Monday, April 25, 2011

A Ralph Moore gem

It's the last week in April, and like clockwork, Ralph's old moss hybrid "Orange Moss" is in bloom once again. (Ralph often referred to it as simply "OM") It is one of the first roses to bloom in the stud house and it never fails to enthuse me when it opens that first half dozen intensely pigmented blooms. It seems so perfectly right to me that the richly fragrant blooms have a scent much like the "orange juice" fragrance of 'Soleil d'Or'. Undoubtedly this is not a coincidence, as the latter can be found in the pedigree of Orange Moss. Parentage is 'Mark Sullivan' X 'Golden Moss'. The moss pollen parent is a Pedro Dot hybrid. Dot, in many ways, shared a great deal with Moore, creatively, pursuing all manner of offbeat breeding lines, daring to invent what no-one else had imagined possible.

Although this is an awkward grower with wiry long canes that leap out ten feet in all the wrong directions, it is a noteworthy footnote in Moore's development of the yellow and orange toned mini-mosses that followed in the subsequent forty years.

When used in breeding, Orange Moss is a difficult plant at best; it won't set seed with foreign pollen, and the offspring are often uniformly dreadful. (Ralph insisted that he never got viable seed of any kind from it, although in 2010 I germinated three open pollinated seeds from it) Indeed, it must have been that one lucky seedling in 500 that showed any promise. It is a testament to Moore that he was able to coerce this unruly once-bloomer to sire anything of value at all.

By the way, pollen will be available upon request, for those brave enough to make use of it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Paul, for maintaining this monster! I remember that fragrance! And, the wonderful fruity scent of the moss and new growth tips. Not a great garden rose, but one which I sought out each visit to Sequoia in hopes of finding new growth, buds and even flowers on it. What a wonderful 'blast from the past'! Thanks! Kim