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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Red/Black Border Bearded Iris Seedling

I'd moved this one to the garden for a second chance evaluation before composting it. Glad I did, because it's kind of cute and has nice proportions. It doesn't photograph well [the guy behind the camera is more likely the problem] but the color is a very dark wine red color and the form is better than the pictures show. The flowers are smallish and stalks are right in the middle of the Border Bearded range, so even in better conditions it shouldn't grow too tall for that class. You'll have to take my word for it, the flowers look a lot better in person than in these pictures. The parentage is 'American Sweetheart' X ('Honky Tonk Blues' x Iris aphylla 'Balascuta')

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hopeful rugosa cross

I'll have to check my notes but I think this is 'Moje Hammarburg' rugosa rose (otherwise it's 'Dart's Dash'). I just prepped two flowers to receive pollen from my relatively sterile (never set any hips on it) F1 hybrid from rugosa X 'Hazeldean'. The petals of that hybrid, and a few buds too, are in the second image. It's not yellow but at least it has some yellow in the center of the flower and the anthers are yellow too.

Rosa rugosa X spinosissima

This is one from the second time I did this cross. First time I used plain old Rosa spinosissima. Second time I thought I'd try for double flowers, so I used 'Double White Scotch'. Didn't get any doubles, but they were a little better colored and more compact. The second image shows the mature bush which is about waist high and very dense. Just as infertile as the first time. I'm assuming they're triploids. They never have set even one single hip. But who knows, maybe the pollen at least might have a little fertility.

Calycanthus hybrid 'Hartlage Wine'

A new one for me, just planted last summer. It's one of the new hybrids between the Asian and North American Sweetshrubs. I also got 'Aphrodite' but it's only got buds so far. This 'Hartlage Wine' is early and very showy.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Three F1 species rose hybrids

This first one, Rosa davidii X fedtschenkoana, is suckering already and the seedlings were only a few inches tall at the end of last season. In the picture is a sucker that's coming up about a foot away from the seedlings. It still amazes me how much these look like they should have rugosa in them. But I already have Rosa rugosa X davidii and these are definitely not the same thing.

Next two pictures are of Rosa palustris X fedtschenkoana. Definitely hybrid, it's intermediate between the two species in almost all characters. It's about 3 feet tall now, but no signs of flowerbuds. So, I'm hoping that it's just going to be a late season bloomer like Rosa palustris - which is usually one of the last species to bloom here.

The last one is such a slow grower that I might be waiting a while for it to bloom. But I'm excited anyway. It's Rosa palustris X xanthina. The bloom timing is so different for these two species that I had to freeze pollen from Rosa xanthina for a month or two, to be able to get the cross. I'm curious what part of the season this one will decide to bloom in and what color it'll be. [Rosa palustris is pink, Rosa xanthina is yellow.

Three very fragrant shrubs

Walking around the house right now, I got to enjoy the drifts of scent coming from these nicely fragrant shrubs. First is the goumi berry bush (Elaeagnus multiflora), that has the bonus of producing a heavy crop of edible tart red berries later. Looks like the bumblebees and honeybees like this one too.
 On another corner of the house, is this little leaf lilac (Syringa microphylla var. pubescens 'Superba' - I think it was labeled). It blooms (not quite as heavily) again each Fall.

And around on another corner, are these two closely related yellow-flowered, Spring blooming Asian rose species, Rosa primula (the light yellow in the back) and Rosa xanthina (the three darker yellow blooms at the bottom of the picture). 
You don't even need to be close to these shrubs to enjoy the scents!

Second generation hybrids from Viola arvensis X pansy

At the top of this picture are two flowers of Viola arvensis. I tried to size it to around life size when you open the picture. A whole flower of Viola arvensis is so tiny that it would fit inside a regular kernel of field/dent corn. Below the two flowers of Viola arvensis are ten different grandchildren (second generation) from crosses with pansy. Notice the extremes in variation for size and shape of various parts. The upper left one has very broad rounded sepals that stick out all around the flower.
My favorites so far, are probably the two in the bottom row (far right) - the one with dark purple upper petals and the dark yellow with cool flower form. But there's something neat about the one in the upper row, second from the left. The two lateral petals on this one are held forward curving around the lower petal, so that it kind of makes a cup. Reminds me a little of a mini-orchid.

Viola rostrata close up

I decided to do an interspecific pollination (Viola rostrata on Viola striata), so I collected all the flowers off that little Viola rostrata plant and potted up a Viola striata that had three blooms ready to open soon. Here's a close-up picture of the pretty little flowers of V. rostrata

Here's how much pollen I was able to "tap" out of the flowers
 The cross of Viola rostrata and Viola striata occurs in nature wherever these two species grow together so it's not anything extraordinary, but it'll be fun anyway. And for extra fun, I tapped a little pollen from a giant yellow pansy (with big black blotch) into the pile of pollen. As far as I know, crosses between pansies (Section Melanium) and violets (outside of section Melanium) have rarely been reported. [And the reported ones don't seem to be very well documented] So, I'd love to find a cross like that.