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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Squash crossing

Planted 'Long Island Cheese' and 'Butternut' squash this season. Both are Cucurbita moschata type so should intercross easily. Last night, I got some flower buds that were going to open the next morning ready for the crosses. I prepared a bunch of male flowers of 'Butternut' by taping the tips shut so they wouldn't open this morning. (The males don't have a tiny squash at the base.)
Also prepared three female flowers on the 'Long Island Cheese' by wiring them closed at the tips with twist ties. This prevents early morning visits by bees. (Female flowers will have a tiny squash at the base)
When I had a male flowers peeled open and ready to pollinate, I open the twist tie and rubbed the pollen on the stigma. Afterwards, I taped the female flower shut.
If all goes well, these three will join the one I did several days ago. It's flower has dropped off and the little fruit is swelling up fast. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fragaria moschata 'Profumata di Tortona'

Have had these 'Profumata di Tortona' [hexaploid] musk strawberries for twenty years and never seen a berry yet. I think I read somewhere that they need another cultivar of musk strawberry to cross-pollinate them to bear fruit. But for whatever reason this year, they've formed quite a few partially formed fruits. I'd planned on buying a plant of 'Capron' musk strawberry to see if it would do the job of furnishing pollen, but now I'm curious what happened. Did they self-pollinate? Or are these fruits/seeds the product of pollen from our vesca [diploid] or normal [octoploid] garden strawberries?
You know I'll definitely be trying to germinate these! :0)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Tall daylily seedling

These seedlings are from ('Double Cutie' x citrina) X altissima, so it's not really a surprise that they're nearly all above waist high.  This one seedling in particular is already over 5 feet tall and still looks like it's got a little more stretching to do before it blooms. I'm just under 6 feet tall and it's level with my shoulders at this point. Altissima routinely gets this tall here, but often flops around quite a bit. I'm hoping that the citrina influence will keep the stalks upright in this seedling. It's almost a certainty that it'll be lemon yellow like the two siblings that have opened flowers already.

Here's what mama's flowers look like.
She's about 3-4 feet tall.

Long keeping pumpkins

Not surprised by the butternut squash still hanging in there. They're almost always are super long keepers. But I'm a little surprised that the two little orange pie type pumpkins that were Halloween freebies have lasted soooooo long. I think I'll go ahead and cut them for seeds even if I don't plant them until next year.

'Dumbarton Oaks' hardy kiwi

First year that it's fruited here...
Looking forward to getting to eat them later in the season.

Rosa bracteata X (rugosa x palustris)

BH1 aka "The Pink Monster" is just about done blooming but it's three siblings are in full bloom now. Here's one of the last blooms on BH1.
 Here's BH3, which is maybe my personal favorite, because of it's exceptional health, beauty and a tendency to have a few scattered later blooms. It's about 7 or 8 feet tall now.
Close up of the flowers of BH3. 
Skipped getting pictures of BH2 because it's the most boring of the four. Here's BH4 which has the distinction of being an extremely pale pink. 
 The foliage will look a little worse as the season progresses but it's still WAY healthier than the average rose.
All four of these hybrids have reduced fertility. In the few hips that remain, they will typically only have 1-4 seeds. But at least they aren't completely sterile. I really should try putting more pollen on them rather than just letting them open-pollinate. Then maybe I'd get a few more seeds, and the offspring would have a better chance at

Rosa palustris

Super late bloom season as always, this is the locally collected clone of Rosa palustris that I've used in so many crosses. It would be even taller if I didn't hack it back every fall, and as it is, it's probably about 6 feet (2 meters) tall.

Foliage and bloom.