Sunday, May 18, 2014

More fun "discoveries" from a lovely, sunny, "cooler" Sunday morning...

I've been making "out there" crosses for years. Many "what if?" combinations have been generated with many either returning few decent results, nor none at all. That can be frustrating, but also inspiring. I'm sure you're familiar with the old saying, "If at first you don't succeed, you need a bigger hammer!" That's pretty much what I have done. Collect much more pollen of the desired "fathers" and more heavily pollinate the desired "mothers" and it appears to have given some promising results. These are all in the seed tables. The crosses were accomplished in 2013 and all have germinated since planting last December, making the oldest seedlings about five months old. 

Pretty Lady is an extremely healthy plant in my climate. Fortunately, it's also very fertile, both as seed and as pollen parent. The stated parentage includes R. Davidii elongata  which has helped give Baby Love, then Pretty Lady their increased black spot resistance, at least to a number of black spot strains. It isn't a cure all for black spot, but definitely the beginning of building improved combinations of black spot resistance. 

One of the crosses I made which honestly excited me resulted in these lovely seedlings. Pretty Lady X 1-72-1Hugonis produced this lovely foliage. 

I know they are actual crosses between the two parents as the seeds were harvested from Pretty Lady. The color, leaf shape, texture and prickles all point right back to the Hugonis hybrid parent. The foliage is very healthy in a difficult situation of trapped humidity within the seed table. When the sun shines on the box, it is direct, extreme and intense. Even using a moisture control soil, it can dry out quite quickly and the seedlings can fry to death, but these are remaining healthy, vigorous and beautiful. None have flowered yet, so I have no idea what coloring nor flower shapes to expect, but pretty much anything in the white to pastels should be possible. 

IHTxLB is a Robert Rippetoe Banksiae hybrid he shared with me several years ago. Robert has some lofty breeding goals and has created some beautiful, incredibly imaginative seedlings. I love the deep purple, single flowers; the healthy, dark, bluish-green foliage and the open habit of the plant. Fortunately, it is very fertile and has accepted a wide range of pollen. 

This seedling is also a definite cross between the two parents. The seed parent (mother) combines International Herald Tribune, a rose I imported from the Harkness Nursery back in 1984-85. It figures prominently in almost all the dark purple roses introduced in the past fifteen plus years. International Herald Tribune contains genes from R. Californica, the California native species rose; and several purple, orange and yellow Hybrid Teas and floribundas. The pollen parent for Robert's seedling was Lila Banks, a result of his putting pollen from a friend's creation named "The Monster"  on Lilac Charm, a British mauve floribunda introduced in the early sixties from LeGrice, and supposedly also containing R. Californica genes. IHTxLB combines Old Blush, R. Banksiae, R. Californica, a few doses of Grey Pearl, orange, yellow and various mauve modern roses. The pollen I used was from R. Fedtschenkoana, with its wonderful silvery-turquoise foliage and "ghostly" white flowers. You can definitely see the Fedtschenkoana prickles and foliage in this seedling. With any luck, it might even have mauve, to (hopefully!) purple blooms and might even offer some repeat. 
The Towhees, a native, "pain in the ear" bird, found digging up the soil in the seed tables irresistible, so I've had to leave the screen cover on this table a bit too long. This and several other overly vigorous seedlings have grown through the screen. I will have to cut openings in it to permit removal without damaging the plants. You can see the definite Fedtschenkoana influence and this one is absolutely vigorous! 

