Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Old dogs and new tricks, part IV

A big part of what I do involves experimentation; trying unlikely combinations and testing proprietary seedlings to see what they can do. Often, this also involves dredging up very old cultivars to throw into the mix. Today's post is a creature that covers pretty much all of these territories.

120-06-02 = 174-02-17 X "Grandma's Hat". The seed parent is discussed here in a previous post. This cross was done to do several things: 1) determine what qualities the seed parent was capable of passing on, 2) to see how two extremely different roses would behave when mated, and 3) to determine if any of the health aspects of "Grandma's Hat" could be transmitted to offspring. "Grandma's Hat" is an old Bourbon/Hybrid Perpetual that was rediscovered a number of years ago, and much speculation exists over its true identity. For the most part we can only make guesses. Whatever its true identity, it is a superb rose that in many climates is one of the healthiest of repeat blooming Old Garden Roses one could wish to grow. It repeats generously, has good vigor and an outstanding fragrance. Whats not to like?!

The seed parent is a cross of a miniature and the Bracteata hybrid 'Out of Yesteryear'. I have not used it a lot in breeding till 2006 when I decided it was time to explore its qualities more aggressively. I got three seedlings from it with "Grandma's Hat" as the pollen parent, and the seedling pictured here interests me a great deal. The color is richer than the photo suggests, being deeper and more of a true crimson than pink. The plant has good vigor and best of all, it is not getting any Blackspot (or Mildew) in the test garden, even with another seedling towering over it, raining down Blackspot spores. It also has an appreciable "old rose" fragrance. I am now testing it as a pollen parent with some of the better disease free roses I grow, like the Robert Basye hybrids.

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