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

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.