Working with R. spinosissima and its hybrids

It seems like most of my ideas about increasing winter hardyness revolves around hybrid spinosissimas. This summer, I plan to add 2 roses that I have placed, with a few others, at the center of my hybridizing plans.

Hazeldean and Beauty of Leafland, along with Suzanne, Applejack form a kind of core that I want to start with. 3 of these are hybrid spinosissimas.

I hope to find a little more about B of L and Hazeldean. Thinks like habit, flower size, fragrance petal counts. I am really curious about what first generation crosses from these rose may bring.

Initially, I want to use the pollen from these 4, on Prairie Harvest, Graham Thomas, Golden Glow firstly and then on all the 20+ other Buck roses I have.

Hazeldean is kind of a mystery to me. Paul O. had originally brought it up as a potential starting place for a hardy yellow climber. Its at the center of all my plans but I know little about it. There are few hybrids from it and I can find little information on it. I wonder if Morden is using it. I thought I remember it being said that it does not pass its disease resistance well. Are there other results from using it that people have not talked much about?

I have the same questions about Beauty of Leafland. To me, it is at least as interesting at Hazeldean yet I her no mention of it as having potential for creating interesting hybrids. Does it have problems as a parent? Does it produce poor pollen or seeds with low germination percentage?

Perhaps its 2 year period of time for seeds of these roses to germinate that has discouraged people from using them as seed parents. Perhaps its as simple as an availability issue. Its very hard to get them in the US.

Right now, my plans include using these hardy roses with climbers like Autumn Sunset and Golden Glow. Another is using them with Buck roses. I am adding Baby Love and hope to cross it with Applejack, BofL and Hazeldean.

Speaking of Baby Love, how winter hardy is it? Since it has been mentioned that is passes disease resistance well, I thought it would be a good rose to add. I want to cross it with Folksinger as well since it is prone to mildew.

There is room with these 4 for other roses. One possibility is j5. I currently have a struggling cutting of j5 that only has a 50/50 chance of making it to summer. I am really curious about this rose as there is even less info about it than Hazeldean. I wonder what is parents are and what its actual winter hardyness is.

What about Aicha? It has no offspring. Is it fertile?

There are some other roses that are hardy and I am not sure where to put them. Wasagaming for instance. This is a hardy rose but I am not sure that I want it at the core of my effors.

Just some more rambling. Any thoughts?



I’ve only had Hazeldean for a few years and haven’t made much use of it in breeding yet, but I can comment a little bit about it’s growth and flower.

It is about as saturated yellow as foetida (from what I can remember of foetida, when I grew it). It looks more saturated than the pictures I’ve seen of Harrison’s Yellow. Not surprisingly, foetida died fairly quickly for me; but Hazeldean is showing no signs of giving up. It doesn’t seem to have any glaring susceptibilities to diseases, like foetida does for blackspot. The flower is well-doubled (more than semi-double for sure), although I’ve never counted the petals. There are quite a few stamens for pollen. Just this season, my first use (of its pollen) was successful in producing some seeds. I’ll let you know later if I can get any to germinate. It has a fairly strong pleasant scent. I haven’t seen any rebloom. It’s fully cold-hardy here in Maryland – although we’re only zone 6 or 7. It suckers like a spinosissima.

Overall, it reminds me of a deep yellow spinosissima. And I like it enough that I’m dreaming up more crosses to try next season.

The only other roses you mentioned that I can comment on are Applejack, Prairie Harvest, Westerland (from which came Autumn Sunset as a sport) and Baby Love. Keep in mind these are only my opinions based on my no-spray (no-prune, no-fertilize, no-water, no-weed, no-mow-around, … you get the point) style of gardening.

Applejack - pretty tough survivor (had it at least six years now), good scent, not a lot of rebloom

Prairie Harvest - one of my survivors with a fairly modern look and good rebloomer (had it growing for eight years with no care)

Westerland - big, not strong scent but still nice, put on a good fall show this past year (its 3rd with me)

Baby Love - must need more care, it didn’t make it more than a season with me

Hope this helps you out a little in your selection process.

I have had Wasagaming for many years. Nothing has come of it with regards to breeding. I suggest Will Alderman instead.

Agriculture Canada, in it’s early explorer roses, used ‘Arthur Bell’ to introduce yellow into it’s breeding program. Unfortunately, the yellow fades and passed this on to its’ crosses. Later breeding included ‘Sunsprite’. Buck also used ‘sunsprite’ in his breeding program.

for me, ‘Graham Thomas’ is the most tender of the Austin roses, so I couldn’t recommend it for hardiness. If you are trying for hardy yellow climbers you might want to consider using ‘Golden Wings’ or ‘Fruhlingsgold’. Both are hybrid scotch roses.


