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. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Introducing 'Honoring Vietnam Veterans'

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.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The French Connection

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.