it may become a nice looking shrub after all :slight_smile:


Does your hybrid repeat Rob?

I think were it me I would allow it to self then sort out the offspring for repeat and novel color.

Rob, do give it another year. I’ve found that roses which have (or are supposed to have) a purple cast to them often don’t get it that first year. This has been true in my experience even from cuttings; Belle de Crecy and to some extent Cardinal de Richelieu cuttings are never, that first year, what they’ll be in later years.

Selfing is a good idea too, maybe the purple will come back in a subsequent generation. It does not repeat, but with selfing the repeat of the floribunda side should be recovered. Also when crossed with puple repeat flowering roses.

Let’s hope the colour improves later on.


Hi Rob,

Congratulations, CdR has a quite elusive character.

Did you get any seed from your CdR offspring?

My first year flowering QE x CdR is most likely an apomict. I checked the hip parent this year and it sets seed apomictically.