Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Decimation at the Sproul Rose Farm

It had to be done.  Over the years, despite continuous culling, the number of survivors grew too much.  Most years, during this time of the year when we are getting ready to pot up the new surviving seedlings, I will select 200-250 of the older outdoor potted seedlings for culling (we try to give most of them away).  This year however, instead of selecting roses to cull, I decided to select about 200 of the best roses to keep.

We have a total of 18 watering lines outdoors, each line waters 38-40 pots.  This year we cleared 11 of the 18 lines in order to make room for new rose seedlings.

Below are some of the older roses that I selected to keep.

The remaining roses were moved around to open up complete lines so that the new 2014 seedlings can be kept altogether.

The Sproul Rose Farm is looking very differently from what it looked like a couple of years ago at peak bloom (see Peak Bloom at the Sproul Rose Farm).

Shown below is one of the newest seedlings (from 2014) that will be potted up and planted outside in the next few weeks.  Culling is one of the hardest things to do when hybridizing roses, especially of the longstanding survivors.  Fortunately, most of them will find new homes.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Blogging Again

The roses grow, the spider mites invade, the greenhouse has to be sprayed, the weather is way too hot, the maintenance is overwhelming, and all of the rest of life goes on…..

I've missed blogging.

This post will be short, but wanted to share a photo of my best seedling coming from 'Eyes for You', used as a pollen parent.  The seed parent was a Hulthemia seedling of mine.  This new seedling has strong traits coming from it's pollen parent, including excellent fragrance.  It appears to be quite floriferous and clean to powdery mildew.  I am looking forward to seeing how it does outside next spring.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Smooth Mini Hulthemia

I'm not sure whether this seedling is a "final product", but I like it none the less.  Although I have had another thornless mini Hulthemia (see Smooth Hulthemias), this one has the vigor and continuous blooming power that the other seedling lacked.  Shortly after this seedling started blooming, it was clear that it would be a smaller blooming mini and since there were 3 larger blooming seedlings in close proximity, I thought that I would need to move it to protect it from getting crowded out by the other seedlings.  This seedling has instead turned out to be the more vigorous seedling and has somewhat crowded out the larger flowered Hulthemias that were flanking it.

The stems are quite smooth and free of prickles.

Interestingly, this is also only the second Hulthemia seedlings that I have noticed that has these "alligator skin" type hips.  Unlike the other seedling (see Unusual Hulthemia Hips), this seedling does not appear to have any dieback.  All of the growth remains green and healthy.

This seedling has been in near continuous bloom almost from it's first flower.  Even though this is a new 2014 seedling, I have begun using it in crosses with other mixed Hulthemia pollen.  This seedling was itself the result of a cross using mixed Hulthemia pollen, but because the mixed pollen came from new 2013 seedlings, I can make a good guess that it's pollen parent was a "Basye's Thornless" Hulthemia seedling, probably from 'Eyeconic Pomegranate Lemonade' X "Basye's Thornless".

This seedling's seed parent is also the seed parent of the other thornless seedling mentioned above and figures strongly into the genetics of some of my better Hulthemias.  It is code named "N159-5", and came from the following complex cross: <{Halo Today X [Geisha X (Tobo X Singin' in the Rain)]} X {[('Orangeade' X 'Abraham Darby') X 'Midnight Blue'] X 'Persian Sunset'}> X <{[('Orangeade' X 'Abraham Darby') X 'Midnight Blue'] X ('Geisha' X 'Baby Love')} X "mixed Hulthemia pollen".  The "mixed Hulthemia pollen" in this case had as it's source either 'Persian Sunset' or 'Tiggle'.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Similar, But Worlds Apart

It has been 11 years ago now that I raised my first repeat blooming, fully remontant Hulthemia seedling.  At that time it was exceedingly rare to see any blotches on the seedlings in my greenhouse.  Now, in 2014, more than 2/3's of the seedlings that I am raising are Hulthemia hybrids.  Most of the Hulthemia seedlings that I am culling now are better than those first remontant Hulthemias.  

Here (as seen in the photo below) are the seedling benches as they appeared this morning.  As mentioned, most of the seedlings are Hulthemias.  During this time of the year, after the bulk of the inferior seedling have been culled, I begin to get a bit anxious about whether there will be a power failure, or some other kind of mishap that will kill all of the remaining new seedlings in the greenhouse.  Each of the new seedlings is unique and many of them are improvements over any seedlings that I have ever raised before.  Daily, as I have continued to evaluate the seedlings I have come to know the characteristics of each of them: their vigor, their cleanliness, their growth habit, their blooming characteristics, and their fragrance (among several other traits).  I know them.  I hope that some of them will survive my worries.

