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The following list of roses includes those still in development, under consideration by various nurseries for introduction, and those still known by "study" names.
'Lauren' – This seedling of 'Baby Faurax' has the same deep violet blooms as 'Baby Faurax', but they appear on a more graceful, China-like plant. Julia Cooper of San Diego is one of a group in Southern California known as the "HOMs" (Hooked on Mauves). Kim sought and received approval from Julia's daughter, Lauren, to name this rose after her. ("Lauren" is also Kim's middle name.) This rose is currently offered by Ashdown Roses under the name 'Purple Poly Seedling.'
'Winifred Coulter X Greensleeves' – A 2-foot shrub with very large, full medium pink ruffled blooms carried atop a dainty plant. Not introduced as of this writing, but those who are growing it look forward to its release.
'Torch of Liberty X Star Magic' – This seedling resulted from a cross of a traditional miniature and a thornless Bracteata hybrid. The plant is a shrubby climber with mauve red, double open blooms with purple petal bases scattered all over the plant from summer well into winter here in Southern California. Ashdown Roses has it in test fields.
'Lilac Charm X Basye's Legacy' - The reason for this cross was a successful attempt to intensify the mauve tints of 'Basye's Legacy'. Kim reports that this shrubby, floribunda-type plant has single, mauve blooms with some fragrance, and it appears to be QUITE fertile. It's currently being tested and may be released soon by The Uncommon Rose.
'Softee, Softee' – The legendary Ralph Moore created a seedling named 'Softee' from a cross of his two greatest breeding roses. Kim has been intrigued with 'Softee' for many years. The one seedling he has retained is a self seedling from 'Softee'. 'Softee, Softee' produces clusters of very double, "ragged" blooms in shades of blush to deep pink. The fragrant flowers grow to 2" in size and appear in clusters all over the plant. The bush is thornless with disease-free dark green foliage even with late afternoon overhead watering. Kim has not determined whether it is best considered a shrub, a groundcover or some other bush form but believes it would be "beautiful on a short weeping standard."
'Frances Fisher' - A cross of two of Kim's favorite single Hybrid Teas, 'Frances Ashton' and 'Mrs. Oakley Fisher', this shrub has large, glossy foliage on a spreading bush. Pointed, blush primrose buds slowly open to semi-double, very fragrant, pale lemon ivory blooms, about 3" in diameter. The name is derived from the combination of the names of the parents; however, it is also the name of one of Kim's clients, actress Frances Fisher. Ms. Fisher is understandably excited to learn of the rose with her name and is looking forward to its introduction at Ashdown Roses.
'Inner Wheel X 0-47-19' - One of Ralph Moore's famous breeding roses is called, '0-47-19' (a 1947 'Floradora' X 'R. Wichurana cross). Kim crossed 0-47-19 with Fryer's 'Inner Wheel.' The result is a very healthy and fertile Wichurana rambler with pink and white hand-painted, semi-single 2" blooms. Although considered a once bloomer, it may repeat in mild summer locations. The Uncommon Rose has this rose in test for cold tolerance and other traits.
'April Moon X MORcrest' - The seed parent is a semi-double, pale yellow to white Griffith Buck shrub. The pollen parent is Ralph Moore's first "crested" rose breeder. The result is almost what Kim was hoping for: a plant with large, fragrant, double medium pink to red blooms with exaggerated sepals. He hopes to use it further with other sources of crested sepals.
'Sevilliana X (Basye's Legacy X Graham Thomas)' – This floribunda-type plant produces orange-pink "flecked or stippled" on a three-foot plant, from spring to fall. However, the foliage isn't quite what Kim wishes it was, although it will likely be used for further breeding.
'Orangeade X R. Fedtschenkoana' - R. Fedtschenkoana is a deciduous species rose from Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan with "oddly gray foliage"—another "different" rose which attracted Kim's attention. Although the species has proven difficult to cross with modern roses, Kim chose 'Orangeade', a rose he describes as a rose "you could pollinate with dirt." This healthy cross grows larger than the species--up to seven feet tall and is even more aggressively invasive than the parent. He describes the scent of the species' new growth tips as "Nobel Fir Christmas tree in a room with a hard wood fire." Instead of the single, white flowers of the wild rose, this seedling has double, blush pink ones, and also retains the "linseed oil" scent of the parent. The rose is deciduous like its parent, but its foliage turns from the gray-green to a brilliant gold before being dropped.
