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

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rooting rose cuttings

I've always had difficulty getting cuttings to root but look at these nicely calloused cuttings. One's already sending out roots. I followed the damp newspaper method described at the Rose Hybridizer's Forum. Thanks for sharing that tip George!
See link below for details.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Viola X cooperrideri F2

Here's that F2 seedling from the cross of Viola striata X Viola walteri that I posted a few weeks back. The picture isn't great, but at least you can see how well it's blooming today (Nov.19) - I'll have to move this one to a better spot and try to collect seed, so I can select for even earlier Fall bloom.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rosa rugosa X davidii fall foliage

Rosa rugosa X davidii is ablaze in fall colors right now. Pretty good fall color for a rose!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Figs and Violets

Figs: So it would seem that figs can survive AND fruit here. I wasn't sure this lone fruit (on 2 year old 'Hardy Chicago') would ripen soon enough because it stayed green and stayed the size of a grape for what seemed like forever. But within just a few days it ballooned up and changed color. So, I can now say I've tasted a fresh fig (only "newtons" before that). It was tasty just like everyone is always saying. I hope that next year it gets a bunch more.

Violets: Down below is a second generation violet seedling from the first generation hybrid Viola X cooperrideri. The F1 hybrid was from a hand pollination of Viola striata by pollen of Viola walteri. I'm encouraged that a few of the F2 seedlings (like this one) have been blooming fairly well in the Fall too. I'm considering putting a little selective pressure on this population to try to push them toward all summer bloom. Actually all of these violets DO bloom all summer but when the day becomes a certain length, they switch over to producing small (non-showy) cleistogamous flowers. I'll just need to select for longer and longer daylength requirement (for that switch-over) and then they'll have the pretty chasmogamous ones all summer.

Covered (primitive) wheats

The Covered Wheats - More primitive wheats that do NOT thresh free of the glumes/hulls that surround the seed while on the stalk. More modern wheats are all free-threshing. Their seeds fall out completely naked of these coverings. These are four covered wheats that I've been maintaining by growing out a batch every couple of years. This year I also used the Black Emmer and the Spelt in some crosses with some free-threshing wheats. I'll be sure to blog about those next Spring when the hybrids should be heading.

The top two are diploid (2N=14) Einkorn wheats.

Bottom left is a tetraploid (2N=28) emmer wheat - the primitive relative of the durum (macaroni) wheats.

Bottom right is a hexaploid (2N=42) spelt wheat - the primitive version of the common bread wheat.

Teosinte X Corn

The ears are from F1 plants of teosinte X corn. Teosinte and these hybrids wait until the short days of Fall to start setting seed. I forget the number of hours of daylength they want. But to induce earlier bloom and beat the frosts, these plants had their daylength artificially shortened by being covered with an inverted trashcan early each evening (taken off later the next morning).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rosa glutinosa X palustris

Here's an updated picture of the lone glutinosa X palustris - it's the one with the smooth (non-rugose) and matte, smaller foliage, that has branched extensively and is taking up most of the "pot" on the left. There is one smaller plain glutinosa (veiny/rugose leaves) in that same pot and a couple of bigger
plain glutinosa in the pot on the right for comparison. The hybrid seedling is now in the ground.

"Slug Art"

I guess this is way off the theme of this blog (primarily plant breeding), but these slugs looked so "artsy" that I felt I had to get their picture and share it.

F2 Rosa moschata X wichuraiana

These are just open-pollinated seedlings from some F1 Rosa moschata x wichuraiana. I'm looking to regain the rebloom of moschata and combine it with the cold hardiness and health attributes of wichuraiana. So far none of these F2 has made any attempts to flower at all, but they aren't really all that big yet. Hopefully at least one or two will decide to bloom (and rebloom) next year. Note one seedling near the front (bottom of image) left, that has larger more overlapping foliage and shorter internodes. I don't know if it's an outcross to some other rose or just part of the natural range of variation for these F2, but I like that growth habit much better than the wiry trailing siblings.

[hopefully] Jerusalem Artichoke X 'Red Sun' Sunflower

This big seedling and two smaller siblings at its base are from an attempted pollination of Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) by pollen of 'Red Sun' sunflower (Helianthus annuus). One of my goals for this cross is to expand the flower color range of the perennial sunflower types - into the orange/red zone.

I don't expect this seedling to have red flowers but am hoping it'll at least have a rusty orange eye pattern, which would be a good first step.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Late Summer Foliage on "Jefferson" X 'Carefree Sunshine"

This hybrid holds its foliage here much better than the majority of roses. It has lost some lower leaves by this time of year, but the upper parts are still very dense and only showing a few scattered spots of mildew. I think that it's very likely that the fairly high disease resistance is coming partly (if not primarily) from the Damask seed parent, since most of the 'Carefree Sunshine' seedlings I've grown are not particularly resistant here.

Note the hips maturing... these are from 'Home Run' pollen. I'm hoping for some reblooming offspring that retain a good measure of disease resistance. Keeping the strong fragrance and old-fashioned form would be great too! And who cares what color, if we can have all the rest of that!