Today, it struck me how similar one of the new seedlings appears to be like one of the very first repeat blooming Hulthemias.  The earlier seedling was code-named "I89-2".  It was from a cross of [('Orangeade' X 'Abraham Darby') X 'Midnight Blue'] X 'Persian Sunset'.  It bloomed for the first time 9 years ago.  "I89-2" had the best blotch among 5 seedlings from that cross, and it's petals as a new seedling are shown on the left in the photo below (the petals on the right are from a sister seedling that had a less distinct blotch).

As has been previously mentioned in other posts, the Hulthemia blotch becomes larger and more intense as the seedlings mature.  This is demonstrated in the next 2 photos.  They show what "I89-2" looked like during it's second year as a more mature seedling.

So finally then, the new seedling that I mentioned that looks like this old seedling from 9 years ago is seen in the next 2 photos.  This one is code-named "R124".

If you compare the juvenile petals of "I89-2" (at the top of this post), with the juvenile petals of "R124" (second photo above), you can see that this newer seedling has a larger blotch.  And when "R124" matures, you can be sure that it's blotch will be noticeably larger than that seen on the mature bloom of "I89-2".

In reality, the only similarity between these two seedlings is the coloring of their petals. In fact, there is really no comparison beyond the blooms.  "I89-2" was very disease prone, and though somewhat compact in growth, was unmanageable due to its extensive thorns and twiggy growth habit.  Additionally, "I89-2" was one of the worst Hulthemias for dieback.  Each year, much of the growth would die and have to be trimmed out.  In contrast, "R124" has a tidy, attractive plant, with upright, bushy growth and has far fewer prickles than "I89-2".  Additionally, since 'Double Knock Out' is a grandparent, I suspect that this seedling will have very good disease resistance.  An added bonus is that I am seeding some hips forming on this immature plant.  And of course, yes, I have already made some crosses onto it.  "R124" is a keeper for now.  Unfortunately, "I89-2" is now long gone…..

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

Remembering today to be thankful for the freedoms that I so often take for granted.  Freedom is amazing.  Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

New Purple Seedling

Today I am highlighting another non-Hulthemia seedling.  This is the result of an open pollination of 'Blue For You'.  The seed parent is a great rose coming from Peter James of the UK (thank you Kim Rupert for giving me a plant of it!).  This seedling has good vigor and blooming power for such a young seedling.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fun With "Basye's Thornless" Seedlings

Though I've had "Basye's Thornless" for many years, I had used it only briefly in 2001 in a few crosses, and since nothing exciting came out of those few crosses, I moved on to other rose hybridizing projects.  In 2012, however, thinking that the lower petal count, relative cleanliness, and thornlessness of "Basye's Thornless" might be something good to combine with the Hulthemias, I made a large number of crosses using it both as a pollen parent and as a seed parent.  In fact, altogether, I planted more than 5,300 seeds with "Basye's Thornless" as a seed or pollen parent.  While most of the crosses where made with the Hulthemias, I used several other non-Hulthemia seed parents too.  The two new 2014 seedlings that I am highlighting in this post are the result of open pollinations of two seedlings from the 2012 crosses that I made.  So far they are both thornless.

The first one shown below is the result of an open pollination of the seedling discussed in a previous post (see Moving Toward Cleaner Minis).  The notation for the cross is as follows: ('Pearl Sanford' X "Basye's Thornless") X ('Pearl Sanford' X "Basye's Thornless").  It seems to be quite compact for a seedling having "Basye's Thornless" in its heritage, and has more petals than it's seed parent (in the above referenced post, it is shown in the first photo).

The second seedling likewise resulted from an open pollination.  It's seed parent is also shown in a previous post, it is the 5th photo down in 2013 "Basye's Thornless" Seedlings).  Though the seed parent was the result of a Hulthemia cross, it didn't have a blotch and neither does this seedling shown below.  This seedling has more petals than most seedlings having "Basye's Thornless" in their heritage and has blooms that are somewhat larger.  It is vigorous and seems to bloom very freely.

Both of these seedlings seem as good as, but possibly better than, their seed parents.  They resulted from open pollinated seeds that were planted for the purpose of evaluating possible new seed parents.  Both seed parents (referenced in the links above) set hips very well as brand new seedlings in 2013, and since their germination rates were so good, I began using them in crosses this year.  I am most interested in what seedlings might result next year from crosses that I made onto the seed parent of the red mini shown in the first photo above.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Unusual Hulthemia Hips

"O225-1" is a seedling that I"ve mentioned before (see blog post: Hulthemia Traits, the Good and the Bad).  It is one of the showiest and most floriferous Hulthemias that I have raised from seed.  

It turns out that this seedling is quite fertile: it sets hips easily and the seeds germinate very well.  In the referenced blog post above, I mentioned that unfortunately this seedling has a tendency for "dieback", which is sometimes seen in Hulthemias.  I am wondering if the same cause for dieback is what affects it's hips causing them to develop their unusual appearance as they mature.  

