'Darlow's Enigma' has become my favorite hybrid musk type rose to use in breeding. It is very clean, with only a bit of powdery mildew, it blooms profusely, and it has very good fragrance. As a rose breeder, it has probably become my favorite due to its ability to set hips in crosses made with modern roses, and because it has a very good germination rate. I first reported on my experiences with 'Darlow's Enigma' seedlings in an earlier post this year: Early Notes on Darlow's Enigma Seedlings.
To recap, these seedlings all resulted from open pollination, there were 133 seeds from 25 hips, with 37 germinations. Of these, 2 were clearly from pollinations with foreign pollen, because the leaf shape and texture was so different from the rest of the seedlings. There were probably a couple of others that resulted from open pollination with 'Blue Mist' (a polyantha rose bred by Mr. Ralph Moore that I have that is growing intertwined with 'Darlow's Enigma') since the flower shape and coloring of them was more like 'Blue Mist' than 'Darlow's Enigma'.
Most of the seedlings have been culled - they grew too tall, didn't appear to be remontant, had too much powdery mildew, or had lower flower production. There are now 7 that remain. Since they were growing too vigorously to keep with the other seedlings, I decided to pull them out of the greenhouse seedling beds and transplanted them into 3 gallon pots (see photo below).
Two of the survivors have many petalled pinkish blooms that I think were open pollinated from 'Blue Mist'. Another one that was saved has larger single blooms and is the seedling mentioned in the first post that had the glossier foliage. The remaining 4 survivors were probably the result of self pollinations. All of them have been blooming profusely, mostly nonstop, ever since they first started blooming 2 months ago as brand new seedlings. The photo below shows how large the sprays can be even on these new seedlings.
The question that I hope to be able to answer next year is: "How well does 'Darlow's Enigma' accept expression of the Hulthemia blotch?" I have been applying mixed pollen of the "best of the best" new Hulthemia seedlings from this year's batch. I am happy to report that most of the pollinated blooms are producing hips.
I have a confession to make: it took me nearly half of the breeding season to realize that it was much easier to place a tag around the stem of a spray of 'Darlow's Enigma', than to place a tag on each one of the small peduncles! For anyone who has tried pollinating 'Darlow's Enigma', you know how hard it is to place a string tag around one of its peduncles. They seem to exude a resin with just enough stickiness to make it very difficult for the string to slide easily around the peduncle. Yes, I broke off a couple of newly pollinated blooms trying to slip the string tags around the peduncles. Now, each spray gets its own pollen parent tag!