Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Springtime 2017! Lilac Update

The lilac seedlings are just starting to bloom.  There are four seedlings this year that are blooming and this is the 4th year since I planted the seeds.  The first seedling below is my favorite.  It bloomed for the first time this year, but bloomed the earliest.  The bloom is more profuse and the flowerets are larger than all of the others, and it has a pleasing lilac fragrance.  A bonus, I took notes on it during it's second year and it had the best heat tolerance with regard to it's foliage.  I will try propagating it this year.

This next seedling was the only one that bloomed last year.  It is my second favorite.

The seedling bearing the smallest clusters is shown below.

This last one is pretty and fragrant too, but the flowerets are incomplete with respect to petal number.  I will probably give this one away to a good home.  Let me know if you are interested!  :)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

First seedling bud of 2017

The seedlings are continuing to germinate and some of the earliest ones are developing their first flower buds.  It won't be long until the first 2017 seedlings start to bloom!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Alaska Rose Blooming in March!

Tonight it is supposed to get down to -30ยบ F in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Meanwhile, a cutting taken this past July from a wild rose that was growing in Fairbanks, is blooming in my greenhouse today.  I think that this rose is probably happier here than the original rose is under the snow and cold of Fairbanks tonight.

Can you guess what I did with those anthers?!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Getting 2017 in Gear!

Yesterday, I cleaned up the parent area of the greenhouse and moved in the new parents for 2017.  Most of the plants are quite small, so I will have to do the majority of my rose breeding outside of the greenhouse.  Even so, I am hopeful to get some good crosses on these plants.

The seedlings are really starting to pop too.  I noticed the first 12 sprouts two weeks ago.  Then last week there were 619.  Today there were 2,520 so it won't be long until the greenhouse will be full of new seedlings all in bloom.

Shown below is the first rose bud forming in the greenhouse.  This is not of a seedling, but is of a cutting of a wild rose that I brought back from Fairbanks, Alaska this past July.  It is probably a Rosa acicularis since I think that it is the only wild rose that grows there.  I may have to learn how to freeze pollen since I don't think I will have other roses in bloom when it opens.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Happy Birthday Mr. Ralph Moore!

Remembering Mr. Ralph Moore today on his birthday.  He would be 110.  He was rose breeder-innovator extraordinaire, and mentor to so many.  I will forever be grateful for the time that he spent with me.  Happy Birthday Mr. Moore!

Below, Mr. Moore is showing my son Silas, how to chip bud graft roses.

Mr. Moore's beautiful rose garden in Visalia.  I will have to visit again this coming spring.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

In the Bleak Mid-Winter, Lo, How a Rose e're Blooming...

Blooming roses are hard to find this time of year.  The seedlings in our unheated greenhouse have all been pruned back and are ready for transplanting into pots, that be moved outside.

There are only a few blooms left.

Soon these too will be gone and we will enter a bleak time at the Sproul rose farm when no rose blooms are to be found.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to All! 2016

A taste of our year…

Claire dove into academic and social life at Biola University and is completely happy there. She’s studying chemistry and wishes she had more time to practice surfing.

Silas joined the pastoral staff at RiverLakes Church as the Jr. High Director. He leads worship occasionally and continues his undergrad studies online. 

Carissa landed a great job at Tycor Title helping homebuyers through escrow. 

Nathan works as a high demand private tutor while awaiting his orders from the Air Force. 

Luke has travelled the country with Vivent Technologies. He was able to relocate to North Carolina to be near his girl, Jenni, for part of the year.

Heather teaches Sunday School and volunteers with Children to Love, International.

Jim continues to work at Kaiser Permanente, and helped open a new clinic in Tehachapi.  

This photo was taken in front of Jim’s childhood home in Fairbanks, Alaska! We all tagged along to his 40th high school reunion and saw beautiful places we’ve heard of for so long. 

In the fall Jim and Heather visited Walla Walla, WA to take in the fair and reunite with Heather’s fair court sisters of 1981. It was good to see many loved ones. 

We pray your new year be marked by peace and the hope that comes from God’s goodness!

With Love,

From the Sproul's

Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016 Basye's Second Generation Seedlings

I am surprised at how quickly bloom form and color has improved in just 2 generations from Basye's Thornless (AKA Basye's Legacy and Commander Gillette).  Since Basye's Thornless is a pink, 5-petalled, once blooming rose, I thought that it would be several generations before I would see these sort of offspring.  I am getting fully double blooms, colors other than pink, and some with form.  I'm glad I started using it again! 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Blue Rose, it Starts with a Dream

The quest for the blue rose probably began with the first rose hybridizer.  I suspect that each rose breeder since then has wondered whether it would ever be possible.  

During many of my talks with Mr. Ralph Moore, my most important mentor in rose breeding, he would talk about creation having it's origins in God's imagination: that before God created, He first imagined His creation.  Mr. Moore believed that mankind, being created in God's image, naturally needed to use imagination in the same way: that he or she needed to first be able to clearly envision in his or her own mind the thing being made or invented, before they could ever hope for it to happen.

