Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Beautiful Losers

Seedling # 03-06-07: 'Hot Cocoa' X 'Dragon's Blood'. Few seeds from this cross germinated, and this is the sole survivor of the lot.

I can't quite make the photograph reflect the subtleties of hue that the bloom actually possesses; its not just a red, its that odd shade of Chinese red with an overlay of "smoke bush" purple that several of the "brown" roses has. Not even Photoshop can tweak it to accuracy. Oh well.

So, why the title of this post? Because I have been watching this seedling for three years now (pollinated in 2006, germinated in April of 2007) and I've been hoping it might eventually show some vigor and enthusiasm. It hasn't. It has never exceeded 18" tall and prefers to flower rather than build infrastructure. It also tends to die back rather badly even in our mild winters. I can just hear what you're thinking: maybe it just needs to be budded onto stronger roots? Well, yes....odds are that would improve its performance, but Since the rose industry is in such trouble now, I am insisting that any of my selections have to prosper on their own roots. Bud grafting just isn't an option anymore. Distribution of new cultivars may soon be the job of the many small "boutique" and home-grown nurseries, and few (if any) of those nurseries are going to have the ability or the willpower to propagate by bud grafting; it will all fall to propagation by cuttings. I need to pay attention to that, and assume that is where the future of commercial roses lies.

Anyway, it is a remarkable flower when it is doing well, with its 'Pat Austin' shaped cupped blooms and its muted cinnabar hued petals. Its just a shame the damn thing doesn't grow worth a hoot. Maybe it has something to offer as a pollen parent, maybe I'll give that a try next Spring.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Great Fall color

This year I germinated two seeds from a cross of R. arkansana X 'Carlin's Rhythm', a tetraploid species X a modern tetraploid shrub descended from the Basye thornless breeding line. Neither of these two seedlings has flowered yet, but both are very attractive compact plants (so far) with the promise of a good growth habit. Although I've not seen the blooms yet, I know one thing for sure: I like the Fall foliage color! WOW!

Click for a full-sized image.