Monday, May 30, 2011

The Tiniest Hulthemia

This is by far the smallest Hulthemia seedling that I have grown.  The height of the plant is not as tall as the thickness of my hand.  There are two open blooms, a third bloom opening, and a 4th bud about to open.  I cannot yet tell whether or not there will be a blotch.  Even so, just for the sake of it's novelty, I will continue to watch this one as long as it survives. At least it won't take up that much extra room!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Hulthemia in the Striped Pajamas

This seedling, code named N210-1, sprouted last year.  It came from a batch of "OP" seeds from one of my earlier repeat blooming Hulthemias.  I have no idea what the pollen parent was, but clearly, this was not the result of a self pollination.  I had been trying for the two previous years to come up with a striped Hulthemia, and though I got a couple of them, neither was as good as this one.

It appears to have a plant habit and quantity of bloom similar to 'Ballerina'.  It has a couple of real bonuses too: it seems to be one of my cleanest Hulthemia seedlings, and it has an abundance of pollen, making it ideal for use in further breeding).  As expected, it has been put to work quite a lot this year.

P.S. This idea was inspired independently by my daughter Claire, who was 10 years old at the time, and by my favorite mentor in rose breeding, Mr. Ralph Moore (forever young at heart), who was 100 years old at the time!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Most Remarkable Blotch

Among the new 2011 seedlings today, I had the opportunity to encounter one of the most intense blotches that I have seen thus far in the Hulthemia hybrids.  The petal color on this seedling, code named "O343", is a light cream, with a fairly large, deeply maroon blotch.

As with other very dark rose seedlings, it is possible that this blotch will burn in full sunlight.  Even so, the size and intensity of this seedling's blotch destine it to become an important parent for future generations.

Previous experience has shown that blotch size increases with maturity.  Up until now, the Hulthemia seedling with the largest, most intense blotch has been M40-1.  In the photos below it is easy to appreciate the change of the blotch as seen in the first immature bloom to that of the more mature plant grown outside.

Of note, the seedling at the top of this post, "O343", was the result of a cross made between two new seedlings from 2010. Using superior immature Hulthemia hybrid seedlings in crosses during their first year, has helped to shorten generation time and has produced some good results.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Peak Bloom at the Sproul Rose Farm

The warmer weather has brought on the peak bloom rather quickly.  Approximately 1/3 of the 1,000 potted roses seen here are new 2010 rose seedlings that were brought outside the greenhouse for further evaluation.  They survived scrutiny in the greenhouse where more than 95% of the 2010 seedling roses were eliminated.  The rest of these are seedling roses from previous years.

My goal over the next few weeks will be to cull out 1/3 to 1/2 of these, so that only the best of the best remain.  We were fortunate to get just the right amount of downy mildew this year - not so much that the seedlings lost all their leaves, but enough to differentiate the resistant ones from the susceptible ones.  Also, keeping the pots jammed rather closely together has helped to promote blackspot.  All of this has provided a better opportunity to get a much better read on which roses are performing the best with respect to disease resistance to downy mildew, blackspot and powdery mildew.  Some of the roses are spotless.  It is from these that I would like to carry the breeding program forward.