Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sister Seedling to 'Family Holiday'

I took this photo today, and I hesitate mentioning that it is a sister seedling to 'Family Holiday' because it appears to be much showier with regard to color.  This rose was also from the 2012 batch, but was very slow to grow because I had planted another seedling in with it when it first was transplanted out of the greenhouse (I often combine 2 or 3 seedlings into a single pot so that I do not have to use so many pots.)  Consequently, due to its small size, it was not even considered as a contender for the ARS Convention.  That other seedling was culled from the pot late last year and has allowed this seedling to thrive and show its stuff.  If it continues to do well, it might be released at a future date.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Few 2013 Hulthemias Seen Outside

Each spring, I look forward to seeing how the surviving seedlings, from the year before, perform outside of the greenhouse.  There are always surprises.  Some seedlings do better than expected, while others really fall apart badly from weather and disease.  Here are a few that have looked good.

The first photo below is of a miniature that blooms quite a lot.  The bloom on the left is the older "faded" bloom.  I think that the color seems to improve as it ages.  The blooms hold for several days and hold that aged color without browning.  It seems to want to sort of flow, so I am wondering how it might look in a hanging basket.

The next seedling is a cross of 'Midnight Blue' X "N159-5", a Hulthemia seedling.  It is actually much more purple than the photos shows.  I suspect that when the plant fills out, it will get rather large.

The next 2 seedlings are Hulthemia crosses with 'Darlow's Enigma'.  Both appear to have early signs of having good floriferousness similar to 'Darlow's Enigma'.  My favorite so far is the second seedling below.  It has very dark foliage to contrast with the white blooms. In the last photo, there is a new shoot having 65 buds on it.  Looks like a good sign for lots of blooming power.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Introducing 'Family Holiday'

One of our new seedlings from the 2012 batch is being introduced at the American Rose Society's 2014 Spring Convention in San Diego, California.  The convention will take place from May 8th to May 12th.  

Linda Clark contacted me about donating a rose for the Convention almost two years ago.    Bill DeVor of Greenheart Farms agreed to do the propagating and growing of the rose.  There were 2 seedlings that were offered: "P144-1" and "P163-1".  Ultimately "P144-1" was chosen by Bill DeVor due to it's ease of propagation and vigorous growth.

This rose is a seedling of 'Pearl Sanford' X 'First Impression'.  It is a miniflora with petals of a creamy yellow blend and light pink edging.  For those interested in rose breeding, it makes an excellent seed parent - sets hips well and has a good germination rate.

Introducing 'Family Holiday'

Come to the Convention to get one!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


From my earliest memories of wanting to breed roses, I remember pouring over rose books to select possible prospective parents for my breeding program.  One of the first roses that caught my eye was 'Euphrates'.  At the time, I had no idea what Hulthemia hybrids were.  I only knew that I was disappointed to read in it's description that 'Euphrates' was infertile.

Last year I was so excited to receive a rooted piece of 'Euphrates' from Kim Rupert.  After I planted it, all of the foliage died.  I thought that maybe the smaller roots may not have been able to support it's growth.  I had already failed twice in trying to root cuttings of 'Euphrates', so the thought hit me that I would just simply not be able to grow 'Euphrates'.  I had wanted to try it in hybridizing after hearing that it had been used by others to produce seedlings, even though I had previously read that it was infertile.  I was glad that I kept that piece with a root on it because after a few more days, it started to put out some new growth.  Although it didn't bloom last year, it has developed buds this year, and just started blooming yesterday.

Somehow, I had thought that the blotch would be much larger, but I suppose that even 'Euphrates's blotch was dependent on several variables just like the modern Hulthemia hybrids that I have grown.  This bloom and 2 others have been crossed with hybrid Hulthemia pollen in hopes that better compatibility will exist than when crossing with regular roses.

It may just be an unproductive exercise, however, I would like to see if 'Euphrates' will be able to bring any other interesting traits to the Hulthemia hybrids.  Below are photos of some of the new 2013 seedlings that are just now blooming for the first time outside of the greenhouse.  Blotch size and intensity continue to increase.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hulthemia Persica Seedlings (Part 1)

These most ancient of roses, Hulthemia persica, from Persia (Iran), have now begun to grow here in Bakersfield.  Though their cotyledons appear rose like, their first true leaves do not.  They are not compound like roses (having many leaflets), but just have a single leaf coming directly from the stems.  It hasn't taken them very long to germinate and grow!

As can be seen in the lower left seedling, powdery mildew is already affecting some of these seedlings. Germination has been fair so far with 16/73 seeds sprouting (22% germination rate).  This is very similar to the average germination rate that I see in rose seeds (varies widely depending on the rose seed parent).  I wonder how many years it will take these seedlings to bloom?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hulthemia Persica Seeds (Part 2)

In order to rehydrate the Hulthemia persica seeds, I decided to wrap them in a damp paper towel, place them into a zip-lock bag and put them in the refrigerator.  After about 2 weeks, I took the seeds out of the paper towel and found that the paper towel had been darkly stained from the seeds.