Here's a close-up of showing how it takes after its mama in having elongated/pear-shaped hips. The sandwich bag shot shows the full harvest of hips from 'Home Run' pollen. This hybrid has typically only set a couple of open-pollinated hips so I was surprised at how well the crosses seemed to have taken. Now I wonder how many seeds there will be and how well they'll germinate.

Below's a link to an earlier post with flower pictures and a picture of its seed parent, a found rose, which might be 'Petite Lisette'.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Late Summer Foliage on 3/4 native rose hybrid

Resisting the local disease pressures quite well... here is the foliage still looking pretty clean after a whole summer here in the humid Mid-Atlantic United States. This is the hybrid I first posted May 5, 2010 (see link below image).

Rosa glutinosa

I haven't figured out why this rose species isn't more widely grown and appreciated. It has intensely pine-scented (bordering on citrusy) foliage. OK, the floral display isn't overwhelming (it is only one-blooming) and it's super thorny (like a rugosa), but I still don't get it. I would think that with all of the people who love sweetbriar roses that this much more compact relative with much more strongly scented foliage would be a big hit. It holds its leaves pretty well here in the humid, disease inducing climate of the Mid-Atlantic United States. It does occassionally have some tendency to mildew, but so far that even has been a minor issue. It looks like it might eventually get to shoulder high if I left it completely unpruned forever, but in general it wants to be about knee - waist high.

Friday, September 17, 2010

2010 Drought

This year's veggie garden was almost a complete failure due to the drought and insects. The bright side I'm trying to keep in mind is that what did survive to reproduce should be some of the toughest - the selective forces were relatively brutal. This picture shows the lawn a week ago. Keep in mind this hasn't been mowed for 3 1/2 months and hasn't really grown at all.
Then the squash bug population exploded and after completely killing ALL of the already stunted pumpkins and squashes, they started attacking the watermelons and cucumbers. So, I went ahead and harvested the small (softball size) watermelons to at least save seeds for next year.

Below are a few of the tough ones:
Watermelons of mixed ancestry ('Moon and Stars' and 5 or 6 others)
And cucumbers - F2 from 'Straight 8' X 'Lemon'

At the risk of sounding like whining... I am really amazed that even these few made it through the terrible trials. I'll post a few more of the "2010 successes" (any seed at all) as I get pictures together.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rosa bracteata X (rugosa x palustris)

This is the darkest pink and most rugosa-like (in foliage and armature) of this particular batch of seedlings.

Surprisingly, although they have very reduced fertility, these guys do set a few open-pollinated hips (and seeds). They are also much more cold-tolerant than their mother. They're aslo all monstrous growers and once-bloomers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rosa multiflora X rugosa

Usually has tendency to "balling", but when it's happy with the weather it has really beautiful old rose form to go along with its strong old rose fragrance. See the happy picture below the sad one.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Amaranth Trials

Last year I attempted to grow a patch of grain type amaranth using seed I'd purchased from the bulk food section of a local health food store. It didn't grow very well, so I scoured my boxes of seeds for all amaranths I had of any type. This row is the result. From right to left: not visible behind the tall purple - are very short plants of 'Calaloo' (Amaranthus tricolor); the dark purple is 'Hopi Red Dye'; next is light green "Love-Lies-Bleeding" (Amaranthus caudatus); then an equally short stretch of purple 'Polish'; the long stretch of mixed purple and green that follows is a mixture of various grain types (including: 'Guarijio', 'Chinese Giant', 'Mercado Dreadicus', 'Manna de Montana', and 'Burgundy'), finally the miserably short little ones on the far left are 'Elephant Head'.

As well as the local weed (Amaranthus retroflexus) can grow around here, there shouldn't be any reason that I can't select for a locally adapted grain type of amaranth. Ideally this will grow like mad, have light-colored seeds and darkly pigmented leaves. For now, I'm just going to let them intermingle how they please. Later hopefully I'll have various vigorous descendants to start selecting from.

Pepper program

This is a first step toward incorporating the health and vigor of Capsicum chinense types (Habanero in this case) into my mild pepper lines that are otherwise primarily derived from bell pepper X variegated (Capasicum anuum) hot pepper crosses. Aside from being selected for mildness, these lines had been selected for above average purple foliage color. It would be great to combine the growability (resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses) of Habanero with the easy fruit set of my mild lines.

Here are some peppers harvested from the hybrids (three different mild lines X Habanero). They have grown well and are fruiting in spite of this year’s severe drought. I have to think that the Habanero ancestry (and maybe also hybrid vigor) are contributing to the ease of growth of these ones, since several different normal annuum types planted at the same time have almost failed completely.

