Sunday, December 1, 2013

Some Late Season Blooms

The colors on the seedlings always seem more saturated during cooler weather.  Here are a few Hulthemia seedlings that I think are some of the best from this season.

First, is a seedling of 'Midnight Blue' X "mixed Hulthemia pollen".  It is really that dark purple, and it has the blotch type that bleeds into the rest of the petal.

The next seedling is a vigorous mini Hulthemia coming from a cross between 2 Hulthemia seedlings "N159-5" X "O117-5".  The pollen parent is a half-sister Hulthemia seedling of 'Thrive!', so I am hoping that it will have better disease resistance.  It is setting OP hips, so I am checking its germination this year to decide whether or not to use it in crosses next year.

Below is another Hulthemia that I am hopeful for improved disease resistance.  It is from a cross of 'Darlow's Enigma' X "mixed Hulthemia pollen".

This next seedling is from a cross of "L56-1" (a clean mini seedling of 'Thrive!'), it was crossed with "M62".  "M62" was one of my cleanest earlier Hulthemia seedlings that exhibited a good heat stable blotch, but lacked vigor and was very thorny.  This new seedling has good vigor, but got the thorns of it's pollen parent.

The last seedling shown below is from a cross of 'Eyeconic Pomegranate Lemonade' X mixed "Knock Out" pollen (I mixed 'Knock Out', 'Double Knock Out', 'Sunny Knock Out' and 'Milwaukee Calatrava").  It inherited great blotch heat stability from the seed parent, and hopefully will prove to have better than average disease resistance coming from the pollen parent.  We will know more next year when it is grown outside.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

2013 Rose Breeding Season Winding Down

The rose breeding season is quickly winding down for 2013.  All of the hips have been harvested, most of the lesser desirable seedlings culled, and seedling beds are being prepped for the removal of the surviving seedlings.

The weather has continued to cool such that the Hulthemia blotches are at their darkest.  In fact, the blotch of the seedling highlighted in the Invisible Revealed post, where I mentioned that for the first time in that seedling's life that I was finally able to see that it was a Hulthemia, has continued to darken.

With the petals removed, it is very easy to see the blotch now.  It is amazing to think that as a young seedling, the blotch was not evident at all.

The above seedling is expected to have rather larger blooms as can be seen when compared to other Hulthemia seedings as shown below.  All of those in the following photo have some "clean genes" that will hopefully help to clean up the group from black spot.  The larger white seedling and smaller white seedling both have mixed Knock Out pollen (I collected and mixed pollen coming from 'Knock Out', 'Double Knock Out', 'Sunny Knock Out', and 'Milwaukee Calatrava') as their pollen parent.  The smaller white seedling's seed parent was 'Eyeconic Pomegranate Lemonade' to which it owes it's superior heat stable blotch.  The thornless coral pink seedling in the upper left corner is from a cross of "O352-1" X "Basye's Thornless".  "O352-1" has been highlighted elsewhere in this blog (The Largest Blotch - A Deadend and Hulthemia Fertility - Update on Seedling "O352").  The yellow seedling is the result of a complex Hulthemia seedling crossed with a very clean Hulthemia half-sister of 'Thrive!'.

Though most of the culling is done, about half of the remaining seedlings will have to go.  As the blotches darken, it is more difficult to cull seedlings with good blotches.  I'm not sure whether this next one will survive the last round of culling.....

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Moving Toward Cleaner Minis

Miniature roses are not known for their cleanliness.  There is much room for improving the health of this class of roses.  This has been a goal of mine for several years, but initially I was only addressing powdery mildew resistance.  One of my favorite mini seedlings is named 'Pearl Sanford'.  Although it has very good powdery mildew resistance, like most minis, it is very susceptible to black spot.

Therefore, 'Pearl Sanford', which happens to be an excellent seed parent, has been crossed with two lines of roses that have very good black spot resistance.  The first shown below is a cross of 'Pearl Sanford' X "Basye's Thornless" (aka "Basye's Legacy").  This is a brand new seedling from this year.  It only has 8-10 petals, but has taller buds than most "Basye's Thornless" seedlings and it's petals unfurl nicely.  It sets hips very readily and this coming year I will be testing it's germination rate.

