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Are roses getting better

Posted by A_Roy 4a (arnoldroy@hotmail.ca) on
Sun, Jul 28, 13 at 9:37

I’m very new to roses. I’m wondering how much roses have evolved over the years. If I buy roses hybridized after 2000, do I get better, more resistant to disease rose bushes.
Of the roses I have planted this spring, Eutin (Kordes 1940) is the best performer. My Alec’s Red is the nicest looking rose I have ever seen in person.

Alec's Red pic


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Are roses getting better

Nice-looking Alec's Red, indeed!

And Eutin is better than many roses when it comes to disease resistance. But Eutin isn't a recent rose--it dates back to--what?--the 1930s-40s? Somewhere back there. Became quite popular in the 1960s but really dropped into the background in recent decades, except that a few of us in these more BS resistant days, have been pushing it regularly as a good choice.

Eutin is a Kordes rose, and it is true that Kordes has, in recent years, raised disease-resistance up as a priority in their breeding program--and a lot of gardeners love Kordes' fairytale series as a result, but I'm not sure you can say that other breeders worry that much about disease-resistance--though if they happen to breed a good one, they know that trait will help the rose to sell. And not all Kordes roses are good disease-resistors either, for that matter.

Certainly, the phenomenal success of the Knock Out roses literally changed the American landscape of roses and at least gave American gardeners a choice when it comes to disease-resistance, but I haven't noticed that it changed the types of roses, in any significant ways, that are coming today out of the breeding programs.

What has changed is the consciousness of the gardeners. More and more, rose gardeners are searching for rose selections with at least a half-way decent disease-resistance rather than just a "pretty face" or a "divine" perfume. That change in the gardeners' attitudes comes mainly from the developing environmental concerns--concern especially about the impact of fungicides and other sprays on the environment.

Personally, I find myself wondering why more breeders aren't looking for roses that can compete, disease-wise, with the contemporary Knock Out roses. Gardening consumers have certainly shown that they are willing to buy such roses. All a company needs is some disease-resistance roses PLUS some "pretty faces" (which Knock outs do NOT have), and that company would be set to make money in a rose market that, as a whole, has NOT been thriving in the last few years.

Kate


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RE: Are roses getting better

The big area of improvement is resistance to blackspot disease. 'Eutin' was one of the very few modern bush roses to have good blackspot resistance prior to, let's say, 1990. The big commercial breeders in America contributed very little to this improvement. Griffith Buck, a professor at Iowa State, bred roses in the 1960s and 1970s that were more winter hardy than other modern bush roses, and some of these were more disease resistant. Buck's roses were and are used in breeding programs by William Radler (creator of 'Knock Out') and the major European breeders such as Kordes and Meilland to produce the new generations of disease-resistant roses. Severe restrictions on the use of synthetic fungicides in Canada and Europe have helped motivate breeders to produce more resistant plants.

I don't mean to give Buck all the credit. Another innovative breeding program was sponsored by the Canadian government. Kordes has been interested in hardy, resistant roses for a long time.

Still a majority of newly released roses are not resistant, so you can't just go by the date of introduction.


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RE: Are roses getting better

A lot of older/antique roses are more disease resistant than many modern ones. Selection for size, form and color was a priority for many, many years, esp in the hybrid teas and floribundas, so many lost the resistance that earlier classes had evolved on their own. Also, some are resistant to some diseases and not others.

So, no, you cannot use the date to ascertain disease resistance. Do your homework before buying. Here is the link to the rose data base: http://www.helpmefind.com/rose/plants.php


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RE: Are roses getting better

I don't think there is a hard and fast clear answer to this.....but I will say that many old roses are truly awful while others are superlative. In all, I would say that modernity is no real indication of health....and as we all have unique gardens with specific ideals, this is a dodgy generalisation to make without much hemming and hawing about. One gardens terrific performer will be a miff in a different garden. However, at least one UK breeder (Gareth Fryer) absolutely insists that overall, modern roses are much better (healthier, more floriferous, faster repeat with contained growth) than roses grown longer than a couple of decades ago.

