Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to All! 2016

A taste of our year…

Claire dove into academic and social life at Biola University and is completely happy there. She’s studying chemistry and wishes she had more time to practice surfing.

Silas joined the pastoral staff at RiverLakes Church as the Jr. High Director. He leads worship occasionally and continues his undergrad studies online. 

Carissa landed a great job at Tycor Title helping homebuyers through escrow. 

Nathan works as a high demand private tutor while awaiting his orders from the Air Force. 

Luke has travelled the country with Vivent Technologies. He was able to relocate to North Carolina to be near his girl, Jenni, for part of the year.

Heather teaches Sunday School and volunteers with Children to Love, International.

Jim continues to work at Kaiser Permanente, and helped open a new clinic in Tehachapi.  

This photo was taken in front of Jim’s childhood home in Fairbanks, Alaska! We all tagged along to his 40th high school reunion and saw beautiful places we’ve heard of for so long. 

In the fall Jim and Heather visited Walla Walla, WA to take in the fair and reunite with Heather’s fair court sisters of 1981. It was good to see many loved ones. 

We pray your new year be marked by peace and the hope that comes from God’s goodness!

With Love,

From the Sproul's

Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016 Basye's Second Generation Seedlings

I am surprised at how quickly bloom form and color has improved in just 2 generations from Basye's Thornless (AKA Basye's Legacy and Commander Gillette).  Since Basye's Thornless is a pink, 5-petalled, once blooming rose, I thought that it would be several generations before I would see these sort of offspring.  I am getting fully double blooms, colors other than pink, and some with form.  I'm glad I started using it again! 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Blue Rose, it Starts with a Dream

The quest for the blue rose probably began with the first rose hybridizer.  I suspect that each rose breeder since then has wondered whether it would ever be possible.  

During many of my talks with Mr. Ralph Moore, my most important mentor in rose breeding, he would talk about creation having it's origins in God's imagination: that before God created, He first imagined His creation.  Mr. Moore believed that mankind, being created in God's image, naturally needed to use imagination in the same way: that he or she needed to first be able to clearly envision in his or her own mind the thing being made or invented, before they could ever hope for it to happen.

Many rose lovers have voiced that they would not be interested in a blue rose, saying things like, it would be gaudy or unnatural, or that it wouldn't fit in with the landscape.  Whenever I thought of a blue rose, for some reason, I always thought of it being a dark blue color.  In my imagination, a dark blue rose was never as beautiful as a dark red rose.  As such, the quest for the blue rose had never been very strong for me. 

Last night I had a dream about the blue rose.  In my dream it was a light, pure, sky blue color.  It was a true blue rose without any suggestion of lavender.  It was beautiful.  I can imagine it now.  I wonder if it will ever happen.  At least now I can hope!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I Have the Best Name for This One!

The photo below was taken today.  This is one of my favorite new mini seedlings from 2016.  I have just the right name for it too!  Unfortunately, I won't be able to share it until it is introduced.... sorry.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

New Pollen Parents for 2016

The pollinations are all finished for the year (finished by the end of May).  Even so, I wanted to highlight a couple of new seedlings that were brought into the breeding program this year.  R241-1, a mini, is the first one shown below.  It was a new seedling in 2014 and comes from a cross of O352 X 'Blue For You'.  You can see images of O352 in a prior post: Hulthemia Fertility - Update on Seedling "O352".  Even though the blotch is not as heat stable as the seed parent's, I feel very lucky to have discovered this seedling.  It seems to have picked up excellent disease resistance from 'Blue For You'.  I used it only as a pollen parent this year, but am pleased to find that it is also setting lots of OP hips.  I will check it's germination rate next spring and if satisfactory, will use it as a seed parent next year.

The next seedling was also used as a pollen parent this year in hopes of getting some better bright colored Hulthemias.  This one carries the code name "Q195-3" and was a new seedling in 2013.  It is the product of two of my Hulthemia seedlings and has 'First Impression' in it's lineage.  It is a floribunda vs. a "shrub" rose. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Saturday, July 2, 2016

2016 Pollen Cups

Prior to this year, I have reused my pollen cups for many years.  When I found them in bulk this year on Amazon, I thought "why not splurge and buy some?"  So instead of washing out all of the old pollen from the cups this year, I will be putting them into the recycling bin.  The list of pollens used this year continues onto the back of the sheet of paper seen below.

These new cups should last me awhile…..

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Blueberry Update

The blueberry project, otherwise know as "my first attempt to raise blueberries from seeds", started in the fall of 2013.  I had been growing blueberries for 3 or 4 years, and decided that it might be fun to "grow your own" from seeds.  I collected blueberries that had fallen onto the ground from the varieties that were growing well in my garden.  They were then placed in the freezer for a couple of months.  In January 2014, just before planting my rose seeds, the berries were taken out of the freezer and the seeds were extracted by using a blender.  I rinsed them several times and recovered quite a lot of blueberry seeds.  These were then planted in a small area in one of my rose seedling beds.

