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.......