Sunday, May 10, 2009

In search of better moss shrubs: 90-02-02

This seedling is another of my moss shrubs, bred in 2002. It came out of a cross of 'Condoleezza' X "Nutshop", back when 'Condoleezza' was still just an un-named test variety Sequoia had sent to me for evaluation. The pollen parent, "Nutshop" is also a Moore moss shrub bred from ('Schoener's Nutkana' X 'Christopher Stone') X "Orange Moss" and its code number is 25-59-7. It earned the nickname "Nutshop" from Burling Leong and Kim Rupert who found it growing on the Sequoia Nursery property years ago, overgrown by other plants and long forgotten. "Nutshop" is a once blooming pink and yellow moss rose, with good shrub architecture and dark, almost black mossing. It passes on repeat flowering to many of its offspring if mated with the right rose. I have used it only as a pollen parent, although it does set open pollinated seed.

I have been watching 90-02-02 for years now, always hoping it would perform better with each passing year, but I have to conclude that its a dud. It is a low growing plant (under 2 feet) with awkward growth and mediocre, sparse foliage. The mossing is quite good and the buds when half open are a beautiful flame red with a yellow reverse. The blooms have a unique "orange juice-ish" scent that was no doubt inherited from "Orange Moss".
When full open, the blooms fade to a pink and pale yellow combination which unfortunately tend to scorch in the sun. Hence, a dud.

However, this cross was only a test cross and only a half dozen seedlings were raised. I don't know why I never pursued it further, since this seedling shows potentially better things might be had from such a cross. This could be an instance where a much better seedling might be had if I grew out 100 seedlings or more to select from, and so I think I will repeat the cross again this year to see if something better might be had.


  1. To get 100 seedlings or so from a cross how many flowers do you pollinate on average. And if something turns up that is great do you repeat that cross once more or do you stop there.

  2. That really depends on what the track record of the seed parent is like. If I was to use 'Sequoia Ruby' for example, I would need to pollinate maybe 20 or 25 blooms to guarantee 100 seedlings since nearly every seed it makes germinates. So it all depends on the seed parent. Sometimes you have to just guess and hope.

    I have fallen into a pattern of planning crosses in two year cycles, which is to say that if I want to try a cross and I am very uncertain of its viability, I will just pollinate ten blooms or so and see what happens, If the seeds germinate poorly, or not at all, I don't bother trying to repeat it. Sometimes you look at a large population of seedlings from a cross and you select ten from it and they are all very similar, in which case I wouldn't likely repeat the cross, assuming I got the best it had to offer. If I only got 5 seedlings and they all looked very different and very interesting, I would definitely repeat the cross in larger numbers.