Garden, 1957 p. 73
Rosa Nitida as a Parent
Percy H. Wright
My first use of Nitida pollen was to place it on pistils of the well-known Rugosa hybrid Hansa. The first population consisted of about a dozen plants, which were grown for me by a cooperative neighbor, Mr. Murray Bowie, of Aylsham, Sask. Of these, there were quite a few semi-doubles, two doubles, and some singles. Only the two doubles were saved and propagated. The more desirable one for flower quality and was named Aylsham, and the other, which at first I did not intend to introduce, was labelled Aylsham sib or Aylsham No. 2.
Aylsham is a rose of medium size, of very good form considering its descent from Hansa, and of a bright red color, with blue tones much less in evidence than in its parent Hansa. One could hardly describe it as completely free of any blue, but the adjective "red", without any qualification, comes very near to being accurate. Aylsham has a slender, weak flower stem which allows the flower to become pendent if rains fall, and hispid flower-stems and heps. It grows about 30 inches high, and suckers somewhat.
Aylsham no. 2 is considerably more vigorous, growing to 42 inches at least, and suckering more rapidly. It was this superior vigor which decided me to let other rosarians have it, including Dr. F. L. Skinner, whom I wished to have an early opportunity to use it in breeding. Later, I sent Dr. Skinner a plant of the first choice for the name Aylsham. I do not know whether the plants he now sells as Aylsham are really Aylsham or Aylsham No. 2. In any case, it makes little difference. Aylsham No. 2 is only slightly inferior in doubleness and tidiness of flower, and is, as already stated, decidedly superior in vigor. Both, and all subsequent hybrids of Hansa and Nitida (as far as I know) have the desirable glossy foliage, the striking and beautiful autumn coloration, and complete fertility.
After obtaining these good results, I raised another population of the same cross, about 20 this time. Of these, nearly all had double or semi-double flowers, and there was some variation in intensity of flower color, varying from pink to the same red as Aylsham. There was also more variation in height, from a true dwarf, the height of Nitida, to the height and vigor of Hansa itself. These, including one attractively colored single, were scattered about the nursery, and most of them are probably still in existence. One, the very vigorous one, chosen for naming in 1955, was given the designation Bonnie Bowie.
Following my experiments, Dr, Skinner also used Rosa Nitida as a parent. I saw a couple of hybrids between Aylsham and Donald Prior on his nursery some years ago, but did not see them during my 1956 visit to Dropmore. However, I did see a number of selections so like Aylsham that I concluded that they were products of the same two parents. I am writing this because I should like to see still other hybrids of Nitida raised, breeding from Nitida itself, Aylsham or its sibs, Quadroon, and the unnamed Blanda cross. It is altogether likely that very good hybrids between Betty Bland and Nitida or Nitida hybrids could be raised. A special effort should be made to raise the second generation, or F2, of Hansa-Nitida hybrids, and direct crosses between Nitida and Hybrid Teas.