Monday, March 30, 2015

Rose Breeding Uncertainty

You just never know which seedlings are going to survive…

A couple of weeks ago I highlighted the first 2 new seedlings to bloom this year.  I was excited about the second seedling and thought for sure it would be a "keeper".  Well, both seedlings are now gone.  The first seedling was culled when there were other better seedlings that bloomed close to it and I could not justify keeping it.  The second seedling just died on it's own.  I am sorry to have lost it since it seemed to be such a nice seedling having good potential.  However, that is just how things work out sometime.

I have already culled several hundred seedlings, but among the new seedlings that are blooming for the first time, I am finding what appear to be other "keepers".  Only time will tell whether any of these survive future cullings, or demise from natural causes…

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Downy Mildew Testing

No, I guess I don't really like downy mildew all that much, but I am thankful when we can get some of it in order to see which seedlings show resistance.  Fortunately, we had a couple days of 90 degree weather after this outbreak to halt the devastation.

The new seedlings that were just moved out of the greenhouse are always the most susceptible (see photo below).

Even some of the very mature roses got hit pretty hard.  Below is a photo of foliage drop from 'Osiana', a cut-flower variety that appears to be very susceptible. 

However, some of the newer seedlings are showing little or no downy mildew.  The first below is a seedling of 'Darlow's Enigma', followed by a seedling 2 generations down from "Basye's Thornless", and a rugosa seedling.

The last photo shown below is of a crested seedling that is surprisingly showing a good amount of downy mildew tolerance.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Second Seedling to Bloom 2015

Well, I think this is probably the first time that I have made two posts on the same day.  I should have waited until I went out to the greenhouse to make my earlier post because there was a second seedling that was blooming that I like much more than the first.  I think that this second seedling may very well turn out to be a "keeper".  It is from a cross of N159-5 X Q62-1.  N159-5 is a seedling from 5 years ago that has been an excellent seed parent for blotches.  It has a complex mix in it's background that includes 'Persian Sunset' and "Tiggle".  Q62-1 came from a cross of 'Eyeconic Pomegranate Lemonade' X "Basye's Thornless".

From here on out, there will be many more seedlings blooming such that in about 3-4 weeks it will be hard to keep up...

First Seedling to Bloom 2015

Wow, this warmer weather has continued to push the new seedlings growth along faster than normal.  Every year I anticipate and try to patiently wait for the first new seedling of the year to bloom.  This year there wasn't much waiting.  I first noticed the first bud about 3 weeks ago and it bloomed yesterday!  This was from a cross between 2 Hulthemia hybrid seedlings.  The blotch is not that large, but because the seedling is branching early and has more than 1 flower bud on the first bloom cycle, I will watch it a bit longer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Basye's Thornless" Seedlings - Burgundy Canes and Glossy Foliage

In 2013, I selected several repeat blooming seedlings of Basye's Thornless that came from crosses that I made in the previous year with a wide variety of other things including some of my Hulthemias and non-Hulthemia minis.  One of my favorite crosses was L56-1 X Basye's Thornless.  L56-1 resulted from a cross of {'Halo Today' X ['Geisha' X ('Tobo' X 'Singin' in the Rain')]} X 'Thrive!'.  It is a single red mini shown here.

I am still keeping about 10 of the seedlings resulting from the L56-1 X Basye's Thornless cross, two are shown below.  The first of the two is quite fertile as a seed parent and there are several new seedlings coming from it this year that will be blooming soon for the first time.

Basye's Thornless conveys cleanliness (good resistance to both black spot and powdery mildew), and fewer thorns to it's offspring.  Also, as seen in other seedlings of it in this link: Winter, Spring or Fall?, it frequently produces seedlings that give added interest when the plants enter dormancy, since many of its seedlings produce colorful hips and striking fall color.  If you haven't already tried it, Basye's Thornless is definitely worth considering as an addition to your mix of rose parents in your rose breeding program.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

First Pollination of 2015

Last week I moved some of my new rose seed parents into the greenhouse.  Having some seed parents in the greenhouse helps me to get an earlier start on pollinations.  Like todays cross, most years the first cross is one of happenstance - I'll use whatever happens to be blooming early.

