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!