Friday, September 3, 2010

Little Treasures

Every once in a while you get a pleasant surprise exactly when you don't expect it. Last year, in an effort to concentrate more on developing a diploid breeding line with disease resistance, I collected a number of open pollinated seeds from 'Magic Wand' one of the well documented Moore breeders. It is one of the first generation of "Zee" hybrids; a "climbing" shrub with very small foliage and large panicles of tiny, deep pink blooms. Although 'Magic Wand' is a tall growing cultivar, it frequently breeds very dwarf offspring, regardless of the stature of the other parent. For me, it has potential value as a breeder because it is virtually indestructible in my climate, thriving with minimal care and resisting all three of the major fungal diseases without chemical assistance.

And so, I grew a population of open pollinated seed to see what traits it had to offer. Mostly, I expected to see a range of characteristics, both dominants and recessives, but I didn't expect to keep any of the seedlings. The one pictured here was most noteworthy, with its well-formed blooms, spotless foliage, dense, bushy growth habit and balanced scale of all plant parts (tiny). It didn't hurt that the blooms are remarkably sweet-scented for such tiny flowers. (Blooms do not exceed 0.5" in diameter) So, I'm keeping this feller. I've struck a few cuttings already and it roots in a matter of days (+- 8 days), which is even better.

Funny, isn't it, how these little gifts turn up in a body of work in the places you don't expect them. The surprise factor is probably what I enjoy most about the work I do. I imagine a lot of hybridizers feel the same way. :-) Oh, and one more thing: I have given it a nickname for now; a reference to a rose it resembles: 'Si', by Pedro Dot. I'm calling it "Si Plus Plus". I wonder how many people will get that pun?


  1. Divided between smiles and groans here (at the pun)

  2. It's a pretty huge improvement in flower form isn't it!!!

    Only the computer nerds will get the pun ;)

    Also... great photo too. Was this a 'studio' shot?

  3. Your Magic Wand photo at HMF is impressive indeed.

    Another rose that never crossed the pound...

  4. Hi Paul,

    I am the newsletter editor for the Olympia RS. You've allowed me to run your earlier writings on OGRs in my newsletter, and now I'm interested in running a series on current hybridizers. Mitchie Moe just sent me an article which I ran in my Sept. issue. I am very interested in your work! with modern OGRs, and the local natives especially. I bought your 'Treasure Trail' this year and it's in its second flush, in its first year from a little band! Could you shoot me an email, at editor "at", if you're interested in sending me articles I could run?

  5. Simon,
    No, this photo was taken out in the greenhouse on a semi-foggy morning, around 10 AM. No special tricks used, just careful exposure and a bit of a contrast bump in post processing.

  6. Any chance this beauty will show up for sale at RVR in the next season or two? I love micros & would love to add this one to my garden.

  7. Sally,
    Well, in a word, no. At this point, I find it is taking a minimum of four years from first year cull till I deem a variety ready to go to market. Even at four years I regard that as "the fast track"; many roses I am planning to introduce were bred nearly ten years ago. Sorry, but you can expect it will be at least a couple of years before this rose is available, if ever. It has to meet a number of criteria that can be evaluated only over an extended period of time.

    But I'm glad this appeals to you! Thats good to know :-)