Newsletter 8(3): 15 (Fall 1977)
HYBRIDISING WITH SPECIES
By Franc Holliger
For those of us who would like to do some hybridising with our local species, there are records of what other breeders have done to be studied and while I don't have access to Modern Roses VII, I do have the VI, and have been most interested in learning some of this information.
Living as I do on the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, I have plants of Rosa gymnocarpa, R. pisocarpa and R. nutkana. I don't know of any hybridising use of R. gymnocarpa, but it is a dainty, medium-tall bush, with small,, cupped blossoms, solitary, of a good pink, and sets smallish, orange-red hips which resemble those of R. willmottiae. Here, it blooms in May-June and is a diploid.
Of R. pisocarpa, I can quote from the book "The Complete Rosarian" by Norman Young, in which he says of a cross between R. pisocarpa (which is a graceful, upright shrub seven or eight feet high) and a dwarf polyantha, that it showed such moderate growth that he nearly threw it away; by the end of the first year it was still no more than two inches high, a matchstick with four leaves. But in the following year it went off with a bang, putting out four or five separate canes which reached a length of eighteen inches or two feet. Eventually it developed into a large bush, three feet high and nearly six across. He says that R. pisocarpa repeats sparingly but quite reliably. In my region it is a "ditch-dweller" and most attractive with a background of white fencing, this being "equestrian" country. (Diploid)
R. nutkana (hexaploid) has been used for breeding by C. C. Hurst of England, and George M.A. Schoener of Santa Clara, California. In the first case, R. nutkana was used as "hip" with pollen from Red Letter Day (1927) and this variety [Cantab] is still available through Petersen's Plantschole, Denmark. "Schoener's Nutkana" and "Nutneyron" had the species used for hip in the first, pollen in the second. These were both used by J. H. Nicholas in further breeding, "Leonard Barron", "Polar Bear" and "Shenandoah" having "Schoener's Nutkana" used as hip in the first two, and as pollen in the third. "Ernie Pyle" is a case where "Nutneyron" was used by E. S. Boerner in a complex parentage, as pollen. Does anyone have "Schoener's Nutkana" or "Nutneyron"?
As R. woodsii and R. acicularis are also native to British Columbia, I plan to have these, but so far have only acquired R. woodsii (diploid); I may have seeds of R. acicularis, but I have to wait until these germinate and bloom to be sure. It is hexaploid in the region closest to me. The only recorded information I have been able to find is "Pike's Peak", by Gunter, Dr. N.C. of Pueblo, Colorado, in which R. acicularis X "Hollywood" is given as the parentage.
Isabella Preston of the Ottawa Central Experimental Farm used just about all the eastern native roses in her rose-breeding programmes, but not any of the western wild roses. A list of her introductions may be found in "Roses for Canadian Gardens" by Roscoe A. Fillmore,
I haven't found any recorded introductions which have used R. woodsii but I know Don Nielson has been using it for some years, developing interesting hybrids and using a variety of cultivated varieties for hip and pollen.
Two of the most interesting hybrids recorded in England have been crosses using R. virginiana (tetraploid) from the eastern United States. These are the "Rose d'Amour" and the "D'Orsay (Buttonhole) Rose", of which Graham Stuart Thomas has written in his book "Shrub Roses of Today" and in the RNRS Annual for 1977, complete with pencil drawings. I acquired the first by purchase, and hope to acquire cuttings of the second, having identified it in a horticultural park nearby. I already have the R. virginiana and R. carolina, the latter of which is suggested as the second parent in the case of the D'Orsay Rose. Hybrids such as these, both double, might be good material for further hybridising, if fertile.