I am also becoming rather fond of Kordes roses since I am a lazy non-sprayer while still having ridiculously high demands (where patchy, yellow and black spotty leaves and bare canes are NOT in my imaginary ideal garden).


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RE: Are roses getting better

campanula, if you like Kordes roses, give Tantau roses a try. I think their recent ones are superior in both look and health and vigor to the Kordes' newer efforts. I am really pleased with Evers' hybridizations--Ascot, Augusta Luise, and several I am wanting that are available only in Europe, and I assume, Britain. Another lovely Tantau rose is Bernstein-Rose. I know the look of all these may be too petal filled for you since you like singles, but you might give one newer Tantau a try. Here is a pic of my current obsession, Augusta Luise. Diane


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RE: Are roses getting better

In general, yes, roses improve quite a bit every decade. Yes, growers and customers become more sophisticated and demanding, and breeding and seedling selection keep pace. If you have the opportunity to browse a botanic collection of roses by decade, you will easily see the improvements by decade. Health, vigor, density of foliage, quantity and quality of flower all show dramatic improvement as you advance forward in time.

Are any of them 'perfect'? That depends upon your definition of the word and what characteristics you consider. But, in general, yes, roses have improved and are improving all the time. The most dramatic improvements can be seen when comparing the average HT or floribunda from each decade to those of succeeding decades. Compare the top exhibition roses of the 70s to those of the 80s, 90s or even today. You can see the improvements. Whether they are "improved" for your disease pressures and climates is difficult to say. Disease resistance is a relative new comer to seedling selection in comparison to vigor and flower form. You will see dramatic improvements in that area in future years. Kim


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RE: Are roses getting better

In general, yes, roses improve quite a bit every decade. Yes, growers and customers become more sophisticated and demanding, and breeding and seedling selection keep pace. If you have the opportunity to browse a botanic collection of roses by decade, you will easily see the improvements by decade. Health, vigor, density of foliage, quantity and quality of flower all show dramatic improvement as you advance forward in time.

Are any of them 'perfect'? That depends upon your definition of the word and what characteristics you consider. But, in general, yes, roses have improved and are improving all the time. The most dramatic improvements can be seen when comparing the average HT or floribunda from each decade to those of succeeding decades. Compare the top exhibition roses of the 70s to those of the 80s, 90s or even today. You can see the improvements. Whether they are "improved" for your disease pressures and climates is difficult to say. Disease resistance is a relative new comer to seedling selection in comparison to vigor and flower form. You will see dramatic improvements in that area in future years. Kim


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RE: Are roses getting better

With 'Charlotte Armstrong', 'Peace', and their immediate descendants, there was a big step forward in vigor and perhaps in mildew resistance for hybrid teas, but I'm skeptical as to how much improvement occurred in the forty years after that. Over that period the overwhelming majority of new roses were HT and Fl that were fully susceptible to blackspot, and breeding consisted mainly of crossing two successful cultivars of that type. Apart from exhibition form, how were the top roses of the 80s clearly superior to the roses of the 50s like 'Tiffany' and 'Queen Elizabeth'? Is there a super-fragrant red HT better as a garden rose than 'Chrysler Imperial'?

It seems to me that American commercial rose breeding during that period was stagnant except for the pursuit of novelty colors and needle-nosed exhibition HTs. California breeders ignored the rest of America's need for more winter hardiness and blackspot resistance. The groundwork for real improvement was being laid in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Canada, but the truly superior roses never made it to the garden center until Conard Pyle made a deal with Bill Radler around 1990.

This post was edited by michaelg on Tue, Jul 30, 13 at 14:38


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RE: Are roses getting better

Again, depending upon your criteria (in this case, disease resistance and cold hardiness) the answer to the question is going to be "it depends". But, basing it upon the criteria of foliage quality, foliage density, bush habit, vigor, flower production, actual resistance to midew and rust in THIS climate, there have been dramatic improvements in bush, foliage and flower quality. I wish I had my old slides of the decade beds at The Huntington Library I took thirty years ago. It was a living museum by decade (as was the Descanso Rose History Walk, prior to the more recent "renovation" of the rose garden) where you could observe and study the improvements by decade. Viewed that way, the changes have been dramatic. Kim


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