American Rose Annual 32: 167-168 (1947)
Rose Hybridizing in Minnesota
By RICHARD S. WILCOX
President, Minnesota Rose Society
SOME interesting and apparently worthwhile developments have come from a limited amount of rose hybridizing by Dr. L. E. Longley, chief of the section of Ornamental Horticulture, University of Minnesota. Doctor Longley is the same man who produced the now famous Minnesota "Mums" which set a new high standard for hardy chrysanthemums under our severe winters, which go to 30° below zero and sometimes lower.
Possibly his crosses with New Dawn are the most interesting because in every case the progeny appears to be everblooming, generally about as free as New Dawn. For the most part, they have also been climbers apparently with about the same vigor as the rightfully famous sport of Dr. W. Van Fleet. One seedling has pure snow-white blossoms without any trace of pink or yellow. The white against the waxy deep green leaves makes an attractive picture and there are possibilities that it may prove to be our best white climber. There is no other everblooming "hardy" white that I know of. The blossom has the same hybrid tea form as New Dawn.
There are two beautiful singles, both everblooming. They are of about the same color, an attractive salmon-pink, but one is approximately three inches in diameter while the other is from 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 inches. Another one is from Lily Pons crossed with New Dawn, which would be a dandy if the color were not an off-white. It may prove valuable, however, in further crossing.
Dr. Longley seems to be the only hybridizer using New Dawn as one of the parents who has been able to produce everblooming stock from the first cross. This greatly increases the possibility of securing valuable dwarf and climbing roses. None of the hybrid tea climbing sports have the quantity or persistency of the bloom of New Dawn. We ought soon to have this type in all colors.
A cross between Crimson Glory and Pink Princess has produced a rose with as beautiful a long crimson bud as one could wish, for long buds are uncommon in this type. It opens into a moderately full flower, scarlet-crimson in color, in which the gold stamens show effectively, making it one of the most attractive fully open blooms. It does not have any of that over-doubleness that so many of the Wichuraiana hybrids have. The plant is spreading, of the Dr. W. Van Fleet type, and it has abundant, disease-resistant foliage.
Another group of outstanding seedlings is the result of crosses of Skyrocket with various roses. Doctor Longley has a bright solid-color scarlet-red that makes most of the super-polyanthas seem dull and is much superior to Skyrocket, not only in this brilliant coloring but in size of individual flower and clusters, as well as in amount and persistency of bloom, He has a pink that is just as free a bloomer with as large a flower and head, but of course it does not make as striking a showing. These two roses promise to be of much value for planting in large groups in the border and in the background of rose gardens. There is also a "baby rambler" size plant with deep crimson, double flowers that may prove one of the best in its class. Through Skyrocket, all of these roses carry the heritage of the wild French species, Rosa micrantha, one of our most showy, hardy climbers, which should be more widely planted. It is perfectly hardy here, much more so than Rosa setigera, which is native in Wisconsin and some parts of Minnesota. The brilliant scarlet polyantha, Eutin, one of the best, is also out of Skyrocket and therefore R. micrantha.
Here are two sources of more vigorous, more resistant and hardier roses, Skyrocket and New Dawn, which have not been used to any extent by American hybridizers.
We do need hardier everblooming roses and I think rose growers in over half of the United States would appreciate more of this quality in their varieties. Usually with this hardiness goes more vigor and more disease resistance. These prized additional qualities do not seem to be at all inconsistent with the most attractive exhibition form. Certainly no rose has more beautiful hybrid tea type blossoms than Lily Pons, while Dr. W. Van Fleet includes form with superior disease-resistant qualities and hardiness. Nearly Wild, although single, is almost everything we need in hardiness and vigor, while it outblooms all other large-flowered roses.