You asked about Aicha being fertile. From casual observation I have never seen Aicha set hips and until this year I never bothered trying. So this past June I tried several pollens and to no surprise nothing took. However the pollen from Aicha pollenated most everything I put it on. I have about sixty seeds (from Austins and Bucks) in the refrig now and will no more this spring. I hope its not going to take two years for germinations.

John, I think the long wait for germinations occurs when a spinosissima is the seed parent. I could be wrong though. I look forward to hear how things germinate for you with the Buck roses x Aicha. I have quite a few Buck roses I hope to get some seedlings from eventually.

Mark, I have considered Golden Wings. I added it to my garden but my silly dog took exception to it for some reason and dug it up. It was struggling last fall. If it makes it through the winter, I most definetly will try some pollinations with it. It seems to produce some relatively hardy offspring, zone 5ish.

With respect to Graham T., it has been ok hardy for me in zone 5 with only moderate dieback. Rarely below the snowling and so far, never to the mulch line. Perhaps I should consider replacing it with one of other yellow Austins. I like Graham because it can get large and I was hoping it would pass on its size to offspring.

Steven, your above breeding lines interest me with living here in cold zone 3 Alberta. Just last spring I had started working with Hazeldean as the pollen parent. I’ve also done a few crosses with Golden Wings in which dies back almost completely to the ground though still blooms well. These two above I’ve crossed onto a nice sport of Morden Blush in which came forth in my sister’s garden. This sport is a fragrant double to semi double creamy white with some yellow towards the center, cool temperatures will sometimes bring out a bit of pink. It has proven much more fertile than Morden Blush itself. I’m hopeing this rose will help me in developing a very hardy pure yellow floribunda type. I’ve also begun working with some of the Explorer and Parkland roses.



I’ll answer a few of your questions.

‘Hazeldean’ was used exensively by Morden to develop hardy,yellow cultivars. While ‘Hazeldean’ provided hardiness, it also produced tall breeding lines. It took a few generations to substantially reduce the height. The first success was ‘Morden Sunrise’, a semi-double yellow with a bit of pink. It’s not truly hardy to Zone 3, since it winter kills severely in those climates. But like all Parkland roses, it’s root hardy and blooms on new wood. What’s interesting about ‘Morden Sunrise’ is that it has ‘Sunsprite’ in the pedigree, so it may be valuable for further breeding of hardy, yellow roses. The big problem though in Morden’s experience is to overcome disease problems. ‘Morden Sunrise’, for example, can be quite subject to mildew in the latter part of the summer.

‘Hazeldean’ can rebloom in late summer and early fall. However, ‘Prairie Peace’ (‘Beauty of Leafland’ x ‘Hazeldean’) repeats better late in the season, and the quantity is nearly as much as its first bloom.

‘Beauty of Leafland’ lacks fertility as a pistillate parent. The problem is likely the flowers are very double. Secondly, the flowers don’t produce hips from open pollination well because the latter ones tend to ball.

J5 in my opinion is the most beautiful Rosa spinosissima cultivar ever developed. The semi-double flowers are a combination of yellow, orange and pink. ‘Hazeldean’ is in its parentage. Initially, it was thought hardiness was lacking for general growing of this selection on the Canadian prairies. But it is absolutely hardy in Zone 3 climates. Lynn Collicut of the Morden Research Station once told me that the pollen has very good viability.


Paul, where can we possibly find this J5? … sounds most interesting!


J5 isnt in commerce. I was lucky enough to find some one willing to send me cuttings. If I can keep my plant alive and get it healthy, I would be more than happy to share some cuttings and suckers. As of right now, I have my doubts that my plant will live.

SteveJ, I have my fingers crossed for your plants! If and when you get your plants healthy, I’d make a trade with you of something which would likely interest you. Thanks.



My J5 is doing really well, and I’m going to try and layer it this spring. I’ll post if I have any luck.

I have most of the hardies mentioned above, with most of them entering their third or fourth year in my garden. I have many plants of Hazeldean available, if anyone’s interested, proceeds will go to the local Perennial Society.

I hope to do some crosses this year, since I’ll have more blooms to work with (knock on wood!).

Yellow Altai would be another great place to start breeding yellows, I’d like to use it alot this year.

Koren in Saskatoon