"O.M.", bred by Ralph Moore, California, 1948.
Work on breeding new Moss Roses began in 1948 when Pedro Dot's Moss Hybrid, 'Golden Moss' was used to pollinate 'Mark Sullivan' to produce what is now referred to as simply "O.M.". (Short for Orange Moss) See photo at left. It is through this hybrid that the Mini Moss 'Lemon Delight', 'Goldmoss', and other orange and yellow Mosses were obtained.
Ralph Moore speaks about his early work with "Orange Moss", from his book, Modern Moss Roses:
"My own work with moss roses began with a successful cross of Mark Sullivan (H.T.) x Golden Moss. As expected, all seedlings were tall growing (climbing to 8-10' or more) spring flowering plants. Only one was really mossed. It had large glossy foliage and slender, quite well mossed buds which opened into a brilliant blend of yellow and orange. The moss was of the stiff or thorny type but it was a start and this selection has been an important link in my work with moss roses. Few hips will set and seeds are not viable but good pollen is abundantly produced. Most moss roses are low in fertility -- that is, they set few or no seed hips and produce little or no pollen. There are exceptions and it is the exception which makes continuing development of new moss hybrids possible.
"Beginning with this Mark Sullivan x Golden Moss seedling as the pollen parent, numerous crosses were made using hybrid tea and floribunda varieties as the seed (female) parent. This was necessary in order to recover the everblooming, bush type plant. But in so doing most, or all, of the moss was lost.
"The next step was to select a partially mossed bush type plant to server either as seed or pollen parent. If this light to moderately mossed bush set viable seed it could be used as the seed parent. Most likely it did not set seed but did produce some usable pollen. This pollen could then be used to fertilize the flowers of a selected tall growing spring flowering hybrid moss rose which was known to produce fertile seed. From such a cross it is then possible to select from the seedling offspring a plant or plants having everblooming, bush habit with moderate to quite heavy moss. On the other hand, it has often proven better to select a bush type plant, with at least a fair amount of mossing and cross it with the tall spring flowering F1 moss hybrid. It is the testing -- trial and error which takes the time.
"All the while we have kept in mind the goal: to produce bush type, everblooming garden roses of the hybrid tea, floribunda and miniature types, with good bud form, in a variety of colors and with good mossing. With such a goal in mind, the selection of parents to be used and the specific crosses to be made was of utmost importance.
"For example, one cannot go to just any yellow and obtain a good yellow. Often the proposed parents are, for some reason, incompatible or not suitable. They just refuse to cross or the offspring prove to be only mediocre. In other cases a variety may manifest the moss influence in its hybrid offspring while another good rose, crossed with the same pollen, will show little or no moss influence.
"While the initial goal was to develop miniature rose varieties with well mossed buds, I knew that these would only be realized by first working through other more compatible and fertile types of roses. As mentioned earlier, my first successful moss cross was a seedling produced by crossing Mark Sullivan with Golden Moss. Since the original code number was lost we simply refer to this clone as O.M. in our breeding records.
"Pollen from O.M. (short for orange moss) has been used in numerous crosses over the years. The pollen is produced abundantly and is compatible with many varieties. So by crossing a yellow H.T. seedling with pollen from O.M. I obtained a number of yellow and orange colored moss roses. Nearly all were tall growing (climbing) spring flowering plants and ranged from single to full double flowers.
"Pollen from one of the best of these, a clear yellow, was then used on the floribunda variety, Rumba, to produce Goldmoss, the first clear yellow bush type everblooming moss rose."
Original photographs and site content © 2006 Paul Barden, All Rights Reserved.