... growing and hybridizing all kinds of plants in zone 6b Maryland since the 1980's.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dark Kale

Last Spring I tried starting some of my kale lines that I'd been working towards combining glossy foliage and purple pigment. Between damping off and a thrips infestation, I lost everything that sprouted. I didn't throw out the pots though and just let them dry out and wait a while. Later in the summer, water leaked down into the pot from something I'd set on top and a new wave of germinations started. This was the biggest of those seedlings. I planted it in the ground last Fall and caged it to protect from the rabbit population boom. It got a lot of the purple-ness but is not a glossy. There are a few glossy siblings still under lights in the basement and also two of the seedlings look like they might be from pollen of the Tuscan kale I'd also been growing. 
Here's a little closer picture

'Red Majesty' Gladiolus

I wanted some fire-engine red glads to try forcing for early bloom, to use for a mixed pollen experiment I've been planning. I found these 'Red Majesty' at the local Home Depot store and bought three boxes.
I was surprised to find that the corms are purple tinted - pretty cool looking!
 I wanted blooms to open late April into early May, so figuring 90-100 days back I started the first batch Jan 26. Saw the first sprouts coming above the soil line yesterday. I hope I've got it timed correctly. We'll see!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fish hybrids

Not plant related, but found these old pictures from when I was playing around with interspecies fish crosses (back 15 or 20 years ago). These hybrids came from virgin guppy females kept with various molly males. The three stripey looking ones on the left were from sailfin type molly. The other three are from a Gold-Dust Molly. All F1 offspring were male and I never got any further generations - I think they were relatively sterile - but you never know. So I thought maybe these pictures would inspire someone to give it a try.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Trail Cam Pictures

I'd been curious what might be living in the big hole behind the garden and Santa brought me a trail camera (Tasco 3MP Model# 119256CW) for Christmas, so... I set it up in movie mode and caught a quick little red fox zipping in to check out the hole one night. I don't think that it's the fox's home though because after the recent snow there were fox tracks all throughout the yard and not a track at all coming from that hole. Also I've had the camera staking out that hole quite a few nights and this is the only time the fox has popped in.
By the way, in case anyone else has this trouble (which is one of the reasons I'm posting this)... the camera went into LOCK mode and I couldn't get it to take any more pictures. It wouldn't let me reformat it in the camera either. I looked all over the web and couldn't find anything that would work to fix it. Finally, I just reformatted the SD card in our laptop and all is good again. Just go to "My Computer" and right mouse on the SD card. You should get an option to reformat that way.
Now I've got the camera set up to record where I toss our compostable kitchen stuff. The tracks were especially busy around there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Viola hybrids again

After quite a bit of cold already, the F1 from Viola arvensis X red pansy is still looking alright. This was planted from seed back in late summer 2013. It would probably look better if I gave it a trim, since it's gotten a little "leggy".

Here's a close-up of a couple new blooms - in spite of sub freezing temperatures and 4-5 inches of snow last Wednesday. 
The next three pictures are of some of the self-sown F2 that are also taking the cold without much care.


Should be a lot of bloom when Spring 2015 rolls around.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rosa moschata X wichuraiana

I was out in the sub-freezing weather on Wednesday cutting some brush and got a chance to check out how some of my older species rose hybrids were doing. I have three old F1 moschata X wichuraiana plants still alive but two of them aren't looking all that happy with being totally neglected - no care except for mowing on two sides of them. One of them however is happy as can be. It's a big shrubby thing and covered with hips. Here it is:
And keep in mind that just upwind to the west 20 ft away is a big plant (that's supposed to be Rosa soulieana - it didn't look like my previous plant of that species). But, just like my original soulieana, this one seems to be super susceptible to Rose Rosette Disease, because it's just covered in witches brooms. I wouldn't imagine that the F1 moschata X wichuraiana is immune but it must have at least some level of resistance (to the disease or the mites that spread it) being this close to such a huge source of infection and still being free of RRD. Here's that diseased "soulieana". I just turned around and took the picture, that's how close it is.
Here's a close-up of the hips on the still healthy F1 moschata X wichuraiana. I harvested these and hope to get them in the ground within a few days. 

 And I guess this one probably deserves to have some intentional crosses tried on it next season.

Viola arvensis X pansy

Last year's F1 seedlings from Viola arvensis X red pansy, not only made it through last winter with all the "polar vortex" craziness, but they also survived the summer heat which is even more unusual for pansies around here. Here's the clump of F1 seedlings at 21°F this morning - frozen solid.

 And here's a close up of a flowering shoot so you can see the "frozen spinach" look of the foliage. I don't know exactly just how cold it's been so far for sure, but I know it's at least been down to 16°F within the past week and blooms were still looking fresh and undamaged when the temperatures warmed back up afterwards.

Here's that same shoot close up later in the day when the temperature went above freezing again. The ground is still frozen underneath the surface, so I think it's having a hard time sending water up to the thawed out parts, but even so looks pretty unfazed. I'll try to get another picture once it's been above freezing long enough to thaw the ground too.