Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas 2017

Being only 3 days since my Mom passed away, this Christmas will be very different from all of the others.  I am still trying to see the beauty of the season, but right now it feels like all of the color has gone out of the world.  

I would like to say that my Mom was the best mom in the whole wide world - I know it to be true.  But, I know that it is only something that I can say because she was my Mom.  I know that others have lost their moms that were pretty amazing women, and were "the best mom in the whole wide world".  If you've lost your mom and she was an amazing woman, then you know how I feel, and I am sorry for your loss too.

Love to all my family who are feeling the pain of our loss right now.

A reminder from my Mom's journal that I am trying to embrace even today...  I know that she is in a better place.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Few Seedlings Surviving the Heat

It is old news that this is one of the hottest summers on record for California, but it has been a good test for heat tolerance among the seedlings.

Shown below are a few from photos taken this morning after another 9 days straight of temperatures over 100º F.  Yesterday it was 108º F.....

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Secret Weapon for Floriferousness??

Not being one to hide rose hybridizing secrets, I wonder if a dirty greenhouse roof has been advantageous?  As the greenhouse has aged (now 21 years old), the original roof covering has become very dirty and discolored.  It is almost like having a shade cloth over the entire greenhouse.  I had considered replacing the roof a couple of years ago, but when I learned that the cost would be almost as much as the original greenhouse, I decided to wait.  For me, floriferousness ranks right up with disease resistance as being a top trait to select for in breeding.  I have found that seedlings that bloom well in the greenhouse do even better outside.  The photos below are of a few new 2017 seedlings blooming in the greenhouse this year.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Like Menacing Clouds...

Hulthemia petals at 400X seem to forebode stormy weather on the way.

Above are shown the surface cells of a Hulthemia seedling along the junction of the blotch with the rest of the petal.  Some of the cells are very darkly pigmented.

Further from the leading edge of the blotch these deeply pigmented cells (seen at 40X below) may be surrounded by non-blotch cells. 

All of the photos here are of fresh naked petals (no cover slip or preservative was used) to allow for better representation of the surface architecture.  The close-up shots reveal a myriad of color intensities present, reminiscent of a Pointillism work by French artist Seurat.

A more tangential shot of a petal, shown below, is of the Hulthemia seedling described in Heat and Sun Tolerant Blotch.  There is so much texture to the surface that it looks like a million marbles racing down a slope.

Yes, this wannabe botanist scientist is having fun with his new microscope!  :)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Culling 2017 Seedlings

Culling seedlings, especially later in the season, can be difficult.  Once an unpropagated seedling is culled, it is gone forever.  Since we have been out of town recently, I am quite far behind on my culling.  This seedling was happily blooming yesterday despite the 14 consecutive days of having 100+ºF temperatures.  I don't think that it will be culled anytime soon.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Heat and Sun Tolerant Blotch

I've been keeping an "eye" on this new 2016 seedling while it has continued to develop outside the greenhouse this summer into something interesting.  It is exhibiting one of the best heat tolerant blotches that I have seen.  An added bonus is that it seems quite floriferous. 

The photo below was taken yesterday on the eleventh consecutive day where the temperature achieved 100ºF, or hotter, with nighttime temperatures in the 70's to 80's range during the period.

The photos directly below are of the same seedling taken on June 20th when the temperature reached 110ºF.  However, since on the week prior we had had nighttime temperatures down into the mid 60's, I was uncertain whether the blotch would continue to do well after an extended period of very warm nighttime and daytime temperatures.  I now have the answer!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Successful Cross!

This blog post highlights a "family" of new 2017 seedlings coming from a cross that I made last year between two of my unnamed seedlings.  It was the first time that I crossed these two roses and I wish that I had made the cross earlier because there are so many in the group that I really like.  I've had the seed parent for 10 years.  It came from a cross between the seed parent of 'Thrive!', code named G168-2, and 'Julia Child'.  The pollen parent used for this family of seedlings is 5 years old and it came from a cross of a seedling of 'Thrive!' combined with 'Double Knock Out'®.

The entire cross is coded as follows:

[('Marmalade Skies' x 'Baby Love') x 'Julia Child'] x <|'Thrive!' x {'Halo Today' x ['Geisha' x ('Tobo' x 'Singing' in the Rain')]}| x 'Double Knock Out'®>.  

Please note that the seed parent coded above is pink, while the pollen parent is blue.

Of course since 'Thrive!' has 'Marmalade Skies' X 'Baby Love' in it's ancestry, the seedlings used in the cross have some recent ancestors in common.

The reason for this post is to underline the importance of "finding" good crosses.  I have made plenty of crosses that I thought would produce good seedlings, only to throw out the entire batch.  So the process really is one of trial and error.  I suppose it is part of what makes rose breeding so fun!

Each of the following seedlings came from the cross noted above.

There is a clear family resemblance among these different seedlings.  The family includes a few that are pink and some that have only 5 petals, but these five have the traits that I am looking for.  They all seem floriferous and are resistant to powdery mildew.  The next step will be to test them against black spot and other diseases outside.  The least vigorous of these may be discarded before the end of the year. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

First 2017 "Wow" Seedling

Having bred roses now for almost 30 years, I have learned that one shouldn't get excited about rose seedlings in their first year.  Most rose seedlings, even the ones that look great in the early seedling stage have something that disqualifies them later on from further scrutiny.  Ultimately, the vast majority of seedling roses are discarded.

There are always a couple however, that get my attention on seeing their first bloom without even trying.  Although I resist, I am taken aback and can't help but say "wow!"  This seedling did that for me.

It is a cross of a proprietary Hulthemia seed parent with 'Shining Moment'.  I planted several hundred seeds from this cross and although there are others in this family that I am watching, at the moment, this seedling stands out.  It's larger size is demonstrated in the photos that follow.  And it is fragrant!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

RADsweet Hulthemia

I love using some of Will Radler's roses in my breeding program.  He has done amazing work to help clean up roses available on the market.  One of my favorites of his to use in crosses is RADsweet, AKA 'Alaska'.  In my climate it has very good black spot resistance, but unlike the original 'Knock Out'® rose, it also has good powdery mildew resistance.  Two other things that I have noticed about RADsweet is that it can produce yellow seedlings and it does a better job of accepting the blotch than most of the other Radler roses.  The one below was used extensively in my breeding program this year.  Please notice the beautiful and clean foliage.  If you have the opportunity to find it and you are a rose breeder, consider using 'Alaska' in your breeding program.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mothers Day!

This is directed especially and foremost to my Mom, Shirley Bade Sproul.  Happy Mothers Day!!  Thank you for your strength, love and determination for all of these years.  I love you!

Celebrating too this day with my wife, Heather Sproul, for her love and dedication to our children.  I love you!

And, thankful for my sisters, Kathy Sproul Bottjen and Sammie (Karen) Sproul Rasmussen, and to my sisters-in-law, Jan Mullikin Sproul and Kathy Fevig Sproul, for their example of love and mothering to their children.  I love you too!

For all of us today, may we identify those women who have been mothers to us, whether biological or not.  Happy Mothers Day!!!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

More New 2017 Seedlings

There are still many more new seedlings blooming everyday for the first time.  Some of these will be "keepers", at least for awhile. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

New 2017 Seedlings

I had missed culling for the last 2 or 3 days, so I had my work cut out for me today.  In the before and after photos, about 600 seedlings have been culled.

Here are some of the survivors for now.