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.

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.