Another in the same table, also suffering from having grown up through the screen is a cross between the white sport of Secret called Secret's Out! and R. Fedtschenkoana. Again, the Fedtschenkoana character is obvious. I know this is a definite cross. 
Cal Poly can pass on yellow blooms as well as significantly reduced totally prickle-free seedlings. This is Cal Poly X 1-72-1Hugonis. When using the more modern rose as seed parent, you may not obtain quite as full a cross due to potentially mismatched chromosome count, and it's more possible to create triploids, three sets of genes rather than even numbered pairs, which might result in reduced fertility, but definitely not always, but it's tremendously easier to determine if the seedling is an actual cross instead of a self seedling. The Hugonis character is obvious in this seedling. From the lineage, I expect the flower to be some shade of yellow. 
Normally, I would not have pollinated Cal Poly with 1-72-1Hugonis because it represents a double dose of 1-72-1, which might result in more of a climbing habit. 1-72-1 is a cross of Little Darling, which can be rangy, and Yellow Magic, a semi climbing yellow miniature. Cal Poly is more dwarf and bushy, but has sported to a climbing form, so climbing plants are possible. 1-72-1Hugonis is a tall plant. Hopefully the more dwarf, bushy genes predominate in this seedling, and the introduction of the Hugonis genes helps dilute the doubled Little Darling and Yellow Magic genes. Hugonis is definitely "in there", as evidenced by the foliage shape, texture and color as well as the prickles. 

This seedling has been stunted by the screen the previous seedlings have grown through, but it appears to want to be taller. It resulted from Pink Petticoat X R. Fedtschenkoana. Another obvious actual cross as evidenced by the foliage and prickles. No flowers yet, but they could be anything from pinkish-orange tones all the way through white.

 Fedtschenkoana has the ability to bleach out flower pigments quite easily, which is why I continue searching for the darker flower on the silvery-turquoise foliage. So far, the best result has been Paul Barden's Fedlav-01, his cross of my Orangeade X Fedtschenkoana seedling with Midnight Blue. My own seedling using DLFED 3, the mossy Dottie Louise X Fedtschenkoana seedling with pollen from Blue for You, resulted in a plant with lovely silvery-turquoise foliage, but none of the violet tones hoped for. Midnight Blue did appear to help remove the "mossing" from the buds as they are completely smooth. 

 It appears to be fertile as it has set large, red-orange hips. Whether there are many or few seeds, or even if any seeds present will germinate, we shall see next year. 
Not as easily seen due to the screen lid being stuck on the seed table until I cut holes for the other seedlings to pass through, this seedling between Golden Angel and 1-72-1Hugonis is the one I'm really excited to see mature. Golden Angel has a great ability to pass on the character of the pollen parents used on it. Take a look at Ralph Moore's Golden Angel X R. Californica nana hybrid. My hope is this might produce a more dwarf, hopefully repeat flowering Hugonis hybrid without the drawbacks of the doubled genes the previous Cal Poly X 1-72-1Hugonis seedling may express. 
This cross was made with the intention of adding the Fedtschenkoana foliage to the violet bloom. It's difficult to determine how much of a real "hybrid" it is and how much of a self crossing it might be as I've not raised seedlings from Werner von Blon until this batch. This is a relatively recent (1993) polyantha from Germany. There is no stated parentage nor are there any documented offspring. This seedling does demonstrate a different foliage texture, color and petal width, texture and color from the seed parent, but little of what I would have through Fedtschenkoana should have provided. I'll have to watch it to see if the species character becomes more apparent with maturity. So far, I do like the results! I've not detected enough scent to determine if any of the "Linseed Oil" scent from Fedtschenkoana is present. 

In a previous entry, I posted about the Pink Petticoat X 1-72-1Hugonis seedling which flowered for the first time this past week. This is its sister seedling. It is definitely a hybrid between the miniature and species hybrid, but it isn't expressing the hybrid vigor of the sibling. I've had to move the plant to the front yard where I can better protect it from the severity of the western, afternoon sun. The growth is still too thin to endure hours of relentless sun. Perhaps with some maturity it will become less susceptible to being fried in weather extremes? We'll see. 

I find the blue tones of the foliage and reddish bronze of the new growth and prickles more attractive than those of the larger, huskier sister seedling. 

Lynnie X R. Arkansana "Peppermint". This cross was meant to see if Peppermint's stippling might express itself in its seedlings. 
The next two Springs are definitely going to be fun!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Unexpected results from mini X species cross

R. Hugonis is one of my "fascinations" and has been for some time. I raised my 1-72-1Hugonis hybrid some years ago and enjoy its flowering each spring. I've raised a few seedlings from it, but it wasn't until 2013 it began providing some really interesting results. 

