Saturday, March 30, 2013

Roses - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Every April for the past several years, there has been a convergence of time where the past, the present and the future all come together in my backyard.  It is my favorite time of the year, and my busiest.

The roses of the past (2012 and earlier seedlings) are just starting to bloom outdoors.  In about 2 weeks, the whole place will be in a full riot of colors and fragrances.  Outdoor evaluation of past seedlings is very important because it offers a truer evaluation of how the rose seedlings will perform.  It is my first chance to see the 2012 seedlings outdoors and it is a time when I will need to make difficult choices about the older seedlings (which ones will stay for another year, and which ones must go).  I have started to walk through all of the outdoor potted roses this past week on a daily basis to monitor diseases, weeds and to generally see what is going on.  Only a few are blooming (I will share photos in the upcoming weeks when more are in bloom), but I came across this interesting branch today - an albino branch.  I have seen this before and know that it will probably die when it heats up due to sunburn, but I always find this sort of thing fascinating.

The roses of the present are the seedlings that are blooming for the first time in 2013.  Each one is unique, being different from any other.  Even among the same family of seedlings (see photo below), the variations can be very great.  Can you guess which seedling in the photo below survived culling today?

The seedling benches are now brimming with new growth and it is imperative that I daily cull seedlings that are not improvements or are not novel in some way.  There were more than 100 that were culled today.  The bucket was nearly full after culling just the first bench.

A couple of new seedlings that I saw today are shown below. One was my very first Hulthemia-Crested Moss seedling.  Although it is not impressive, it is a step toward progress (several more steps are needed before there will be anything exciting to look at).  The second seedling lower down is from a cross of L56-1 X "Basye's Thornless".  "L56-1" came from a cross of a very clean single mini X 'Thrive!'.  This one is a repeat bloomer and also represents an intermediate step toward something better.

The roses of the future are represented by the crosses that I have started to make (cross pollination of one rose with another - see How to Make a Brand New Rose).  The seeds that are produced will be planted next year.

This convergence of time for me is quite exciting.......

Monday, March 25, 2013

First Blooms - First Culls 2013

The seedling benches are beginning to fill out with much new growth.  It is now time to start culling (eliminating) the lesser desirable seedlings.

As noted on "the tour" in the last post, one seedling was about to bloom.  The bud was a light pink that quickly faded to white.  As promised its photo is posted below and as you can see, it is an unremarkable rose and didn't have the Hulthemia blotch (sorry for the blurry photo).

This seedling, together with eight other new seedlings was culled (see photo below).  As can be seen in the top photo, there is not much room for all of the seedlings that have sprouted to grow to full maturity.  This necessitates eliminating seedlings that are not improvements or not novel enough for further evaluation.  As the seedlings mature, there will only be enough room for about 100 seedlings per seedling bench.  As you can see, I have my work cut out for me in the next several weeks as the seedlings start blooming like crazy. It will be fun to find those special few that will deserve much further evaluation over the years to come.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Video Tour of Our Greenhouse

When I first thought about sharing a video tour of our greenhouse on my blog, I thought that I would be doing it when the brand new seedlings were in bloom. I decided though that it might be better to first give an overview of our operation before showing the greenhouse in full bloom.

The seedlings are continuing to grow very quickly due to the nice spring-like temperatures that we are having, so I anticipate first blooms to be a bit earlier, probably sometime later this week.

To take the tour, please click on the YouTube link: 3/17/2013 RBD Greenhouse Tour.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

2013 Rose Seedlings Showing First Buds

The seedlings have really been responding to the warmer temperatures over the last few days and are putting on a lot of new growth.  The first tiny rose buds first appeared about 10 days ago and are growing fast.  In my experience, first blooms open about 3 weeks after the first buds start to show.  That means in about 10 days we should have some blooms - I can't wait!

I am particularly interested in this new seedling since it is a seedling of "O352-1" (click to open post), which has been highlighted here as having qualities that I wanted to carry forward.  Though it seems to produce little or no pollen, it will set hips, and thankfully seems to have fair germination.  I hope that the larger blotch is transmitted well to offspring.  Stay tuned to see the first bloom!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Path Break - Santa Barbara International Orchid Show

It's been 1 1/2 years since I have veered off the rose hybridizing path.  After visiting the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show today (the 68th one BTW), I thought that this was an event well worthy of mentioning here.  All that I can say is WOW!

For a long time now, I have been peripherally interested in orchids, but due to our hotter and drier weather conditions, I have not taken "the plunge".  Also, knowing that when breeding orchids it generally takes many years before the first blooms of your hybrids ever present themselves, I have resisted.  Well today I bought 5 varieties.  I won't report here how much I spent, but I suspect that I will get enough enjoyment out of them to make it worth it.  Will I actually try hybridizing orchids?  Well time will only tell......

Here are a few photos from the show.  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Summer Already?!

Well today the temperature hit 82ยบ F in Bakersfield.  The warmer weather is really helping to push the growth of the new seedlings along.  Germination is slowing down, but the tiny seedlings are starting to add leaves and will soon be producing flower buds.

The final count for germination today was 15,049.  Although a few more will germinate over the next couple of weeks, as the temperatures warm up germination will come to a complete halt.