A few years back, Kim Rupert graciously shared with me one of his experimental hybrids, 'Orangeade' X R. fedtschenkoana, a white flowered species-like hybrid designed to be used as a breeder plant. It took a while for my plant to settle into its invironment, but settle in it did! It is now a thicket (ever-spreading, I might add) about 8 feet across and 10 feet high. Contrary to expectations for such a cross, it does rebloom, although only modestly. Mine does not set seed, but offers potently fertile pollen.
The cross 54-08, made in 2008, combined this fedtschenkoana hybrid with 'Midnight Blue', a marvelous Carruth hybrid with a deliciously mixed pedigree. (I look at hybrids with widely varied genetic backgrounds as an indicator of potential health and vigor; stirring the same old pot of genes is deadly)
54-08-03 was one of the first of about ten seedlings to bloom, and one of about four that I have selected for further breeding. Blooms are actually more lavender than they appear in photos. I recently germinated the first seedlings of crosses using this seedling, and some of its siblings. I don't know where this breeding line is going to end up taking me, but the R. fedtschenkoana genes are proving to be capable of imparting unique foliage, architecture and vigor traits to offspring. Seedlings also tend to hold on to the unusual "linseed oil" scent of the species parent. Not everyone is going to appreciate this fragrance, but I like its uniqueness. The foliage also tends to have a Pine-Cedar scent to it.
Busy day ahead; breeding has begun in earnest in the past 24 hours, as the main stud house explodes into bloom. I must go attend!