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

Friday, December 28, 2012

Viola arvensis x pansy

I ran across these old pictures that have got me itching to start some more of these breeding lines.
For all, I used the weedy "field pansy" Viola arvensis with its tiny flowers, as seed parent and pollinated by various cultivated gigantic flowered pansies. Here's the growth habit of Viola arvensis in fertile soil (see brick in picture for size).
 This size comparison shows how radically different the two parents are.
 The following are various F1 populations... first arvensis X 'Blue Angel' pansy
 arvensis X 'Frosty Rose' pansy
 arvensis X unlabeled dark red pansy
 arvensis X unlabeled yellow edged pansy
 Here's one of my favorite advanced generation lines (apricot) with a large orange pansy flower for comparison.
 Here's a sibling to the previous one - also beside an orange pansy.
This was a fun project!
I've tried to germinate the old seeds of these lines but had no luck, so I plan to recreate them and try to get them to naturalize this time so I don't have to worry so much about losing the seeds to old age.

Rosa rugosa X Rosa palustris

Simon had asked if I had any pictures of the Rosa rugosa X palustris hybrid I used as pollen parent of my Rosa bracteata hybrids {posted about here: 
I dug through old files and found these pictures that I used to have at my old Geocities website. I no longer have this F1 hybrid but plan on recreating it someday soon (but maybe in double-flowered form next time). The following pictures show bud, flower, overall habit at flowering, heavy fruiting and fall color. Sorry they're such small pictures and poor quality but maybe someday I'll find the old photos themselves and rescan them.


Beautiful Christmas morning

Carol in Florida [who grew up in this area] had commented that some of the scenery pictures I've posted in the past bring back fond memories of home. With that in mind, here are some pictures I just had to take slip out and take on Christmas morning [one right before sunrise, and then two more just a little bit after]. I meant to post these sooner but just haven't found the time until now. I hope Carol finds these and enjoys them even half as much as I did seeing it live.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Looked like Prancer paying us a visit earlier today and now we're getting some snowfall for a White Christmas.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Comparison of iris foliage for mid-December

Loïc's observation of the dead foliage in his comment for yesterday's post, got me thinking... I should get pictures of different irises foliage so that the currently brown foliage on 'Cricket Song' won't seem so out of the ordinary. In all honesty, it probably wouldn't still be blooming if it weren't fairly close to the foundation. It's flowerstalks would have most likely been frozen completely like the ones in the picture of 'Harvest of Memories' below. But in spite of the bed of straw appearance, I'm still enjoying seeing blooms in mid-December here. Here's 'Cricket Song' today...
 For comparison here's 'Yellow Flirt' - 2 yards (meters) away...
 Here's 'Clown Pants'...

And Iris purpureobractea (a diploid bearded species)...
 Here's 'Paltec' (bearded crested hybrid)...
 and Iris tectorum alba...

Here are the two interploid seedlings (from tetraploid TB x diploid MTB)...

Here's 'Tennessee Gentleman' (TB)...

and 'Harvest of Memories' (see frozen stalks)...
 Iris pallida 'Princess Beatrice'...

One that has tended to keep more foliage throughout the winter is a hybrid seedling from Iris pallida 'Kupari' X 'Rosemary's Dream'...

And a bunch of relatively evergreen seedlings from Iris purpureobractea crossed with a complex seedling with 'Kupari' in it. It seems that 'Kupari' passes on a tendency to resist dormancy - for good or bad???

So anyway, you can see that 'Cricket Song' isn't out of the ordinary in having dormant brown foliage at this time of year here. It's only out of the ordinary in having stalks still trying to continue blooming. And thanks Loïc, for giving me reason to go out and photograph all this December foliage. I wouldn't have thought to do it otherwise!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

'Cricket Song' Still

December 11 and still going!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Just a few pictures of the pansies we planted out front. They should overwinter just fine and make a nice show in the Spring. I'm planning to use these for pollen and do some crosses again with the tiny local weed-pansy Viola arvensis and maybe also try some more wide-crosses with non-pansy violets. So far, nobody has broken the barrier between pansies and true violets - so I'll bet you can guess who wants to be the first. ;0)


First picture is of rebloom on a complex species cross seedling that has never rebloomed before. It from a cross of (Iris pallida 'Kupari' x 'Rosemary's Dream') X (Iris pallida 'Kupari' x Iris suaveolens var. rubromarginata). It's a little frosted in the picture but is usually a clean white with just a tint of blue-purple on the falls. The right side of the picture shows a  bud and spent flower from a short time ago. So that makes two fans that decided to bloom. Maybe I should try some crosses with this one to see if it has any tendency to breed rebloomers.
Below is 'Cricket Song' still blooming away happily after the 25 F morning temperature. 
Last are two seedlings of Iris purpureobractea crossed with an iris I call "PBF/RM".
"PBF/RM" has the same parentage as the "Clean Amoena" at the top of this post.
The left seedling has decent PBF that extends pretty far up the leaf blades. The right seedling has intense PBF (even around the rhizomes) and also has a tendency to have red-purple leaf margins like its grandfather (rubromarginata). You can see it best on the leaf that is under the brown shriveled one in the upper right of the picture.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

'Cricket Song' Miniature Tall Bearded Iris

The unusual warm weather is really encouraging the late stalks on 'Cricket Song' that survived all of the frosts so far because they're so close to the house. But it's a good thing there are some smaller sized increase fans or there might not be any fans left to bloom in the Spring! See the newest stalks that surely will get frozen before they ever open. It's funny also how the foliage has already gone dormant but the flower stalks don't seem to have enough sense to stop growing.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Black Widow Spider

It was really warm out today, so I went out to borrow two cinder blocks from the garden charcoal production pit. The second one had a little web nest and I didn't want to accidentally take any spiders into the basement. When I started scraping the web out (with my finger no less) I noticed that there was indeed a spider in it. And... it was suspiciously black and shiny. Pulled my finger back in a hurry (thankfully) and went to get a jar so I could get a closer look at it. Sure enough, looks like it's a black widow. I'll have to make it a point to be a little more careful when grab pots and move them around, because there's almost always little spider nests just like this one underneath the rims. I'd rather not find out what it feels like to get bit by one.

Reblooming Iris - 'Cricket Song'

I wish its rebloom season would get started sooner than it usually does, but still, you gotta admire its persistence! It's the first day of December and because of the sheltering effect of being near the house, 'Cricket Song' is STILL chirpin' away. And I keep seeing more fans initiating stalks, that I know are just gonna get zapped. I hope it saves some action for the Spring.