Last year, I discovered that one of the new seedlings from 2013, it's code name is "Q199-1", sets hips very well and this year because I really liked the seedling (it is one of my better Hulthemias), I decided to plant lots of open pollinated seeds from it.  Note that when testing new prospective seed parents for germination, I always plant the seeds more densely than normal.  The reason is that in my experience, many roses have a very low germination rate.  As seen below, however, this seedling's seeds germinate exceedingly well.  In fact, had I known that germination would be so good, I would not have planted the seeds so close together.  Even so, this gives an opportunity for the more vigorous seedlings to show themselves.

As it turns out, the seedling parent of this group of seedlings would be blooming tomorrow.  So, I decided to use its first bloom for the first pollination of the year.  I had to remove it's petals before the bloom opened so as to prevent self pollination.  It's petals are shown below.

Another seedling, "P15-1", a bright yellow mini (see below) coming from 'First Impression' was also blooming today.  So I took some of it's anthers and let them release their pollen.  The pollen was then applied to the Hulthemia mentioned above.

So then, this was not a cross that I had planned, but who knows, maybe something interesting will come from it.  We'll have to wait until next year to find out.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Waiting for Blooms

All of the new 2014 surviving seedlings have been potted up and are in their places outside of the greenhouse.  I can't wait to see whether some of these will have improved over what they looked like inside the greenhouse last year.

Every year there are some seedlings that germinate very late in the greenhouse just before it is time to clear out all of the seedling beds and replant with new seeds.  Most years I do not keep late germinating seedlings, however this past December I decided to keep about 40 of them (coming from the more desirable crosses).  This is one way to get some earlier blooms.  Below is a photo of a late germinating 2014 seedling with the first bloom of the season.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Roses and the Sigmoid Curve

Total germinations counted on a daily basis, and total culls seem to follow a sigmoid curve in my greenhouse.  Knowing this helps me to anticipate the changing workload of this hobby.  Rose seed germinations in general seem to start out slowly in the first month after planting the seeds in late December to early January, but then really pick up speed in the second month (usually February).  Then in the third month germinations slow down again.  Usually, I can expect 75-80% of germinations in the second month after planting the seeds.

Likewise, my rate of culling follows that same patten but is delayed by 8-10 weeks (which is the time that it takes for newly germinating rose seeds to bloom for the first time).  Though I was very meticulous in record keeping during my first two years after building our greenhouse (counting germinating seedlings almost daily, and counting daily culls), I only count germinations 3 or 4 times per year now, mainly focusing on calculating the germination rates of potential new seed parents.  Below are two charts from my first 2 years of hybridizing in our greenhouse.

This year, as is my usual habit, a portion of my seeds that were planted have come from some of the newer seedlings that have shown a tendency to set hips well.  These seeds came from open pollinated hips (meaning that I didn't spend any time doing cross pollinations on them).  Usually, I will only plant 10 hips worth of seeds to get an idea of about how many hips it takes to get a certain number of seedlings, but for some of the better seedlings, I will plant all of their seeds in hopes that something good will come from them.  Since the germination rates are unknown, I plant the seeds rather densely.  All of the seeds planted on the left side of the seedling bed shown below came from potential new untested seed parents, coming from open pollinated hips.  You can see that some areas seem to have no germinations (like the uppermost area on the left), while other areas are showing excellent germination.

A closer view of the more densely germinating area above is shown in the photo immediately below that was taken last week, while the second photo below is of the same area that was taken yesterday.  The warmer weather this past week has caused the seedlings to sprout like crazy.  During the first month after planting, there was a total of 2,059 germinations.  Over the last week there have been more than double that number of new germinations.

This area was planted with open pollinated seeds from a seedling code-named Q199-1.   I am very pleased that this particular seedling has an excellent germination rate.  It was the result of a cross between 2 of my favorite Hulthemia seed parents, and seems to have a better plant and blotch than either of its parents.

I'm looking forward to the first blooms, but it looks like I had better expect to be busy in about 8-10 weeks…..