I posted previously about the red, single, repeat flowering seedling. This germinated at the same time as that seedling, only from a different cross. Pink Petticoat is a very health, prolific miniature bred by Gene Strawn and introduced by Pixie Treasures back in 1979. I polled several folks several years ago, whose opinions I highly respect, about what minis were the healthiest for them, and which yielded good, solid seedlings. Pink Petticoat was a universal favorite. 

I pollinated Pink Petticoat in earnest with everything I found interesting. This seedling was a very early surprise! It definitely has first generation hybrid vigor! None of the other seedlings expressed anything approaching its vigor. This is the plant one year from germination. It's planted in (and rapidly outgrowing!) a seven gallon nursery can. 

The foliage is beautiful and completely healthy in this climate. All the plant parts are quite large. 

I search it daily for evidence of any buds, and was thrilled to find ONE a few weeks ago. It's taken its time opening..from this...
to this in three weeks.

After two rather hot days (mid nineties) and watering the can daily, this greeted me this morning. 

There wasn't any scent to perceive in the cooler morning air, but two hours later, it had a nose full! Quite sweet with tones of lemon zest and it lasted through several "sniffings". The color seemed to enjoy the increased heat and light, too. 

There are a few anthers which appear to contain some pollen. The stigma also appears as if it might accept some pollen. 

I like how decorative these first sepals are and how they give this bloom the "high-shouldered look". 

1-72-1Hugonis is nearly prickle-free, except for the odd cane expressing enormous, red prickles. Pink Petticoat has prickles, but not an over abundance of them. This seedling expresses heavier prickles toward the lower portions of the canes. The top growing ends are nicely low in them.

After being unable to find the Double Hugonis and it had seemed impossible to bring Dr. E. M. Mills back into the country, I figured I would have to create my own double version of Hugonis. Of course I will be keeping an eye on this one! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Continuing obsession...

R. Minutifolia is one of the most beautiful and interesting roses I have encountered. It's unlike any other, with its tiny foliage and how it "hop scotches" across the ground instead of suckering. 

After a cane has flowered, it bends over to touch the ground, much like a peanut plant. Once the tip contacts suitable soil, it roots, "hop scotching" across the ground. 

Minutifolia is completely healthy in the two areas I've grown it. Reportedly, it dislikes summer water, however I've had great success growing it in the ground as well as five gallon nursery containers in standard potting soil, providing it with the same water levels and frequencies I've provided all the other roses. This rose goes summer dormant. The tiny foliage and bristles permit it to capture moisture from the fogs. When moisture becomes truly scarce, the foliage dries up and is shed, reducing the water needs of the plant until the rains or fogs return. 

There are supposedly two, distinct forms of the species. The most commonly available is the San Diego form which has been propagated from the stand naturally occurring on Otay Mesa in San Diego County. It seldom sets seeds, appearing to be self sterile and possibly female sterile as well. It has refused every pollen I have ever placed on it. The other form is from the stand naturally occurring in Mexico. The Mexican form reportedly sets seed quite well. 

I've worked with R. Minutifolia for far too many years to count by now. Seeds have been generated, a few have actually germinated, yet none have survived. I've most frequently used its pollen to pollinate blooms on miniatures and the more fertile floribundas I prefer to use as seed parents. This year, I've even attempted to pollinate R. Fedtschenkoana with Minutifolia's pollen. 

Working with these tiny, prickly buds can be rather "frustrating". They're difficult to hold on to because they are so small to begin with. Add the bristles on the ovaries which make them incredibly slippery and you can imagine what it's like to collect pollen from a large quantity of them. Fortunately, or unfortunately, my four plants seldom provide "large" numbers of buds at one time. 

Finding these tiny buds among the minute foliage can be quite difficult. 

It isn't as difficult when they appear at the terminal ends of the canes as it is when they hide among the tiny leaves along the canes. 

The batch of buds pictured above finally provided their harvest after more than half an hour of "micro surgery". After two days of air drying on a piece of paper, it was back out in the garden to spread their golden dust in this year's attempts at finally raising seedlings containing their genes. Wish me luck!