The second seedling is a cross of 'Pearl Sanford' X 'Double Knock Out'.  I didn't expect to get much from this cross, however, this seedling has very full blooms with fairly good form.  It gets some powdery mildew when conditions are right, but does not get severe infections.  It appears to not set hips, however, it produces at least some pollen.

I am hoping that by combining these two lines, I will be able to get an exhibition mini that combines good powdery mildew resistance with better horizontal black spot resistance.  Since I will not be making crosses between these two until next Spring, the first seedlings will not sprout until 2015.  This hobby has a way of developing patience!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Invisible Revealed

Last year I made several crosses onto some of my best Hulthemia seed parents with many of Will Radler's black spot resistant varieties - 'Knock Out', 'Double Knock Out', 'White Out', 'Sunny Knock Out' and 'Milwaukee Calitrava'.  Among these, were many fewer seedlings exhibiting blotches than is usual, and that made me think that somehow these cleaner varieties were "resistant" to exhibiting the blotch. 

As previously mentioned in this blog, the Hulthemia blotch intensifies in cooler weather and as expected for October, we have been having much cooler weather over the last month.  Well, what was invisible is now visible, albeit extremely subtle.  I kept this seedling not for its blotch (because I didn't think that it had one), but for its cleanliness and floriferousness.  I had thought that it might make an improved 'White Out'.  In fact I was disappointed when it first bloomed and didn't have a blotch.  Now, in the cooler weather, if you look very closely, you can see that it does in fact have a blotch and will therefore be able to pass along the blotch in further breeding.

I'm glad that I kept this seedling.  Would you keep it?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

First Harvest and Heat Stability Revisited

Well another harvest season has begun!  The hips on my earliest ripening seed parents have turned color and started to fall, indicating that the hips are ripe and that they had better be picked or lost!

I think that our warm temperatures have helped to hasten ripening.  Our coolest daytime high temperature in the last 34 days has been 94º F.  Twenty four of these have been 100º F. or hotter.  This has provided ample opportunity to assess the blotch heat stability of the newest Hulthemias from 2012 when grown outside the greenhouse.  The three below are real standouts.  Photos were taken in the last 2 or 3 days.

Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 "Basye's Thornless" Seedlings

I have been very pleased with the "Basye's Thornless" seedlings that made their appearance this year among my 2013 seedlings - especially a couple of the fully remontant (repeat blooming) Hulthemia hybrids.  The first photo is of my favorite.  

It is from a cross of "N144-2" X "Basye's Thornless".  The Hulthemia seed parent, "N144-2", came from a cross of 'Pearl Sanford' with one of my earlier Hulthemia 
seedlings.  As can be seen in the photo, this seedling blooms a lot.  And like most of the "Basye's Thornless" seedlings, it seems to be quite vigorous and fertile.  "Basye's Thornless" is a pink, 5-petalled, once blooming, thornless rose bred by Dr. Robert E. Basye and has good black spot and powdery mildew disease resistance.  HelpMeFind has good photos of it - click "Basye's Thornless" to see it. Also worth noting, "Basye's Thornless" appears to be the same rose as 'Commander Gillette' and "Basye's Legacy".

Though my main interest last year was in crossing "Basye's Thornless" with many of my Hulthemia seed parent seedlings, I also crossed it with several non-Hulthemia seedlings.  Below are 3 coming from a cross where "L56-1" was the seed parent.  "L56-1" is a seedling of 'Thrive!' that I have mentioned elsewhere.

By now, you are probably seeing the pattern, that "Basye's Thornless" produces lots of pink seedlings. Pink is definitely very strong in this line which is why I was surprised when I saw the following seedling that came from a Hulthemia cross (no blotch on this one), but it's white.

Yellow is an even more difficult color to get.  In the 3 photos below, you can see some yellow coloration.  These seedlings might be useful to get yellow thornless seedlings in the next generation. The first one has 'First Impression' as a grandparent. The second one is from a yellow Hulthemia and is showing just a hint of the Hulthemia blotch (it also has 'First Impression' in it's lineage).  The third photo below is a bit blurry, but I included it because this one has the most yellow coloration of them all seen at the base of the petals.