The seeds were removed from the paper towel and placed back into the zip-lock bag and put back in the refrigerator for another 6-8 weeks.  Upon removal from the bag, much to my excitement, I found that one of the seeds had germinated!  I knew then that at least some of the seeds were viable.  This was great news.

Additionally, I noticed that the seeds were covered in a yellowish green material, something that I had never seen on rose seeds.  I suppose that it was a fungus.

Next, I divided the seeds into two groups: one group (43 seeds) was planted into the seedling benches along with the rose seeds; and the other group (30 seeds) was planted into a sandy soil mix taken from the native soil in my back yard (5 seeds per pot).

The story will continue…..

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hulthemia persica Seeds! (Part 1)

Last April I received the most amazing gift - Hulthemia persica seeds from Iran!  They came to me by way of Dr. David Byrne of Texas A&M University.  The seeds were brought to the U.S. by doctoral candidate Mahnaz Kiani.  She is working on a genomics project on sorghum with Dr. Patricia Klein.

Since it was already after my usual planting time and having already had experience germinating 'Tigris' seeds that were more than a year old, I thought that it would be prudent to put the envelop containing the blackened seed pods into the refrigerator for safekeeping until I could plant the seeds along with my rose seeds in 2014.

This is what the contents looked like when I opened the clear plastic bag last November.

The hips looked almost like they had been scorched and were completely dry and crispy. It made me wonder whether any of the seeds would be viable.

Seen close-up below, you can imagine how "unfriendly" the hips were.  I had to be careful removing the seeds so as not to puncture my fingers!

I noticed that unlike rose seeds, Hulthemia persica seeds were more uniform in shape and size.  Additionally, the seed covers appeared rather smooth.  Approximately 20 hips yielded 119 seeds.  73 of these seeds were placed in a damp paper towel and returned to the refrigerator in a zip-lock bag for further cold stratification.

The story will continue…..

Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 Sprouts!

Getting such a late start this year I was very happy to find that the rose seeds had already begun sprouting yesterday.  I counted about 30 brand new sprouts, and was very pleased to see that the cross with the most germinations, 12 of them, came from one of my newer Hulthemia seedlings (new seedling in 2011 code-named "O-04") that was crossed with 'Blue for You' pollen.  O-04 is a complex Hulthemia cross that has 'Eyeconic Lychee Lemonade' as a grandparent.  Despite the late start, I think that we should have as many seedlings as usual.  The main downside is that they will start to bloom at the peak of hybridizing season.  Should be exciting!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 Seeds Planted in New Seedling Beds!

I didn't think that it would ever happen, but it finally did!  All of the new seedling beds were built, filled with fresh new potting soil and planted.  So thankful for all of the help from the kids and my wife.  Should have first blooms in about 8 weeks.  Better late than never!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Seedling Benches, Starting Over

I suppose that 17 years is plenty long enough for seedling benches made out of wood, wire fencing and screen to last.  For the past 3 or 4 years in fact, we have been propping up rotting 2" X 4"s on one of the seedling benches that has been threatening to collapse.  So this year we decided to rebuild all of them and replenish them with brand new potting soil.  Each raised bed is 20 feet long by 5 feet wide and all of the boards are put together with screws so as to increase sturdiness.

Two down, two to go!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Some Late Season Blooms

The colors on the seedlings always seem more saturated during cooler weather.  Here are a few Hulthemia seedlings that I think are some of the best from this season.

First, is a seedling of 'Midnight Blue' X "mixed Hulthemia pollen".  It is really that dark purple, and it has the blotch type that bleeds into the rest of the petal.

The next seedling is a vigorous mini Hulthemia coming from a cross between 2 Hulthemia seedlings "N159-5" X "O117-5".  The pollen parent is a half-sister Hulthemia seedling of 'Thrive!', so I am hoping that it will have better disease resistance.  It is setting OP hips, so I am checking its germination this year to decide whether or not to use it in crosses next year.

Below is another Hulthemia that I am hopeful for improved disease resistance.  It is from a cross of 'Darlow's Enigma' X "mixed Hulthemia pollen".

This next seedling is from a cross of "L56-1" (a clean mini seedling of 'Thrive!'), it was crossed with "M62".  "M62" was one of my cleanest earlier Hulthemia seedlings that exhibited a good heat stable blotch, but lacked vigor and was very thorny.  This new seedling has good vigor, but got the thorns of it's pollen parent.

