Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bulbophyllum echinolabium

Contrary to popular perceptions, I do grow more than just roses. Behold: Bulbophyllum echinloabium, an Orchid native to Sulawesi and Celebes. My friend Helene owns Briggs Hill Orchids in Eugene, OR, and that is where my plant came from. I believe this was seed grown, and this is the first time it has bloomed in the two-plus years I have been culturing it. The bloom you see here is about 12" tall from tip to tip, but this species can produce blooms twice that size as it matures. Its "fragrance" is not unlike that of some deceased sea creature decaying on a warm beach. Lovely. (It looks better than it smells, if that wasn't clear)

Sunday, December 26, 2010



If you attempt to look up the pedigree of the David Austin roses of the past decade or so, that is what you'll see. As a "fellow explorer" in rose genetics, (No, I am not drawing any comparisons between myself and Mr. Austin) I find that rather annoying and disappointing. I'd like to know what went into the making of some of his current roses. Perhaps he is just protecting what he regards as "proprietary information", or maybe he just doesn't want us to know that he is using the likes of 'Fragrant Cloud' or (gawd forbid) 'Tropicana' to achieve his results. Who knows.

I gravitate much more towards Ralph Moore's way of thinking about such matters. Allow me to paraphrase him: What have I got to lose by sharing information about parentage of my roses? You can see my "recipe" for a rose, but without my personal "ingredients", you can't make the same "cake". And besides, by the time a rose makes it to market, I've already moved ahead by six or eight years or more, and so why would I care if someone tried to duplicate my results?

Makes sense to me. I'd rather describe in a fair bit of detail what I am working on and how I am getting there. Half the fun is getting pleasing results, the other half is sharing what I've learned in the process.

And just because it doesn't feel right to write a blog post without a picture, we have today: 19-02-03 from a cross of 'Joycie' X 'Crepuscule'.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Better version of recent slideshow

Of course, I should have posted this video version of my rose photo book on YouTube in the first place, for its improved quality. It can be viewed full screen at 720HD if you wish, and you can pause the video if you want to read the text. I hope you like it. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Touring the photo library, Part II

53-03-08: ('Tuscany Superb' X 'Othello') X 'The Yeoman'.

As you can probably decipher from the code number of this one (cross #53, year 2003, seedling #8 of that cross) I have had this for several years now and I've been watching its performance in the garden. I made the cross hoping for a percentage of repeaters, and yet none of the dozen or so I kept for testing have been repeaters. However, this one has other merits: it is totally Blackspot free (that is remarkable in this climate, where Blackspot rules) and is an aesthetic winner. It also bears a delicious fragrance, influenced by (but not a carbon copy replica of) its pollen parent, 'The Yeoman', whose Anise-scented blooms are anathema to some, and heaven-on-earth to others.

I have started propagating 53-03-08 and have sent a few plants out for testing on other regions. I don't exactly plan on releasing this commercially; I mean, do we really need more once-blooming pink roses? (Obviously rhetorical: my answer is no) Still, it is a lovely, easy to care for shrub. It appears to max out at about 7 feet tall and a bit wider, with an arching outline and no inclination to sucker widely.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

December treat.

43-09-02: 'Golden Glow' X 'Morden Sunrise'.

The idea here is improved winter hardiness in the yellow color range. Both parents are renowned for their ability to thrive in harsh, wintry climates, and so I hope to see some of that persist in this cross. At this point only two seedlings remain, and this is the nicer one of the two. Curiously, it has inherited the peculiar Cinnamon-like fragrance of its Canadian parent, 'Morden Sunrise'.
Its rather nice to have a late December bloom as pretty as this, just before Christmas. One might almost think spring was just around the corner. (HAH!)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sorting through my photo library.

I have so many photos I have to organize, its not funny. Most of it is documentation of the rose garden; seedlings and named varieties. I found this image from '08, illustrating my oldest specimen of 'Joyce Barden' my first commercial introduction from 1999.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Revisiting old work

A seedling from around 2000: 'Charles de Mills' X 'La Belle Sultane'. It has been nicknamed "Farside deMills", a name that distinguishes it from its neighbors, by proximity.

This is a once-blooming hybrid, suckering growth habit, making an ever-widening thicket of 3 foot tall canes. You can see the influence of 'La Belle Sultane' in its Damask-like sepals, while the bloom form is clearly that of its seed parent. A lovely thing, although it has languished in test bed #1 for many years, having been disqualified for commercial purposes. (too hasty, perhaps?) Maybe I ought to auction off naming rights....hmmm.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rosy slideshow

With Spring seemingly so far away, I thought it would be nice to share a slideshow of garden photos. Enjoy!

This is a movie made using the content from a self-published book of my rose photos, entitled The Uncommon Rose Collection, published December 2010. There is a high resolution version available on YouTube here as well.