Saturday, April 7, 2018

Waiting a Long Time for Blooms...

One of the things that makes rose breeding so fun is that usually it is not a very long wait to see new blooms after the baby roses sprout.  In fact most seedling roses will bloom in only 8-10 weeks after germinating.  That is the kind of wait that I can manage.

It doesn't work out that way though when you work with species, or near species type roses.  Seedlings may not bloom for a year or more after germinating in species crosses.  The seedling in the photo above is finally developing buds in it's third year of growing. It first sprouted in the greenhouse in 2016.  It germinated from a batch of seeds from a seed parent that typically produces the modern types that bloom in just a few weeks after sprouting.  Usually, from modern rose crosses, I will not keep these types of seedlings that refuse to bloom in the first year.  This seedling was different however, in that it appeared extremely clean, it was very vigorous, and it seemed to produce little to no thorns.  I thought that it would certainly bloom in 2017, but it did not.  Now with lots of buds forming, the long wait is over!  I expect that it will produce simple, 5 petalled pink blooms that will not be very spectacular.  As long as the blooms are not ugly, I will keep the plant to see if I can make a hedge of it.  I will post photos of the blooms when they open.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter! New life and new blooms...

The very first, brand new seedling bloom of the 2018 season, opened this morning. 

Some of the reasons why rose breeding has been so important to me is because it reminds me of God’s creative genius, of His beautiful earth and of the hope He provides for the future. I hope that you were able to have a wonderful day spent with family and friends!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Best of 2017 Seedlings

The 2018 rose seedlings are just beginning to show their first flower buds and should start blooming in 10-14 days (see second photo below).  In the meantime, here is a collage of some of the best from 2017.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

2018 Seedlings Are Growing!

The new 2018 seedlings are continuing to sprout and the earliest ones to sprout are already putting out their 5th to 6th leaflets.  That means that it won't be long now until the first rose buds appear - probably by next week!

As with every year, I plant many open pollinated seeds from some of my seedlings that produce a lot of hips to see if they germinate well.  I have decided to bring T31-1 into the breeding program because it sets lots of hips and the germination rate is excellent (see photo below).  It is from a cross of ('Midnight Blue' X "Basye's Thornless") x 'Blue For You'.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

'Honey Dijon' the Rose

When I first started breeding roses, I knew that as an amateur, I would have to focus on novel type roses to "get a foot in the door" since the major commercial rose breeders had their own well established breeding programs that produced the full range of classic rose types: hybrid teas, floribundas, climbers, shrubs and miniatures.  It was not hard for me to focus on novelty since my eye always seemed drawn to the unusual roses.  That being the case, my first real commercial rose variety was 'Honey Dijon'.  My objective in choosing the cross that led to 'Honey Dijon', was to develop a strong growing, golden brown rose.  I have found that rarely will I get the exact result that I am trying for in breeding roses, but was very lucky in choosing to cross the two roses 'Stainless Steel' and 'Singin' in the Rain' to get just what I was looking for.  'Honey Dijon' was released by Weeks Roses in 2005 and is still available in a couple of countries outside of the USA.  It may be making a comeback here in the USA since it's color is back in style.  The photo below is courtesy of Weeks Roses.

Although the plant below is not the original 'Honey Dijon' seedling (I lost that one several years ago), it is a first generation clone (meaning that the cutting was taken directly from the original seedling).  The poor old rose had probably not been pruned for 10 years or more.  This year I thought it was time to give the rose a good pruning and a chance to put on a nice spring show.  Something wonderful about roses is that the "old" can be made "new" again.  And in a way, if we are willing to grow, so can we!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas 2017

Being only 3 days since my Mom passed away, this Christmas will be very different from all of the others.  I am still trying to see the beauty of the season, but right now it feels like all of the color has gone out of the world.  

I would like to say that my Mom was the best mom in the whole wide world - I know it to be true.  But, I know that it is only something that I can say because she was my Mom.  I know that others have lost their moms that were pretty amazing women, and were "the best mom in the whole wide world".  If you've lost your mom and she was an amazing woman, then you know how I feel, and I am sorry for your loss too.

Love to all my family who are feeling the pain of our loss right now.

A reminder from my Mom's journal that I am trying to embrace even today...  I know that she is in a better place.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Few Seedlings Surviving the Heat

It is old news that this is one of the hottest summers on record for California, but it has been a good test for heat tolerance among the seedlings.

Shown below are a few from photos taken this morning after another 9 days straight of temperatures over 100º F.  Yesterday it was 108º F.....

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Secret Weapon for Floriferousness??

Not being one to hide rose hybridizing secrets, I wonder if a dirty greenhouse roof has been advantageous?  As the greenhouse has aged (now 21 years old), the original roof covering has become very dirty and discolored.  It is almost like having a shade cloth over the entire greenhouse.  I had considered replacing the roof a couple of years ago, but when I learned that the cost would be almost as much as the original greenhouse, I decided to wait.  For me, floriferousness ranks right up with disease resistance as being a top trait to select for in breeding.  I have found that seedlings that bloom well in the greenhouse do even better outside.  The photos below are of a few new 2017 seedlings blooming in the greenhouse this year.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Like Menacing Clouds...