It almost looks as if the skin of the hip is unable to grow as the hip swells, causing the skin to crack as it stretches.  It is only a guess, but perhaps this same effect results in girdling of the canes which causes the dieback.  Fortunately, I see dieback in only a few of it's offspring.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Enjoying Seedling Photos With The Camera+ App

I've come to rely on my iPhone camera for most of the photos that I take, but I have been frustrated with the autofocus feature preventing me from choosing my focal point especially when doing close-up photos of new seedlings.  The Camera+ App, at only $1.99 has been a great add-on App for the iPhone camera.

This first photo demonstrates the ability to focus through closer leaves to the center of the seedling bloom, producing an image with crisp anthers.

Here are some other new 2014 seedling photos.

'Singin' in the Rain' X 'First Impression':

'Gemini' X 'First Impression':

'Darlow's Enigma' X "Mixed 2013 Hulthemia seedling pollen":

And yes, just like it's seed parent, the above seedling is fragrant and blooms a ton (has been nearly continuously in bloom from the very first blooms).

The next seedling resulted from a cross of a 2011 Hulthemia seedling with 'Eyes For You'. It is the only 'Eyes For You' seedling that I have kept, but looks to be a good one and is fragrant.

The last photos are of two of my favorite 2014 seedlings, the first coming from a cross of "O212-1" X "Q247-3", and the final photo of a seedling from a cross of "N159-5" X "Q62-1".

The last seedling appears to be thornless, a trait that comes from it's grandparent "Basye's Thornless".  I especially like the clarity of this photo where not only the anthers are clearly in focus, but so is the fuzz on the inside of the reflexing sepal.  I can hardly believe that the Camera+ App only cost $1.99 (this is not an advertisement by the way!)  I'm looking forward to having more fun with my iPhone camera.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Current Favorite New Seedling (from 2013)

This is the third photo of this seedling that I am posting on my blog, and it will probably not be the last.  While there are several Hulthemia seedlings both from this year and from last year that resulted from crosses with 'Darlow's Enigma' as the seed parent, this is my favorite.  It seems very floriferous for a young seedling.  Also, since it appears to not set any hips, I am hopeful that it will have a rapid repeat on its bloom cycle.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hulthemia Blotch - Not Always Visible

When breeding with Hulthemias, it is important to know that the blotch is not always visible, especially in young seedlings.

When I first mentioned this 'Darlow's Enigma' seedling in the July 7, 2013 post (the last photo in that post), I was certain that it didn't have a blotch.  Now, nearly a year later, growing outside on a more mature plant, it is easy to see that actually the seedling does have a blotch.  The blotch is best seen with the petals removed.

A new 2014 seedling shown below will probably "lose" it's blotch on the next bloom cycle (blotches fade as the weather warms up).  Can you see the blotch?  It is just barely visible in the center yellow zone of coloration.  I suspect that the blotch will be way more visible next spring if the seedling survives.

My mentor in Hulthemias, Mr. Ralph Moore, was surprised that I got a repeat blooming Hulthemia from 'Persian Sunset' the first year that I used it.  Mr. Moore had never gotten a fully remontant Hulthemia seedling.  All of his Hulthemia seedlings bloomed only on "old wood", similar to most species roses.  The last 2 years that I visited Mr. Moore I pointed out to him several seedlings in his seedling benches that were repeat blooming Hulthemias.  I don't think that he believed me though because with his poorer vision of old age he was not able to see the faint blotches in his young seedlings.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Another 2013 'Darlow's Enigma' Hulthemia Seedling

There is a very wide range of Hulthemia seedlings coming from 'Darlow's Enigma'.  One thing they have in common is floriferousness.  Here is a photo of one that I took yesterday.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

'Darlow's Enigma' Hulthemia X "Basye's Thornless" Hulthemia

I am very pleased with this brand new 2014 Hulthemia from a cross between two 2013 seedlings:  ('Darlow's Enigma' X "Mixed Hulthemia Pollen") X ('Eyeconic Pomegranate Lemonade' X "Basye's Thornless"). 

First, here are the parents. 

Seed Parent:

Pollen Parent:

I took the chance on making this cross with the new seedlings last year and am very happy with the results.  It appears that this seedling is thornless.  The sister seedling behind it got all the prickles!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

'Darlow's Enigma' Hulthemia

Several of the 2013 'Darlow's Enigma' X "Mixed Hulthemia Pollen" seedlings are blooming well outside.  This is one of my favorites (this one was also shown in the 4/13/14 post, fourth photo down).  I wonder what it will look like as a mature plant in 2-3 years.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hulthemia Persica Seedlings (Part 2)

The Hulthemia persica seedlings continue to be affected by powdery mildew.  It appears that all but one are highly susceptible.  Some have died due to the infection, while most of the others seem to have had their growth stunted by the infection.

The lone seedling below appears to be resistant.  It is also the most vigorous and is just starting to put out side shoots.  The prickles (thorns) look very much like what you might find on a noxious weed.

I wonder if it will bloom next year?  I sure hope so.

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.