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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
This rose is being registered with the International Denomination "spRussCollins". It will also carry the name 'Russ Collins'. It is a compact, bushy floribunda coming from a cross of 'Pearl Sanford' X 'Thrive!'.
The variety was donated for naming as part of a fund raiser auction to the nonprofit organization Children to Love (an international ministry to orphans). The person winning the bid wanted to name the rose in honor of her late husband, Russ Collins, who had been a Vietnam Veteran. When I suggested to her that the rose also be given the name "Honoring Vietnam Veterans", she loved the idea.
This rose had been under evaluation for introduction by Star Roses for several years. Ultimately, they decided not to introduce it. Nevertheless, Star Roses was very kind to donate several plants to the family. Excess plants were given to a local nursery and will be available in Bakersfield next year.
So yes, this post is about an important French connection. The connection happened about a year ago when pollen was collected from an interesting species rose in a French rose garden (see post Using Unknown Pollen). The rose was labeled Rosa arvensis. However, several rose breeders familiar with that species did not think that the specimen was correctly identified. Nevertheless, to me it appeared to be the cleanest and most floriferous rose in the species garden. Pollen was collected from about 10 flower buds to make crosses. At that time, I did not know whether the species was remontant or not, or whether it would even be fertile. From about 100 pollinations onto 6 different seed parents, 820 seeds were collected and planted this past January. Presumably due to an incompatibility of the species with my seed parents, germination was significantly reduced as seen below. On the right side of the seedling bench the same seed parent was planted in groups where various pollens were used. The "Rosa arvensis" seedlings are in the space with the fewest germinations.
After the seedlings started to grow, it was apparent that most of the seedlings would be nonremontant and would not bloom for another 1 or more years.
Sprinkled here and there however, were a few seedlings that were forming flower buds. The orange and pink seedlings seen in the above photo are not seedlings of "Rosa arvensis", but are from nearby other crosses. The first "Rosa arvensis" seedling to bloom is shown below.
As the nonremontant seedlings continued to grow, it was very apparent that they would soon overgrow and smother the few seedlings that were blooming, so these were removed and planted into pots. They will be evaluated next spring and the best of these will be kept for future breeding.
With the nonremonant seedlings removed, there will be plenty of room for the repeat blooming "Rosa arvensis" seedlings to grow and develop.
Below are photos of blooms of four other repeat blooming seedlings of "Rosa arvensis". Knowing that the seed parents were orange and dark red, it is clear that the creamy white color coming from "Rosa arvensis" is a strong trait.
I was very glad to find that a remontant gene could be recovered from the "Rosa arvensis" pollen parent. There are some early signs that a couple of these will be floriferous. I will post photos of them next spring.
Sweet Minnie, writing about a dog, not a rose this time, a special dog, our family dog.
You've had such a full life ever since you were rescued many years ago. You grew up right along side our kids. Always the alpha dog, you loved people, but you didn't get along well with other dogs. However, with some effort, you accepted Zelda the cat and Dusty the horse into the family, and even grew fond of Lola, our son and daughter-in-law's Maltipoo. An adventurer at heart, we lost you a few years ago and after 3 weeks, we thought that you would be lost forever. But, to my wife Heather's great relief and joy, you were returned to us on Mothers Day.
This morning, as I had an early start today, the only one up with me at 5:30 AM as I prepared my morning smoothie was you. Your appetite has always remained strong and you were eager and hopeful to receive any gift that you might be given. Your alert and knowing eyes seemed sharp as ever. Before leaving for work, knowing that today was to be the day, I was very glad to find fresh carrots in the refrigerator. Carrots have always been one of your favorite treats. You were visibly excited with anticipation when you saw me pull a carrot out. Obediently, you laid down as commanded to obtain the prize. Over the last few months, your walking and positioning has become progressively more awkward and difficult so that you sort of collapsed down onto the floor to get into a lying position. I placed the carrot in front of you so that you didn't have to get back up because getting up from a lying position has become so much more burdensome for you recently. You tried, but were unable to trap the carrot between your paws, as was your custom to eat it, but you were able to hold it down with one paw and seemed to relish it just as much as always. When you saw me pick up my keys to leave, you stumbled getting up. Following me to the door, you stumbled again once or twice before getting there so that I could let you out. I think that you've always liked the early, cooler mornings as much as I do. Before leaving, I held your head in my hands, and looking into your eyes, said goodbye.
Sproul Roses by Design has offered some of our roses for naming by the highest bidder at several local fundraiser auctions for nonprofits over the last 10 years. Our newest rose that is up for auction this Friday is shown here.
More details about the dinner event and how to get tickets can be found on Facebook at To Africa, With Love.