Monday, January 17, 2011
Ralph Moore and the Rugosa hybrids: 'Peach Candy'
'Peach Candy', bred by Moore, introduced by Sequoia Nursery in 1995. Parentage: 'Sheri Anne' X 'Topaz Jewel'.
Ralph Moore did considerable work in the past 20 years with various Rugosa hybrids. There wasn't a breeding line at Sequoia Nursery that didn't get some Rugosa genes injected into it at some stage. The results, of course, varied wildly; some were spectacularly unique, some were monsters with a renegade persona, some were tragic mutants that signaled a mismatch of genetics from widely divergent branches of the family tree. My recollection when discussing these breeding lines with Ralph is that many seedlings were troubled in some way and very, very few were noteworthy.
One of the most successful of the Hybrid Rugosas Ralph bred was 'Topaz Jewel', a stunning soft medium yellow hybrid from a cross of 'Golden Angel' X 'Belle Poitvine'. Many breeders, Ralph included, have sought to take 'Topaz Jewel' a step further in the hopes of generating a true yellow Rugosa hybrid that has the toughness of the Rugosas and the generous rebloom of more modern hybrids. Unfortunately that hasn't been easy. I know that some people continue to try to work with it, and in spite of the fact that it apparently is a diploid, (no aneuploidy as far as we know) it almost never sets any seed and its pollen rarely, if ever, results in seed set on other hybrids. Ralph himself produced but one hybrids from 'Topaz Jewel', the lovely 'Peach Candy' pictured here. It has none of the characteristics of its Rugosa pedigree (unless you count its reluctance to propagate from cuttings), looking like a rather ordinary peachy-hued Miniature.
Some goals, no matter how persistent the breeder, just aren't going to get you where you hoped to go. Still, it doesn't hurt to try.