Rose Breeders
Roses Bred by Svejda
AbeDarbyTrim Phot

Canada, in the interest of her citizens set up a small research facility to breed cold-hardy roses that would thrive in USDA cold hardiness zones 4, and perhaps 3 or 2. Breeders Colicutt, Marshall, and Svejda worked there over the years. The results of the program have been excellent. From Svejda's work we have a handful of roses in various shades from white through pink to crimson that are extremely vigorous, totally or mostly resistant to fungal attack extremely cold hardy, and highly foliferous.

I have seen Henry Kelsey growing in a nearby park where it is trained on an 8 ft pillar. In spring it covers the pillar with crimson flowers that fade toward pink in a tasteful manner. I have planted it in my own garden where, in really poor soil and with plenty of competition from other hungry plants it grows vigorously, blooms happily, and survives both summers dampness and its dryiness without a trace of disease or difficulty with drying out. Its flaws? It is not fragrant. The flowers individually are not especially charming. In short, I could never have a gardne in which this would be the only rose. But given a good supply of fragrant roses, it is an indispensible part of my garden. Champlain tolerates similar conditions, but it is encroached upon by Felicite et Perpetue. It gets a littel fungal disease, but if it weren't treated so meanly, I believe it would do very well indeed.

John Davis (pictured) is also treated as a pillar in a local municipal garden. Its flowers are a straightforward mid pink. Otherwise it behaves indistinguishably from HK. In the same park Alexander McKenzie grows to about 14 ft high by 18 ft wide. The plant will just about cover itself with dark crimson flowers two or three inches acrosss in the spring. It's not a rose for the small garden. But it surely does impress. My own experience with Jens Munk has been less positive. For me it barely blooms. And the blossoms have never struck me as being fragrant. These two flaws together are almost enough to shovel prune it. John Franklin, however, lives happily in a very dry corner of my property where it competes with a very greedy maple for sustenance and manages well enough.

The specific reasons for Svejda's success we do not know; but the general ones we can surmise. She started with generally hardy hybrid tea roses and shrub roses and crossed these with roses that were cold hardy and vigorous including R acicularis, an arctic rose, R. kordesii, and R. rugosa. The program lasted through much of the second half of the twentieth century and Svejda, to some degree, built on successes of Colicutt, Marshall, and Buck. If one measures roses in terms of cold hardiness, disease resistance, vigor, and ability to produce lots of flowers, then these represent some of the best roses bred to date. Any garden that is too cold for Noisettes ought to be provisioned with at least a few of these cultivars.

RoseFile Database.

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Cultivar Class Color FragranceBreeder Hardiness
Modern Shrub
Mauve
Slight
Svejda
Zone 3
Modern Shrub
Crimson
Slight
Svejda
Zone 3
Hybrid Rugosa
Rose
Strong
Svejda
Zone 3
Hybrid Rugosa
Cerise
Moderate
Svejda
Zone 2
Modern Shrub
Pink
Svejda
Zone 3
Hybrid Rugosa
White
Slight
Svejda
Zone 3
Kordesii Climber
Rose
None
Svejda
Zone 3
Modern Shrub
Primrose
Slight
Svejda
Zone 3
Hybrid Rugosa
Pink
Slight
Svejda
Zone 3
Cluster Flower Climber
Rose
None
Svejda
Zone 3
Modern Shrub
Pink
Strong
Svejda
Zone 3
Modern Shrub
Rose
Slight
Svejda
Zone 4
Hybrid Rugosa
Pale Pink
Strong
Svejda
Zone 3
Modern Shrub
Rose
None
Svejda
Zone 3
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