Below are a few more from Hulthemia crosses that are showing better blotches.  The second and third ones shown below are sister seedlings from the same cross.  The third one appears to be closer to a mini in size and is another one of my favorites.

In this years crop of "Basye's Thornless" seedlings, it appears that 75% or more have been non-remontant (meaning that they will not bloom this year and may take 2 to 3 years or more to bloom for the first time).  The majority seem to have few or no thorns, but I have noticed a significant number of them having little bristles, or stubble that actually does not feel very sharp, so they are almost as easy to handle as the thornless seedlings.

In closing this post, here is a more recent photo of the seedling show at the top.  I am very happy with it's apparent good repeat blooming power.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

2013 'Darlow's Enigma' Seedlings

Last year I was so impressed with the open pollinated seedlings that were produced from 'Darlow's Enigma' that I made several hundred crosses using it both ways, as a seed and as a pollen parent.  I found that it cooperates much better as a seed parent.  The majority of the crosses using it as a pollen parent failed, however, there were a few that produced seedlings that were clearly from 'Darlow's Enigma'.  The first seedling shown below is one from such a cross.  This was from "L56-1" X 'Darlow's Enigma'.  "L56-1" is a seedling of 'Thrive!'.  This photo of the young seedling is a bit washed out, but it does hint at this seedling's floriferous potential (one of the main traits for which I am most interested in using 'Darlow's Enigma').

Of course I used it predominantly in crosses with mixed Hulthemia pollen.  There are about 15 or so that I am still watching, but the three below are a few of my favorites.  The first is special because of the size and intensity of the blotch.  Unfortunately it is also very thorny (as are most of the ones coming from the mixed Hulthemia pollen crosses).

The next one has a smaller blotch, but is quite vigorous and floriferous, and has the fewest thorns of this group.  It's blotch will be larger and more intense when it matures.  Overall, it is my favorite of the 'Darlow's Enigma' seedlings from this year.

The last seedling, though coming from a cross using mixed Hulthemia pollen, has no blotch.  However, the first time that I saw it bloom I knew that I would have to let it mature to see how it performs as a grown-up seedling.  The petals have almost a glowing quality to them.  It will be interesting to see whether this characteristic is preserved when grown outdoors.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Reverse Blotch?

I have never seen it, but have kept my eyes opened for a Hulthemia seedling showing the blotch on the petal reverse.  Is it possible?

Nearly always, the petal reverse on Hulthemias is lighter than the petal upper surface.  Rarely, I have seen a darker reverse, but never a blotch on the reverse.

In the photo below, it appears that there is some of the blotch showing through.  Is this sufficient evidence that a reverse blotch is possible?  Probably not.  Nevertheless, I will remain on the lookout.  I think that a cut flower type rose would look extremely interesting with a reverse blotch on the outside part of the petals.

The petals in the next photo are from what is probably the best 'Double Knock Out' Hulthemia seedling that I have had so far.  It appears extremely clean, sets hips well and germinates well.  I am hoping to move this along in crosses to produce better cleanliness and better blotch conformation. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Improving on 'Eyeconic Lemonade'

'Eyeconic Lemonade' is my favorite of our Hulthemias that have been released so far to the market.  I like it's color, habit and fragrance.  That being said, it could use some improvements.  Though it is fairly floriferous, the plant is never completely covered in blooms.  This is because the blooms do not last very long.  Although the fresh blooms look quite nice, they fade fairly quickly on the 2nd day, and then begin to shatter on the 3rd day.  Also, the blotch is not as large as I would like.  Seen below is 'Eyeconic Lemonade' with a more recent seedling that exhibits a deeper yellow color and a larger blotch.  It also holds onto it's petals longer so that there are more blooms on the bush to present a better display.

But that seedling is not my current favorite yellow Hulthemia.  My favorite is the one shown in the photo below.

The blooms on this one are a bit larger and hold their color the best.  But wouldn't you know it, it is growing in a 7 gallon pot with two of it's sister seedlings, and none of them are marked with identifying information, so I do not know it's parentage.  I am hoping that this winter when I separate the seedlings and replant them that I will find an identification tag.