The last seedling shown below is from a cross of 'Eyeconic Pomegranate Lemonade' X mixed "Knock Out" pollen (I mixed 'Knock Out', 'Double Knock Out', 'Sunny Knock Out' and 'Milwaukee Calatrava").  It inherited great blotch heat stability from the seed parent, and hopefully will prove to have better than average disease resistance coming from the pollen parent.  We will know more next year when it is grown outside.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

2013 Rose Breeding Season Winding Down

The rose breeding season is quickly winding down for 2013.  All of the hips have been harvested, most of the lesser desirable seedlings culled, and seedling beds are being prepped for the removal of the surviving seedlings.

The weather has continued to cool such that the Hulthemia blotches are at their darkest.  In fact, the blotch of the seedling highlighted in the Invisible Revealed post, where I mentioned that for the first time in that seedling's life that I was finally able to see that it was a Hulthemia, has continued to darken.

With the petals removed, it is very easy to see the blotch now.  It is amazing to think that as a young seedling, the blotch was not evident at all.

The above seedling is expected to have rather larger blooms as can be seen when compared to other Hulthemia seedings as shown below.  All of those in the following photo have some "clean genes" that will hopefully help to clean up the group from black spot.  The larger white seedling and smaller white seedling both have mixed Knock Out pollen (I collected and mixed pollen coming from 'Knock Out', 'Double Knock Out', 'Sunny Knock Out', and 'Milwaukee Calatrava') as their pollen parent.  The smaller white seedling's seed parent was 'Eyeconic Pomegranate Lemonade' to which it owes it's superior heat stable blotch.  The thornless coral pink seedling in the upper left corner is from a cross of "O352-1" X "Basye's Thornless".  "O352-1" has been highlighted elsewhere in this blog (The Largest Blotch - A Deadend and Hulthemia Fertility - Update on Seedling "O352").  The yellow seedling is the result of a complex Hulthemia seedling crossed with a very clean Hulthemia half-sister of 'Thrive!'.

Though most of the culling is done, about half of the remaining seedlings will have to go.  As the blotches darken, it is more difficult to cull seedlings with good blotches.  I'm not sure whether this next one will survive the last round of culling.....

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Moving Toward Cleaner Minis

Miniature roses are not known for their cleanliness.  There is much room for improving the health of this class of roses.  This has been a goal of mine for several years, but initially I was only addressing powdery mildew resistance.  One of my favorite mini seedlings is named 'Pearl Sanford'.  Although it has very good powdery mildew resistance, like most minis, it is very susceptible to black spot.

Therefore, 'Pearl Sanford', which happens to be an excellent seed parent, has been crossed with two lines of roses that have very good black spot resistance.  The first shown below is a cross of 'Pearl Sanford' X "Basye's Thornless" (aka "Basye's Legacy").  This is a brand new seedling from this year.  It only has 8-10 petals, but has taller buds than most "Basye's Thornless" seedlings and it's petals unfurl nicely.  It sets hips very readily and this coming year I will be testing it's germination rate.

The second seedling is a cross of 'Pearl Sanford' X 'Double Knock Out'.  I didn't expect to get much from this cross, however, this seedling has very full blooms with fairly good form.  It gets some powdery mildew when conditions are right, but does not get severe infections.  It appears to not set hips, however, it produces at least some pollen.

I am hoping that by combining these two lines, I will be able to get an exhibition mini that combines good powdery mildew resistance with better horizontal black spot resistance.  Since I will not be making crosses between these two until next Spring, the first seedlings will not sprout until 2015.  This hobby has a way of developing patience!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Invisible Revealed

Last year I made several crosses onto some of my best Hulthemia seed parents with many of Will Radler's black spot resistant varieties - 'Knock Out', 'Double Knock Out', 'White Out', 'Sunny Knock Out' and 'Milwaukee Calitrava'.  Among these, were many fewer seedlings exhibiting blotches than is usual, and that made me think that somehow these cleaner varieties were "resistant" to exhibiting the blotch. 

As previously mentioned in this blog, the Hulthemia blotch intensifies in cooler weather and as expected for October, we have been having much cooler weather over the last month.  Well, what was invisible is now visible, albeit extremely subtle.  I kept this seedling not for its blotch (because I didn't think that it had one), but for its cleanliness and floriferousness.  I had thought that it might make an improved 'White Out'.  In fact I was disappointed when it first bloomed and didn't have a blotch.  Now, in the cooler weather, if you look very closely, you can see that it does in fact have a blotch and will therefore be able to pass along the blotch in further breeding.

I'm glad that I kept this seedling.  Would you keep it?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

First Harvest and Heat Stability Revisited

Well another harvest season has begun!  The hips on my earliest ripening seed parents have turned color and started to fall, indicating that the hips are ripe and that they had better be picked or lost!

I think that our warm temperatures have helped to hasten ripening.  Our coolest daytime high temperature in the last 34 days has been 94º F.  Twenty four of these have been 100º F. or hotter.  This has provided ample opportunity to assess the blotch heat stability of the newest Hulthemias from 2012 when grown outside the greenhouse.  The three below are real standouts.  Photos were taken in the last 2 or 3 days.