'Dotty Louise X R. Fedtschenkoana' - Kim says he was thinking along the same lines with this cross as he was with the preceding one. He theorized correctly that if 'Orangeade' were successful, its offspring—Kim's dark red single-- might also be. Over a half dozen seedlings have been retained from this cross, all of which demonstrate more saturated colors in all of the plant parts. They have all retained the scented foliage and exhibit bloom types from single to fully double, which range in color from blush pink to a dark, reddish purple. Every seedling is deciduous with assorted degrees of autumn color foliage. All but one sucker profusely like the species. Since recent DNA research has indicated that the 'R.fedtschenkoana' was one of the ancestors of the famous re-blooming 'Autumn Damask' (also known as the Rose of Castile), Kim plans to join the genes of the 'Dottie Louise X R. Fedtschenkoana' with the amazing species assortment to be found in 'Bayse's Legacy' to create a more nearly perfect form of 'Autumn Damask'.
'Joycie X Basye's Blueberry' - This is a seedling from Ralph Moore's orange miniature 'Joycie' and Dr. Basye's species hybrid, 'Basye's Blueberry'. Kim had hoped for a thornless rose from this cross since both parents shared this trait. What resulted is a 3' by 3' semi-deciduous bush rose, with sharp, needle prickles, and excellent repeat bloom from spring into winter in mild climates. The flowers are double, deeply cupped, in a mauve-medium red. They are between 3.5" to 4" in diameter and "cut nicely." Paul Barden recently reported in his article, "Progress in My Breeding Program," on his Old Garden Roses and Beyond website that "Kim Rupert has a seedling he is testing that is a cross of 'Joycie' and 'Basye's Blueberry' which has one of the best "old rose" fragrances I have smelled in a modern hybrid."
As you can see, Kim has an impressive number of roses to his credit, but you would never know it to talk to him. Despite his degree in Marketing, he is very low key about "selling" his own creations. It is only later after you leave him and look up a few of the roses that he has mentioned that you realize how many were his own.
Kim's goal is to find unusual, disease-free, drought and heat tolerant, thornless, fragrant roses that can be easily maintained. He is fortunate to live and work in two different climate zones, Santa Clarita and Pacific Palisades, which provide evidence of a rose's capabilities in widely varying environments. He is blessed with the eye of a hawk, a photographic memory, boundless energy, a teacher's willingness to share all that he knows with any interested party, and the patience to help others who do not have all of his talents.
Sometimes it can be difficult to discern which influences have had more impact on his life: The glorious roses to which he's so committed or the astounding list of close friends and rose aficionados with whom he has interacted. There is a synergy between the two forces which is inescapable. Some of his favorite people include Ralph Moore (Kim's mentor), Paul Zimmerman of Ashdown Roses, Bob and Kathy Edberg of the former Limberlost Roses Nursery , Mel Hulse of the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, Paul Barden of The Uncommon Rose, and his good friends Candy and Dean Craig.
His garden has played host to many rose breeders from the U.S. to Great Britain and has also been part of a BBC publication and film production, The Quest for the Rose. He has written, and continues to write, articles for various publications as well as the E-zine located at the www.helpmefind.com/roses website. He has captured his creations—and those of unusually colored and famous roses--on thousands of slides, which he has shared in talks at various rose societies (including the Ventura County Rose Society). He was one of the featured speakers at the Heritage Rose Foundation Conference in El Cerrito this past May. His roses have been introduced by Sequoia Nursery, Ashdown Roses, The Uncommon Rose, and Amity Heritage Roses. The San Jose Heritage Rose Garden contains a large number of Kim's roses.
After almost three decades in retail management, Kim decided to "have fun at making a living" and has been working in the landscaping and nursery business at the beach for the past few years. He rejoices in working with people who love roses, gardening, and the possibilities of things to be, despite a miserable commute each day. Much of Kim's Santa Clarita garden was sacrificed in order to extend another highway, level another hill, and to provide upscale condominiums for a surging urban population. He reports that he will no longer be engaged in hybridizing or propagating roses. This declaration, however, is at odds with his past history and his declared intentions regarding over a half dozen of the roses listed in this article. I'm sure I'm not alone in looking forward to more beautiful and unusual roses from Kim.
My sincere thanks to Kim for sharing hours of his time and volumes of information about the roses he has bred and his reasons for doing so; to Jim Delahanty for his gentle prodding, support and incomparable editing; to Mel Hulse and Ashdown Roses for a list of their current inventory of Kim's roses and pictures of them; and to HelpMeFind.com and their information on Kim's roses that inspired this article and was an indispensable resource for me.
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