This seedling is seen again below with one of its' sister seedlings.  Blotch size varies significantly among seedlings from the same cross and is often absent in many of them.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hybridizing Season Finally Slowing Down

Well, it's been nearly a month since my last post.  Life has been busy at the Sproul Rose Farm.  Most of the crosses for this year have been completed.  I decided that I wanted to reduce my crosses by 50% this year compared to last year since I had too many seedlings.  I only have about 175 more crosses to go until I hit my goal of 2,500 crosses.  There are lots of hips forming.

As mentioned in an earlier post, evaluating seedlings for the first time outside is an important time.  Here are photos of 2 of my favorites.  This first one is a mini Hulthemia with single petalled blooms, that is very floriferous and appears quite clean.

The next photo below is of another very floriferous seedling.  This one is a larger shrub and is a cross of 'Thrive!'s mother X 'Double Knock Out'.  It starts as a darker pink and then fades to a lighter pink before the petals fall.  The petals never get "dirty" looking.  This one also appears very clean.  I can imagine a multi-colored effect in a mass planting.

One of the things that I like to do later in the rose breeding season is to select a few of the best new Hulthemia seedlings from this year to use as pollen parents.  I mix the pollen in hopes that the best possibilities have a chance to occur.  This last photo below is of some of the new seedlings from which I harvested their anthers.  The 2 pink ones are repeat blooming "Basye's Thornless" Hulthemia seedlings.  The red ones are from 'Thrive!' Hulthemia crosses and the yellow one is from a cross involving a very clean seedling that came from a cross 3 years ago with 'Thrive!'s seed parent.  All of these should have very clean genes.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Smoothie Break

Okay, so no roses in this post, but keep reading because this smoothie will rejuvenate you after working in the rose garden.  I have one every morning for breakfast.

First I put in a tangerine (or black plum when they are in season).  Then comes the kale and 1/4 to 1/2 avocado (depending on the size).  Next add 2 teaspoons of sugar (Splenda, Stevia or Nectresse for diabetics, or you may choose to not add any additional sweetener), and a tablespoon of flax seed oil.

Then add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of almond milk and about 3/4 scoop of your favorite protein powder.

Blend all of this together with your Ninja blender (or similar amazing blending device).  After blending in the photo below, I have added frozen berries - strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries (you can also add frozen bananas and there is a "tropical mix medley" available at some stores).  To make a pleasing color, I always make sure to add either blackberries or blueberries.

If there is still some space at the top, I will add a bit more almond milk, but be careful to not overfill or you will have a mess (this is experience talking!)  Blend again, and you will have the best rejuvenation smoothie, or breakfast smoothie you could ever dream of.  I add a handful of roasted or raw (un-salted) almonds (10-15) on the side to make the meal complete.

Try it - if you replace a meal a day, you may also find that it will help you to lose weight.  To your health!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hulthemia Extremes

Since the beginning of my work with the Hulthemias, I knew that I wanted to get the Hulthemia blotch into all kinds/types of roses.  Although we haven't been able to do that yet, this past year we made some good progress getting the blotch into some interesting rose types.  We now have blotches in crosses with "Basye's Thornless", 'Darlow's Enigma' and with the crested mosses.  All of these seedlings are fully remontant.  What I am most excited about is those with "Basye's Thornless".  Here are two of the best.  

In a previous post I already showed a couple of new seedlings coming from 'Darlow's Enigma' that have the Hulthemia blotch.  There have been a few more, but I think that the one shown below probably has the best blotch of this group so far.  The bloom lasted several days.

There has been one crested moss that has the blotch.  Although the cresting and blotch are not that impressive, it is a start into new territory and I am very happy that it seems to have good powdery mildew resistance.

Seen below are a couple more 2013 seedlings.  Because of their novelty, they have survived "the cut" so far.

The final seedling below is shown both "with" and "without" anthers.  Because of the superior cleanliness of it's parentage, the anthers from this it's first bloom, were used in crosses with other roses.  There was enough pollen for 30 crosses.

About 1/3 to 1/2 of the seedlings have yet to bloom for the first time.