Saturday, September 18, 2010

281-91-04: Ralph Moore's legacy of stripes.

One of the most important contributions Ralph Moore made to modern roses is striping. Before Ralph took on the task, there were really no striped roses of note aside from a few OGRs that displayed the characteristic. 'Ferdinand Pichard' (bred by Tanne, France, 1921) was about the most modern striped rose available to growers, and it was in fact 'Ferdinand Pichard' that Ralph turned to in order to mine its genetic secrets for striping. Moore's first successful cross used the Floribunda 'Little Darling' as the seed parent, as it so often turned out to be the rose that would repeatedly serve as a "door opener" for Moore, paving a way forward where other roses failed to deliver. (Note that by today's standards, 'Little Darling' is an imperfect rose with many flaws, and has largely been abandoned as a breeder. However, at the time Ralph was working with it, it offered unique opportunities: fertility, pliability and the ability to breed fertile offspring even when crossed with the most difficult cultivars.)

The seedling pictured above, a cross of 'Anytime' X 'Shadow Dancer', was gifted to me about 6 years ago by Ralph personally, as he was considering it as a commercial introduction and was seeking more feedback about its performance. (In Visalia, apparently, it grows as a climber, but here in my climate it has not exceeded four feet.) You can see the 'Anytime' coloring it its blooms, right down to the curious lavender cast often seen in the center of the aging blooms. It is generous with blooms and often flowers in clusters of 7 or more, making for quite a display. It has no fragrance (not surprising, considering its pedigree) but has decent foliage health and good vigor.

Unfortunately this seedling never did make it into commerce while Ralph was alive, but with Texas A&M now managing the vast Moore collection of un-introduced seedlings, it might yet have its day in commerce. For now, I will experiment with it as a breeding plant. My first tests indicate that it is quite willing to pass on those striking 'Ferdinand Pichard' stripes that Ralph worked so hard to distill.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice looking flowers. I like the light pink stripes, maybe just because white stripes are so common. Hopefully it makes it to market.