Tuesday, May 26, 2020

New Hulthemia Seed Parent Selection and Cross

This 2018 seedling sets hips marvelously well.  Code named "V6", I think that every bloom could produce a hip if I let it, and being a very floriferous seedling, this one could produce a ton of hips.  The blooms when they first open are yellow with a very dark central blotch.  As they age, the yellow becomes a darker apricot color with pink tones.



I decided to test it's germination rate and was very pleased to find that germination was sufficient to bring it into the breeding program as a new seed parent.  From 10 hips, there were 181 seeds that were extracted (see seed parent listed below, "V6 large blotch").  Of these, 41 germinated (22.65%).  

The germination rate may seem a bit lower than ideal, but looking at the other statistics, you get a different picture.  On average, I get about 9 seeds per hip overall in my breeding program.  If the "V6" hips contained an average number of seeds, I would have planted about 90 seeds (9 seeds/hip with 10 hips harvested).  If there were 41 seedlings coming from 90 seeds, the germination rate would be 45.56% which is a very respectable germination rate.  In the end, when selecting for a good seed parent, I consider the number of seedlings that I get per cross, since making the crosses in the first place is one of the more labor intensive activities to this rose breeding hobby.  Remember too that this seedling sets hips very easily, while some other seed parents abort many of their hips.  I am most interested in being as efficient as possible with the crosses that I make.....

So, what to cross with this new seed parent??

Although I am using a handful of pollen parents in crosses with "V6", my most anticipated cross is with 'Ringo', a newly introduced rose to the U.S. ‘Ringo’ (AKA ‘Eye of the Tiger’) is a single petal Hulthemia bred by Chris Warner, and is new to me this year. Because of it’s excellent disease resistance, ‘Ringo’ has won several international awards. It is the first new Hulthemia from another breeder that I have added to my breeding program in many years. I am interested in it's cleanliness (immediately below is a photo of 'Ringo', followed by photos of "V6" blooms that have been prepared for pollination).

My favorite number of petals for a Hulthemia to be most attractive, while able to show off it's blotch, is somewhere between 10-15 petals.

With all of this in mind, I set up the cross between "V6" and 'Ringo' in hopes of producing very clean, floriferous Hulthemia seedlings with heat stable blotches, having good coloring and with 10-15 petals.  From the many crosses that I've made, all that I need is just one.... 😀

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Making of 'Baby Dainty Bess'

Before naming a rose, it is a very long process.  First there is the cross to make between one rose and another.  Then you have to wait until the seeds ripen.  Harvesting the hips comes next. Then comes extraction of the seeds and cold stratification in the refrigerator for a few weeks.  And, finally you get to plant the seeds.  The process continues however, with seedling selection.  Evaluation of the best seedlings involves answering many questions:  Is it attractive? Are there other roses just like it, or is this one unique in some way? Does it get diseases? Is it fragrant? Does it bloom well and have vigor?  Will it "own root" easily so that it can be propagated?  For exhibitors, you may ask additional questions: Will it show?  Will the blooms last?  Do people want to grow it?

This rose, previously known to me as "S244-1", seemed to pass all of the tests for a single petal rose ("single petal" means that each bloom only has 5 petals). The naming of this rose was easy for me since this seedling looked just like a "baby" version of the popular, single hybrid tea rose named, 'Dainty Bess'.  

Now we have a 'Baby Dainty Bess'!

The last step of the evaluation process for me was checking on it's ease of propagation.  I do not treat cuttings with a rooting hormone.  I figure that if a seedling rose is able to root well without any hormones, that the easy rooting trait is an additional "plus".  The cuttings below were "stuck" on June 10th.  

Three weeks later, they were removed from the misting chamber and transplanted into pots on July 1st.  

Already, on July 13th as seen below, the transplanted cuttings of 'Baby Dainty Bess' were putting out excellent growth.  

One week later, these produced their first new blooms.  The early new blooms are washed out looking and are lacking the darker colored filaments that will be present on the more mature plants in a few weeks.  

I haven't seen a seedling that roots and propagates as easily as 'Baby Dainty Bess' in a long time.  I hope that someday you can enjoy this rose as much as I do.  

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Waiting a Long Time for Blooms...

One of the things that makes rose breeding so fun is that usually it is not a very long wait to see new blooms after the baby roses sprout.  In fact most seedling roses will bloom in only 8-10 weeks after germinating.  That is the kind of wait that I can manage.

It doesn't work out that way though when you work with species, or near species type roses.  Seedlings may not bloom for a year or more after germinating in species crosses.  The seedling in the photo above is finally developing buds in it's third year of growing. It first sprouted in the greenhouse in 2016.  It germinated from a batch of seeds from a seed parent that typically produces the modern types that bloom in just a few weeks after sprouting.  Usually, from modern rose crosses, I will not keep these types of seedlings that refuse to bloom in the first year.  This seedling was different however, in that it appeared extremely clean, it was very vigorous, and it seemed to produce little to no thorns.  I thought that it would certainly bloom in 2017, but it did not.  Now with lots of buds forming, the long wait is over!  I expect that it will produce simple, 5 petalled pink blooms that will not be very spectacular.  As long as the blooms are not ugly, I will keep the plant to see if I can make a hedge of it.  I will post photos of the blooms when they open.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter! New life and new blooms...

The very first, brand new seedling bloom of the 2018 season, opened this morning. 

Some of the reasons why rose breeding has been so important to me is because it reminds me of God’s creative genius, of His beautiful earth and of the hope He provides for the future. I hope that you were able to have a wonderful day spent with family and friends!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Best of 2017 Seedlings

The 2018 rose seedlings are just beginning to show their first flower buds and should start blooming in 10-14 days (see second photo below).  In the meantime, here is a collage of some of the best from 2017.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

2018 Seedlings Are Growing!

The new 2018 seedlings are continuing to sprout and the earliest ones to sprout are already putting out their 5th to 6th leaflets.  That means that it won't be long now until the first rose buds appear - probably by next week!

As with every year, I plant many open pollinated seeds from some of my seedlings that produce a lot of hips to see if they germinate well.  I have decided to bring T31-1 into the breeding program because it sets lots of hips and the germination rate is excellent (see photo below).  It is from a cross of ('Midnight Blue' X "Basye's Thornless") x 'Blue For You'.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

'Honey Dijon' the Rose

When I first started breeding roses, I knew that as an amateur, I would have to focus on novel type roses to "get a foot in the door" since the major commercial rose breeders had their own well established breeding programs that produced the full range of classic rose types: hybrid teas, floribundas, climbers, shrubs and miniatures.  It was not hard for me to focus on novelty since my eye always seemed drawn to the unusual roses.  That being the case, my first real commercial rose variety was 'Honey Dijon'.  My objective in choosing the cross that led to 'Honey Dijon', was to develop a strong growing, golden brown rose.  I have found that rarely will I get the exact result that I am trying for in breeding roses, but was very lucky in choosing to cross the two roses 'Stainless Steel' and 'Singin' in the Rain' to get just what I was looking for.  'Honey Dijon' was released by Weeks Roses in 2005 and is still available in a couple of countries outside of the USA.  It may be making a comeback here in the USA since it's color is back in style.  The photo below is courtesy of Weeks Roses.

Although the plant below is not the original 'Honey Dijon' seedling (I lost that one several years ago), it is a first generation clone (meaning that the cutting was taken directly from the original seedling).  The poor old rose had probably not been pruned for 10 years or more.  This year I thought it was time to give the rose a good pruning and a chance to put on a nice spring show.  Something wonderful about roses is that the "old" can be made "new" again.  And in a way, if we are willing to grow, so can we!

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!  :)