Kale (with collard,cabbage,broccoli introgressions)

Here is one of the 2010 plants of my glossy kale /collards. It's descended from crosses of 'Green Glaze' collard with 'Dwarf Blue Scotch' kale and an ornamental red-purple "flowering" cabbage. The goal is to eventually combine the glossy trait with dark red-purple (anthocyanin) pigmentation which would theoretically give superior cabbageworm resistance. I've already witnessed the cabbageworms preference for blue-gray (glaucous) plants that still segregate out of these lines. Unfortunately the glossy trait makes the plants more attractive to flea beetles, hence all of the tiny holes in the leaves. Red-purple color has also been reported to deter cabbage butterflies from laying eggs on red cabbage. So, I hope to breed in some red cabbage in the near future. Spring 2010, I did some crosses of this glossy kale-lerd line onto on overwintered "Dinosaur" kale. The ultimate goal would be an insect resistant, locally adapted type that could be used for greens, then overwintered to provide a Spring broccoli crop too.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rosa palustris X 'Home Run'

Here's my pleasant surprise for Spring 2010. Rosa palustris did accept pollen from 'Home Run' (seedlings on left). They are definitely more pigmented and the foliage shape is closer to a "modern" type than the selfed palustris seedlings (on the right for comparison).

Here's an end of summer shot, right before they were planted in the ground. Turns out there were ten of them. I'll bet they'll be much happier in the ground, considering how undernourished they were and also suffering from irregular watering.

Rosa glutinosa X palustris

The red dotted circle shows what I hope is Rosa glutinosa X palustris. The yellow dotted circles are typical selfed seedlings of Rosa glutinosa. The white boxed inset is just alittle bigger view of the hopeful hybrid. I had to freeze palustris pollen to use the following year in order to do this cross, since glutinosa is always finshed blooming before palustris starts. I should have tried the reverse cross this year, but didn't think about it until it was too late. My goal was to alter the foliage scent of glutinosa to make it more similar to the flowerbud scent of palustris. It seems that this seedling does have a little different scent, but it should be easier to tell as it matures.

Friday, May 28, 2010

'Fragrant Cloud' X Rosa carolina

'Fragrant Cloud' X Rosa carolina
I got lucky with this cross one year. I tried to repeat it a few times afterwards and 'Fragrant Cloud' lived up to its reputation for being a difficult seed parent. Luckily this hybrid isn't as reluctant (to accpet pollen) as either of its parents. I have recent posts on this blog for "MR1" which is from using 'Carefree Sunshine' pollen on it, and also a really cool 3/4 native seedling from using virginiana pollen on it.
This hybrid is once-blooming with foliage and habit leaning more toward the species parent. It has a very strong old-rose fragrance and a hint of yellow warming up the pink. This is one of my favorite seedlings.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rosa davidii and hybrids

Here's a bloom of 'Reine des Violettes' held up to show how purplish Rosa davidii looks.

And a close-up...

Here is the first bloom to open (after about five years of waiting) on the hybrid of Rosa davidii X Rosa virginiana. It’s what I would expect. I’ll be curious to see if any open-pollinated seeds will develop or not.

As healthy as the foliage typically is on this hybrid… it has this foliage deforming problem that I haven’t figured out. The growth starts out every year looking beautiful, but a few months into the growing season, the new leaves start to appear twisted and stunted. I had thought some sort of insect feeding was to blame, but in closer examination this year it appears that there might be some fuzzy fungal growth. I guess that could still be secondary to some sort of insect damage. Does anyone recognize this?

Friday, May 21, 2010

('Fragrant Cloud' x Rosa carolina) X Rosa virginiana

A rudely healthy and enthusiastically suckering low-grower.

I’m really excited about getting to play around with this seedling. It is only ¼ Hybrid Tea [maternal grandmother was ‘Fragrant cloud’] and ¾ native tetraploid species [1/4 Rosa Carolina, ½ Rosa virginiana]. I’m pretty sure it won’t repeat, but it could possibly produce offspring that would. I’m going to test that out by pollinating with ‘Carefree Sunshine’ pollen.
The flowers open fairly large for being ¾ native and are a darker pink than either parent. They have a relatively strong scent that seems to be a mix of old-rose and something fruity maybe.The plant’s appearance only shows little hints of Hybrid Tea influence. The foliage and growth habit are much like the native tetraploids it comes from… short, bushy and suckering. The leaves (especially new growth) do seem to have much more purple in them than the natives typically would. I haven’t seen any evidence of disease yet at all.

They were starting to color up, so I harvested these 12 hips before they could drop and get lost. I’ll have to wait until I get germination to tell for absolute certain, but it would appear that this hybrid is going to be female-fertile with modern rose pollen (‘Carefree Sunshine’). I’ll also have to get a current foliage picture, since it seems to be holding its leaves and staying healthy while many other roses are doing their end of summer drop.

"Jefferson" X 'Carefree Sunshine'

This is the best from the cross of a found rose study named "Jefferson" and the healthy yellow shrub 'Carefree Sunshine'. It's once-blooming, very healthy and has at least a tint of yellow.


"Jefferson" (the seed parent) is a once-blooming, medium pink, old-garden-rose type. It looks like it might be a Damask. It's tough and suckering. It only suffers a little mildew on the peduncles of the flowers.

Pictures I've seen of 'Petit Lisette' look like a good match.

"MR1" - Mildew resistant one

This is the lone mildew resistant seedling from a batch of ('Fragrant Cloud' x Rosa carolina) X 'Carefree Sunshine'. It's biggest flaw would be that it doesn't repeat. It also wants to grow pretty big. I've been keeping it pruned to about waist high each winter.