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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

'Cricket Song'

Still holding strong after hurricane Sandy has passed through.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Volunteer Reblooming Iris

The first picture is of the volunteer pinkish-purple (the camera doesn't always show it well) iris that popped up out front. It's probably an offspring of 'Cricket Song' which is also blooming right now - second picture. I have no idea who the papa would have been.
Here are links to my postings of the same volunteer last Fall:

Storebought Mum and Disease

Does anybody have any idea what disease is attacking this storebought mum plant? It has such pretty red flowers but gets this unsightly crud on its foliage every year. I'm guessing it's some sort of mildew???

Fall Radish Fun

Here's the innards of a 'Long Black Spanish' seedling that pretty obviously was from an outcross to the 'Roseheart' growing nearby. I sliced this one and two normal 'Long Black Spanish' and put them in distilled white vinegar and salt to make overnight/fresh pickles. Pickling tames the bite in addition to adding salty-sour goodness. It also spread the pretty pink color all throughout the slices. Pretty tasty way to eat radishes!
And now I know the purple-tinted seedlings are probably all outcrosses. I'll be saving a bunch of these overwinter in the fridge for replanting in the Spring. That way I can get to see what kind of variation the F2 population will have.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

'Cricket Song' reblooming iris

Here's my reblooming diploid MTB iris, 'Cricket Song' on Wednesday (10-23) with first rebloom flower of the year open. The second picture is today (10-25) with the first bloom closed but second and third open. It has rebloomed faithfully every Fall since 2006 when it first rebloomed. It comes from pollen of 'Clown Pants' (which is from Iris variegata X Iris suaveolens var. mellita) put on Iris cengialtii. So it's essentially a three-species cross. It has a full sibling rebloomer ('Easy Smile') that has yet to be introduced because a dropped seed had grown in among its clump. I didn't want to accidentally send any of that stray seedling to be sold as 'Easy Smile'. Both of the diploid rebloomers have been very fertile in both directions and have even given me a few offspring when I've used their pollen on tetraploid Tall Beardeds.


The last pomegranate

Mmmmm! I'm gonna have to get more serious about rooting some more of these.

Black and Blue and Pink

Just appreciating the Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'... especially pretty with the pink mums behind them.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mums all over again

It's that time of year again, and the volunteer mums are blooming all over the place. I moved these self-sown seedlings from the front flower bed, and tried to get rid of the less attractive ones in the process. It's really hard to throw them out when most of them are so vigorous and enthusiastic. I need to get myself psyched and be more ruthless, because I'm sure they'll reseed more afterwards anyway. The two reds on either side in the first picture were the most vigorous of that color, but they still aren't quite up to the standards of, for example, the light yellow in the second picture. It's more yellow than the picture shows it, and is a HUGE, sturdy, mounding plant. I'm pretty sure most of these are derived from the unidentified pinkish Korean mum I bought many years ago. It was in a little 4 inch pot nearly dead and on clearance for a quarter at a local home improvement store. I grew it for a number of years and never saw any seedlings, but when I moved it to our new home and a house-warming gift mum cozied up nearby, seedlings started showing up everywhere the soil was bare. Now some more recent gift mums have joined the fun and contributed their genes to the expanding seedling population.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reblooming MTB Iris

The 24 chromosome diploid MTB's (Miniature Tall Bearded irises) don't have a whole lot in the way of rebloom among their ranks. Here's my own addition to that small crowd starting to send up a Fall stalk. It's called 'Cricket Song' and has reliably bloomed both Spring and Fall since 2006, here in Maryland. It has also rebloomed in Tennesee, Kentucky and California now. I'll try to remember to post again when it opens. Greg and Macey McCullough of Iris City Gardens introduced this iris for me with their 2012 offerings. Thanks guys!

Russian pomegranate

We've already eaten all the rest - saving the big one for last!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Red Clubhouse" strawberry

You might have wondered what happened to these seedlings since I haven't posted about them in a while. They're from "White Clubhouse" (our own everbearing vesca type with runners) pollinated by 'Red Wonder' alpine strawberry. They've been flowering and fruiting all season just like the parents. Of course they all slow down during the heat of the summer, but they're picking back up again now. These are vescas and everbearing but also make so many runners it's just crazy. Not super-productive all at once, but being able to find a few fruits anytime of the growing season sure is nice!

Fall Radishes

I selectively favored keeping the purplish-foliaged seedlings when I thinned this row of 'Long Black Spanish' fall radish. I'm hoping these are the outcrosses to 'Roseheart' which was flowering at the same time. It would be fun to see how the pink flesh trait interacts with the black skins.


This year's "crop" isn't as big as last season but it's still good to have any at all. And I was successful with two cuttings, so I can get started on making a hedge of these.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Impatiens Downy Mildew

Well, I've gotten to witness the devastating effects of downy mildew on Impatiens walleriana. Wow, it really lays waste! The second picture was taken about a week ago. Now there's nothing left but the stems. Looks like resistance to this disease is going to have to be a top priority for Impatiens breeders now.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rosa bracteata X (rugosa x palustris)

Took these pictures while out collecting hips.
Three of the four siblings showing the mounding and spreading growth habit - but keep in mind these haven't really regained full size yet.
 Here's a blurry close-up of the thorns on one.
 Here's the foliage on one that shows a strong influence from palustris.
 The open-pollinated hip harvest - see they really aren't sterile!
 And here are the vicious prickles that I've spent the last two days removing from my finger tips because I stupidly insisted on picking them bare-handed. I wised up and used a leather glove and steak knife to extract the seeds. There was typically only one seed per hip, but quite a few had none and a couple even had 2, 3 or 4. Definitely not super-fertile, but certainly not a dead end either! Maybe next year I might even give hand-pollination a try again.