Many rose lovers have voiced that they would not be interested in a blue rose, saying things like, it would be gaudy or unnatural, or that it wouldn't fit in with the landscape.  Whenever I thought of a blue rose, for some reason, I always thought of it being a dark blue color.  In my imagination, a dark blue rose was never as beautiful as a dark red rose.  As such, the quest for the blue rose had never been very strong for me. 

Last night I had a dream about the blue rose.  In my dream it was a light, pure, sky blue color.  It was a true blue rose without any suggestion of lavender.  It was beautiful.  I can imagine it now.  I wonder if it will ever happen.  At least now I can hope!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I Have the Best Name for This One!

The photo below was taken today.  This is one of my favorite new mini seedlings from 2016.  I have just the right name for it too!  Unfortunately, I won't be able to share it until it is introduced.... sorry.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

New Pollen Parents for 2016

The pollinations are all finished for the year (finished by the end of May).  Even so, I wanted to highlight a couple of new seedlings that were brought into the breeding program this year.  R241-1, a mini, is the first one shown below.  It was a new seedling in 2014 and comes from a cross of O352 X 'Blue For You'.  You can see images of O352 in a prior post: Hulthemia Fertility - Update on Seedling "O352".  Even though the blotch is not as heat stable as the seed parent's, I feel very lucky to have discovered this seedling.  It seems to have picked up excellent disease resistance from 'Blue For You'.  I used it only as a pollen parent this year, but am pleased to find that it is also setting lots of OP hips.  I will check it's germination rate next spring and if satisfactory, will use it as a seed parent next year.

The next seedling was also used as a pollen parent this year in hopes of getting some better bright colored Hulthemias.  This one carries the code name "Q195-3" and was a new seedling in 2013.  It is the product of two of my Hulthemia seedlings and has 'First Impression' in it's lineage.  It is a floribunda vs. a "shrub" rose. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Saturday, July 2, 2016

2016 Pollen Cups

Prior to this year, I have reused my pollen cups for many years.  When I found them in bulk this year on Amazon, I thought "why not splurge and buy some?"  So instead of washing out all of the old pollen from the cups this year, I will be putting them into the recycling bin.  The list of pollens used this year continues onto the back of the sheet of paper seen below.

These new cups should last me awhile…..

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Blueberry Update

The blueberry project, otherwise know as "my first attempt to raise blueberries from seeds", started in the fall of 2013.  I had been growing blueberries for 3 or 4 years, and decided that it might be fun to "grow your own" from seeds.  I collected blueberries that had fallen onto the ground from the varieties that were growing well in my garden.  They were then placed in the freezer for a couple of months.  In January 2014, just before planting my rose seeds, the berries were taken out of the freezer and the seeds were extracted by using a blender.  I rinsed them several times and recovered quite a lot of blueberry seeds.  These were then planted in a small area in one of my rose seedling beds.

In December 2014, about 50-75 blueberry seedlings were transplanted into pots and placed outside the greenhouse.  Most pots held 10 or more seedling blueberries.  They mostly just grew in 2015.  This year, is the first time that several of them have bloomed (see Blooms and Fruit Coming Soon!).  Most of the seedlings that bloomed have produced berries - yeah!

First they were green, and then became pink.

Some of them ripened earlier than the parent berry bushes.

The early ripening seedlings seemed to produce the largest berries.  Shown below is one of the seedlings compared to one of the parents.  The larger berries are from one of the best seedlings.  The green ones (parent variety) in the lower right portion of the photo are in the same plane as the larger seedling berries for a size comparison.

There's not much better than picking your own blueberries from your own seedling bushes.

The first bowl of seedling blueberries is shown below - tasty!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Random 2016 Seedlings with Personality

A few of the newest seedlings that are showing some personality and promise.  This first one I am nicknaming "My Eyes are on YOU!"   ;) 

The next two seedlings are showing good color intensity.  The orange yellow one almost glows.  It is a Hulthemia cross, but doesn't show a blotch.  Even so, I'm keeping it for it's bold color.  The purple one is from a cross of 'Midnight Blue' X "Blue For You'.  I have four from this cross that I am watching.  The purple is more intense than what the photo shows (purples are difficult to capture correctly).

The last seedling shown below, is the least exciting color-wise  but might have the most promise since it has 'Knock Out' on one side and one of my cleanest seed parents on the other side. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

More Salvaged and Rescued Seedlings

The first seedling shown below was also salvaged from the neglected seedlings on the west side of the greenhouse (see Salvaged Treasures).  This seedling was transplanted 2 1/2 years ago into a 5-inch pot and then forgotten.  During the intervening years the majority of the seedlings in that area perished due to neglect and inconsistent watering. This one is a true survivor and may prove to have better drought resistance than most roses.  Notice in the second photo all the stems that sprouted from the dead original stem.

I think that it looks happier in the 5 gallon pot shown below.

The next seedling is at the other end of the spectrum.  It was accidentally culled from the seedling bench last year after I had already tagged it for keeping.  Since I didn't have time to make cuttings, I just stuck it into the ground under my misting table and hoped that it would survive.  Well it did survive (and bloomed!) despite the lower light conditions and almost constant water on the leaves from the intermittent misting. 

I think that this one is also going to be happier in a pot.  It will be interesting to see how much more it blooms under better light conditions.