In December 2014, about 50-75 blueberry seedlings were transplanted into pots and placed outside the greenhouse.  Most pots held 10 or more seedling blueberries.  They mostly just grew in 2015.  This year, is the first time that several of them have bloomed (see Blooms and Fruit Coming Soon!).  Most of the seedlings that bloomed have produced berries - yeah!

First they were green, and then became pink.

Some of them ripened earlier than the parent berry bushes.

The early ripening seedlings seemed to produce the largest berries.  Shown below is one of the seedlings compared to one of the parents.  The larger berries are from one of the best seedlings.  The green ones (parent variety) in the lower right portion of the photo are in the same plane as the larger seedling berries for a size comparison.

There's not much better than picking your own blueberries from your own seedling bushes.

The first bowl of seedling blueberries is shown below - tasty!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Random 2016 Seedlings with Personality

A few of the newest seedlings that are showing some personality and promise.  This first one I am nicknaming "My Eyes are on YOU!"   ;) 

The next two seedlings are showing good color intensity.  The orange yellow one almost glows.  It is a Hulthemia cross, but doesn't show a blotch.  Even so, I'm keeping it for it's bold color.  The purple one is from a cross of 'Midnight Blue' X "Blue For You'.  I have four from this cross that I am watching.  The purple is more intense than what the photo shows (purples are difficult to capture correctly).

The last seedling shown below, is the least exciting color-wise  but might have the most promise since it has 'Knock Out' on one side and one of my cleanest seed parents on the other side. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

More Salvaged and Rescued Seedlings

The first seedling shown below was also salvaged from the neglected seedlings on the west side of the greenhouse (see Salvaged Treasures).  This seedling was transplanted 2 1/2 years ago into a 5-inch pot and then forgotten.  During the intervening years the majority of the seedlings in that area perished due to neglect and inconsistent watering. This one is a true survivor and may prove to have better drought resistance than most roses.  Notice in the second photo all the stems that sprouted from the dead original stem.

I think that it looks happier in the 5 gallon pot shown below.

The next seedling is at the other end of the spectrum.  It was accidentally culled from the seedling bench last year after I had already tagged it for keeping.  Since I didn't have time to make cuttings, I just stuck it into the ground under my misting table and hoped that it would survive.  Well it did survive (and bloomed!) despite the lower light conditions and almost constant water on the leaves from the intermittent misting. 

I think that this one is also going to be happier in a pot.  It will be interesting to see how much more it blooms under better light conditions. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Introducing 'Honoring Vietnam Veterans'

This rose is being registered with the International Denomination "spRussCollins".  It will also carry the name 'Russ Collins'.

It is a compact, bushy floribunda coming from a cross of 'Pearl Sanford' X 'Thrive!'.  

The variety was donated for naming as part of a fund raiser auction to the nonprofit organization Children to Love (an international ministry to orphans).  The person winning the bid wanted to name the rose in honor of her late husband, Russ Collins, who had been a Vietnam Veteran.  When I suggested to her that the rose also be given the name "Honoring Vietnam Veterans", she loved the idea.

This rose had been under evaluation for introduction by Star Roses for several years.  Ultimately, they decided not to introduce it.  Nevertheless, Star Roses was very kind to donate several plants to the family.  Excess plants were given to a local nursery and will be available in Bakersfield next year.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The French Connection

So yes, this post is about an important French connection.  The connection happened about a year ago when pollen was collected from an interesting species rose in a French rose garden (see post Using Unknown Pollen).  The rose was labeled Rosa arvensis.  However, several rose breeders familiar with that species did not think that the specimen was correctly identified.  Nevertheless, to me it appeared to be the cleanest and most floriferous rose in the species garden.  Pollen was collected from about 10 flower buds to make crosses.  At that time, I did not know whether the species was remontant or not, or whether it would even be fertile.

From about 100 pollinations onto 6 different seed parents, 820 seeds were collected and planted this past January.  Presumably due to an incompatibility of the species with my seed parents, germination was significantly reduced as seen below.  On the right side of the seedling bench the same seed parent was planted in groups where various pollens were used.  The "Rosa arvensis" seedlings are in the space with the fewest germinations.

After the seedlings started to grow, it was apparent that most of the seedlings would be nonremontant and would not bloom for another 1 or more years.  

Sprinkled here and there however, were a few seedlings that were forming flower buds.  The orange and pink seedlings seen in the above photo are not seedlings of "Rosa arvensis", but are from nearby other crosses.  The first "Rosa arvensis" seedling to bloom is shown below.