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hardwood Rose Cuttings Experiment

I had never taken such late softwood cuttings for mist propagation as I did this last September.  The cuttings were placed under mist on September 29, 2014.  Below they are shown with evidence of excellent rooting when I pulled them out for transplanting into pots 2 days ago.

So, I thought, if roses can propagate this well under mist late in the year, I wonder if I can propagate hardwood cuttings under mist in the wintertime.  It is fairly easy to get hardwood rose cuttings to root outdoors in the wintertime in our climate, but you have to wait until the following winter to dig them up for transplanting.  If they root well under mist, I should be able to transplant them in early summer from the plug trays.  I had an unused tray on the misting table that I decided to use today.  I ignored the moss growing on the surface of several of the cells and just pushed the cuttings in.  I will report on the outcome of this experiment in a later post…

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winter, Spring or Fall?

Well officially, it is wintertime.  We have only had 4 days with temperatures below freezing, with the coldest day being 28ยบ F.  The forecast for next week is for springtime temperatures in the lower 70's.

With the milder weather, many of the roses are still exhibiting nice fall colors.

And, fall colors where roses are concerned, would not be complete without rose hip photos.

So, here we are in the middle of winter, with fall colors, springtime temperatures and new sprouting roses.  Soon we will have blooms.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Let The Germinations Begin!

Yeah!  All the rose seeds have been planted.  Let the germinations begin!

A lot of work went into getting the seedling beds ready for planting, and then more work in getting all of the seeds planted.  Soon, instead of the "white" of the perlite being the most prominent color in the greenhouse, it will be the "green" of the new rose seedlings.  

The most fun time of the year is about to begin…

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Last Blooms of the Year 2014

It is that time of the year again - time to clean out the greenhouse seedling benches.  So far we have potted up the survivors from two of the seedling benches, and two more to go.

Although the seedlings are not their best this time of the year, here are a few photos of the last seedlings that will be potted up.  The first two photos are of a couple of larger roses.  I am working on trying to produce cleaner hybrid tea and floribunda type roses.  They are from a cross of 'Gemini' X [('Marmalade Skies' X 'Baby Love') X 'First Impression'].

The next photo is of one of the better striped Hulthemias.  I am still not completely happy with this group, but we are making some progress.

Then finally to finish, shown below are photos of 2 other Hulthemia seedlings.  They both have 'Blue For You' as the pollen parent.  I am very pleased with the cleanliness and vigor that 'Blue For You' is passing along to it's offspring.  If you breed roses, consider bringing 'Blue For You' into your breeding program.  Thank you Kim Rupert for suggesting this one to me, and thank you Peter James for developing such a healthy wonderful rose.  The first seedling is nearly thornless.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hulthemia Persica Seedlings (Part 3)

Since I did not baby the Hulthemia persica seedlings, they did not fare that well.  Only 4 have survived so far.  None of them were very vigorous.  If they were rose seedlings they would have all been culled for lack of vigor.  However, I was very pleased to see that one of the Hulthemia persica seedlings was putting out some root suckers.  The suckers seem more vigorous than the rest of the plant.  I suspect that the species in the wild builds up a root system that ultimately puts out new growth from root suckers each year. I have never seen Hulthemia persica in its native home, but would like to in order to better understand its natural growth pattern.

Shown below on the right is one of the original seedlings with the 2 suckers coming up from its roots seen on the left.

After digging them up, it is easy to see how long the suckers can be.  I can imagine that this characteristic is an adaptation for survival in its usual desert environment.

In addition to the Hulthemia persica seeds, other non-rose seeds that I planted this year in the seedling benches included crape myrtle, strawberry, lilac and blueberry seeds.

Below are seedlings of open pollinated Pink Lemonade™ blueberry seeds.

I also planted regular blueberry seeds coming from several of my favorite blueberry varieties.  These had already been potted up as seen below.

Most of the pots contain several blueberry seedlings.  I am hoping that a few of them will produce some blueberries this next summer.  The most vigorous, fruit producing seedlings will be planted in separate pots next year.