Hulthemia petals at 400X seem to forebode stormy weather on the way.

Above are shown the surface cells of a Hulthemia seedling along the junction of the blotch with the rest of the petal.  Some of the cells are very darkly pigmented.

Further from the leading edge of the blotch these deeply pigmented cells (seen at 40X below) may be surrounded by non-blotch cells. 

All of the photos here are of fresh naked petals (no cover slip or preservative was used) to allow for better representation of the surface architecture.  The close-up shots reveal a myriad of color intensities present, reminiscent of a Pointillism work by French artist Seurat.

A more tangential shot of a petal, shown below, is of the Hulthemia seedling described in Heat and Sun Tolerant Blotch.  There is so much texture to the surface that it looks like a million marbles racing down a slope.

Yes, this wannabe botanist scientist is having fun with his new microscope!  :)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Culling 2017 Seedlings

Culling seedlings, especially later in the season, can be difficult.  Once an unpropagated seedling is culled, it is gone forever.  Since we have been out of town recently, I am quite far behind on my culling.  This seedling was happily blooming yesterday despite the 14 consecutive days of having 100+ºF temperatures.  I don't think that it will be culled anytime soon.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Heat and Sun Tolerant Blotch

I've been keeping an "eye" on this new 2016 seedling while it has continued to develop outside the greenhouse this summer into something interesting.  It is exhibiting one of the best heat tolerant blotches that I have seen.  An added bonus is that it seems quite floriferous. 

The photo below was taken yesterday on the eleventh consecutive day where the temperature achieved 100ºF, or hotter, with nighttime temperatures in the 70's to 80's range during the period.

The photos directly below are of the same seedling taken on June 20th when the temperature reached 110ºF.  However, since on the week prior we had had nighttime temperatures down into the mid 60's, I was uncertain whether the blotch would continue to do well after an extended period of very warm nighttime and daytime temperatures.  I now have the answer!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Successful Cross!

This blog post highlights a "family" of new 2017 seedlings coming from a cross that I made last year between two of my unnamed seedlings.  It was the first time that I crossed these two roses and I wish that I had made the cross earlier because there are so many in the group that I really like.  I've had the seed parent for 10 years.  It came from a cross between the seed parent of 'Thrive!', code named G168-2, and 'Julia Child'.  The pollen parent used for this family of seedlings is 5 years old and it came from a cross of a seedling of 'Thrive!' combined with 'Double Knock Out'®.

The entire cross is coded as follows:

[('Marmalade Skies' x 'Baby Love') x 'Julia Child'] x <|'Thrive!' x {'Halo Today' x ['Geisha' x ('Tobo' x 'Singing' in the Rain')]}| x 'Double Knock Out'®>.  

Please note that the seed parent coded above is pink, while the pollen parent is blue.

Of course since 'Thrive!' has 'Marmalade Skies' X 'Baby Love' in it's ancestry, the seedlings used in the cross have some recent ancestors in common.

The reason for this post is to underline the importance of "finding" good crosses.  I have made plenty of crosses that I thought would produce good seedlings, only to throw out the entire batch.  So the process really is one of trial and error.  I suppose it is part of what makes rose breeding so fun!

Each of the following seedlings came from the cross noted above.

There is a clear family resemblance among these different seedlings.  The family includes a few that are pink and some that have only 5 petals, but these five have the traits that I am looking for.  They all seem floriferous and are resistant to powdery mildew.  The next step will be to test them against black spot and other diseases outside.  The least vigorous of these may be discarded before the end of the year. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

First 2017 "Wow" Seedling

Having bred roses now for almost 30 years, I have learned that one shouldn't get excited about rose seedlings in their first year.  Most rose seedlings, even the ones that look great in the early seedling stage have something that disqualifies them later on from further scrutiny.  Ultimately, the vast majority of seedling roses are discarded.

There are always a couple however, that get my attention on seeing their first bloom without even trying.  Although I resist, I am taken aback and can't help but say "wow!"  This seedling did that for me.

It is a cross of a proprietary Hulthemia seed parent with 'Shining Moment'.  I planted several hundred seeds from this cross and although there are others in this family that I am watching, at the moment, this seedling stands out.  It's larger size is demonstrated in the photos that follow.  And it is fragrant!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

RADsweet Hulthemia

I love using some of Will Radler's roses in my breeding program.  He has done amazing work to help clean up roses available on the market.  One of my favorites of his to use in crosses is RADsweet, AKA 'Alaska'.  In my climate it has very good black spot resistance, but unlike the original 'Knock Out'® rose, it also has good powdery mildew resistance.  Two other things that I have noticed about RADsweet is that it can produce yellow seedlings and it does a better job of accepting the blotch than most of the other Radler roses.  The one below was used extensively in my breeding program this year.  Please notice the beautiful and clean foliage.  If you have the opportunity to find it and you are a rose breeder, consider using 'Alaska' in your breeding program.