As the nonremontant seedlings continued to grow, it was very apparent that they would soon overgrow and smother the few seedlings that were blooming, so these were removed and planted into pots.  They will be evaluated next spring and the best of these will be kept for future breeding.

With the nonremonant seedlings removed, there will be plenty of room for the repeat blooming "Rosa arvensis" seedlings to grow and develop.

Below are photos of blooms of four other repeat blooming seedlings of "Rosa arvensis".  Knowing that the seed parents were orange and dark red, it is clear that the creamy white color coming from "Rosa arvensis" is a strong trait.

I was very glad to find that a remontant gene could be recovered from the "Rosa arvensis" pollen parent.  There are some early signs that a couple of these will be floriferous.  I will post photos of them next spring.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Sweet Minnie, writing about a dog, not a rose this time, a special dog, our family dog.

You've had such a full life ever since you were rescued many years ago.  You grew up right along side our kids.  Always the alpha dog, you loved people, but you didn't get along well with other dogs.  However, with some effort, you accepted Zelda the cat and Dusty the horse into the family, and even grew fond of Lola, our son and daughter-in-law's Maltipoo.  An adventurer at heart, we lost you a few years ago and after 3 weeks, we thought that you would be lost forever.  But, to my wife Heather's great relief and joy, you were returned to us on Mothers Day.

This morning, as I had an early start today, the only one up with me at 5:30 AM as I prepared my morning smoothie was you.  Your appetite has always remained strong and you were eager and hopeful to receive any gift that you might be given.  Your alert and knowing eyes seemed sharp as ever.  Before leaving for work, knowing that today was to be the day, I was very glad to find fresh carrots in the refrigerator.  Carrots have always been one of your favorite treats.  You were visibly excited with anticipation when you saw me pull a carrot out.  Obediently, you laid down as commanded to obtain the prize.  Over the last few months, your walking and positioning has become progressively more awkward and difficult so that you sort of collapsed down onto the floor to get into a lying position.  I placed the carrot in front of you so that you didn't have to get back up because getting up from a lying position has become so much more burdensome for you recently.  You tried, but were unable to trap the carrot between your paws, as was your custom to eat it, but you were able to hold it down with one paw and seemed to relish it just as much as always.  When you saw me pick up my keys to leave, you stumbled getting up.  Following me to the door, you stumbled again once or twice before getting there so that I could let you out.  I think that you've always liked the early, cooler mornings as much as I do.  Before leaving, I held your head in my hands, and looking into your eyes, said goodbye.  

We will miss you Minnie. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Naming a Rose - Up for Auction!

Sproul Roses by Design has offered some of our roses for naming by the highest bidder at several local fundraiser auctions for nonprofits over the last 10 years.  Our newest rose that is up for auction this Friday is shown here.

More details about the dinner event and how to get tickets can be found on Facebook at To Africa, With Love.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Salvaged Treasures

Every year when the seedling benches are being emptied in the fall to get ready for planting the new rose seeds, there are a handful of seedlings from important crosses that germinated late and were too small to evaluate.  Most years, some of these will get put into small 5 inch pots and moved out to the "salvage" yard.  This area is on the other side of the greenhouse where I don't get to on a daily basis.  As a result, these salvaged seedlings are often neglected.  Sometimes the water malfunctions, and many seedlings meet their demise by getting too dry.  Perhaps some of the survivors will have better drought tolerance.

The two seedlings shown below are moving up to big pots so that they can show their true potential.  The first appears to be a mini and has a very large blotch.

The second seedling looks like a real treasure.  It is from one of the 'Darlow's Enigma' Hulthemia crosses.  What I like about this one is that it looks like it wants to be floriferous like 'Darlow's Enigma', and it is the only Hulthemia from 'Darlow's Enigma' that has the wonderful Darlow's fragrance.  I can't wait 'til this one matures!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Raindrops on Roses

Last Friday and Saturday we had an amazing amount of rain where it poured both nights for several hours and we even had quite a lot of thunder and lightning (reminiscent of my college days in Tulsa).  The fresh air following the rain was wonderful and the roses seemed to enjoy it too.  Here are a few newer seedlings opening up to take advantage of a break in the weather.

The first seedling is of a cross of L56-1 by a pink fragrant rugosa bred by Mr. Ralph Moore.  He gave me cuttings of the rugosa pollen parent several years ago.  L56-1 is a red single mini and was bred from 'Thrive!'.  The seedling shown below is a very vigorous mini and has clean rugosa type foliage.

The next seedling is second generation from "Basye's Thornless" and has a smaller Hulthemia blotch.  Another grandparent is 'Knock Out'.  It is low on thorns, but not thornless and clean, but gets hints of blackspot.  The coloring is more pronounced in the fall when the petals have darker edging.

The last photo is of a seedling that resulted from a cross between two of my Hulthemia seedlings. It opens white, but as the bloom ages, the white becomes pink.