Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Should Figure Out How To Organize My Photos

It's been raining here in Seattle recently, and typically on these cold rainy days I open up some of my photo files and look my garden pictures. Going through them today I realized that I really need to sort out a way to keep these photos organized and to keep track of my rose breeding record.

I have been taking pictures of my seedlings and keeping records of their size and color in my notes, but I don't have a way yet to combine the two...

But anyhoo, back to the roses. This is the first flower I got in July 2010:

Just looking the pictures I think this is pretty.

In fact, I got several apricot flowers this season.

Next year, I need to come up with a better way to organize everything. I'm not really that good at keeping my records intact but I think I'll have to suck it up and create a database that I can put both the pictures and the data in before I forget.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Parents' Garden was Featured in a Japanese Garden Magazine!

It's been a while since I last posted - it's amazing how fast time goes by! I actually wrote this post at the end of August, so I guess it's about time I put it up. :)


I just got a package from my parents in Japan full of my favorite snacks! It also contained a copy of a well-known Japanese gardening magazine (published by NHK, the Japanese national public TV station). I was very impressed to see that my parents' garden in Japan was featured in the magazine!

To be honest, I was amazed to see how their garden looks when it's in full bloom. I have never seen it myself in person, since they built their current house well after I got married and came to the US.

This is the cover of the magazine. ("Shumi no Engei" [Hobbyist's Garden], August 2010)

The pink rose in the lower right of the picture below was bred by my brother (Spanish Beauty x Shocking Blue). He originally named it after my mother, but when my Dad complained, he changed it to be named after both of them. :)

I'm a bit jealous that his rose was featured in a national magazine before mine!

My parents garden in June 2010. The pink climbing rose is 'Spanish Beauty.'

Here are some other roses that they grow. Left to right, top to bottom: Blue Moon, Julia's Rose, Misty Purple (a Japanese rose), Hot Cocoa, Lavender Pinocchio.

And here are some rose growing tips from my Dad. (You'll have to translate these yourself. :) )

I have never been in their garden when the roses are in full bloom, but from this picture, it looks pretty impressive!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Have to Say, I Really Like This Color

I've been using 'Edith Holden' for a couple of years for my breeding program, hoping to get an interesting color. So far, though, the germination rate with 'Edith Holden' has been pretty much hit or miss, depending on the cross. As an example, this year the germination rate was extremely poor, and I only got around twelve seedlings total from a couple of crosses I made. :(

The problem that I've encountered with using 'Edith Holden' is that, no matter how high the petal count of the roses I cross with, the results almost always have very few petals. Although many of the seedlings have very interesting colors, I don't feel that I can keep them for later breeding since generally they are only semi-double and have no fragrance. 

This one, however, caught my attention.

This is a cross of 'Benjamin Britten' x 'Edith Holden.' (first flowered in 2010)

It's got a great dark purple color, almost like grape juice.

Like I mentioned, I am currently trying to get fully double flowers with an interesting color, so I would normally discard seedlings that have less than 25 petals on their first flower out of hand. But this one caught my eye!

I think that I will hold on to this one and see what it does for me.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yellow Bicolor

This is a different seedling from the same cross as the yellow rose I posted a short time ago. I was actually thinking about getting rid of this plant this year before it flowered because it was hit pretty bad with powdery mildew, and it took a very long time to get its first flower this year.

Last year, it flowered pale yellow like this:

The same flower from the back.

This year, the flower started to take on a pale pink edging.

The subtle edging gives it a little different look than it had last year.

It does fade a bit in strong sun, though.

It's interesting that the color has developed into something much more complicated year over year. I've noticed the same thing happen with different seedlings as well. It's not just the size of the flower, the petal count, or the form that changes - the color goes through some subtle changes in the second year as well.

Because it gets powdery mildew so badly, I'm still not sure if I'm going to keep this seedling. Still, this year the PNW has had a long, cold spring and summer and powdery mildew is all over the garden. To be honest, this seedling is in much better shape than are some of my established garden roses ('Louis XIV' and 'Baron Giraud de l'Ain,' to name a couple).

I will have to think about what to do with this one... :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Proliferation... :(

Here is the second flush of my About Face x Hot Cocoa Seedlings. (First flower picture of 2010)

Despite the ugly proliferation, the plant is looking very healthy and growing very nicely.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want

This is one of my seedlings from a 2008 cross. I have to admit that I wasn't expecting a lavender rose from this cross. If I wanted lavender, I would most likely just cross two lavenders together. In this case, I was just playing around to see if I could get something interesting, maybe an 'odd' color from crossing lavender and tan/orange/yellow roses. The parentage for this one is 'Cotillion' from J&P (aka 'Perfume Perfection') and 'Belle Époque' from Fryer in England.

As you know, 'Belle Époque' has a very interesting tan/russet color. HMF describes it thusly:

Belle Epoque is an unusually coloured Hybrid Tea. The colour is a most curious dark nectarine-bronze on the outside of the petals which contrasts with the lighter shade of golden-bronze on the inside.

I really like the coloring of 'Belle Époque,' and I was hoping that I could get an interesting result from this cross. This is the only seedling I kept from this pairing, and interestingly enough, the result is nothing at all like 'Belle Époque.'

Like 'Cotillion,' the buds cluster in a floribunda style. In fact, it tends to look like a version of 'Cotillion' with more petals. However, I have noticed that the flower color dramatically changes when the temperature is cool. In the picture below, you can see the differences in the color between the flowers - the lighter one is not a spent flower, in actuality the buds started out as same grayish-lavender. There seems to have been an environmental factor that contributed here.

I really like this grayish-lavender color and I wish it would flower like this all the time.

As I mentioned, I'm guessing this color change is caused by a fluctuation in temperature.

Although both 'Cotillion' and 'Belle Époque' are very fragrant roses (when 'Cotillion' is blooming, there is a constant, wonderful, citrus scent drifting on the breeze), this seedling doesn't have much of a scent. That's a disappointment for me, since I like the flower shape so much. Its disease resistance is not excellent, but not horrible, either. I would say that it's similar to its parent plants.

One thing that makes me a bit wary about this seedling is the size of the plant. This is a two-year-old plant and is growing in a two-gallon pot, but it's only about a foot tall and is looking like a mini. The flower diameter is only 2.5 inches or so, so it's a little bigger than miniature roses, but not much. I was hoping this would be a floribunda, not a mini. We'll see...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

'About Face' x 'Hot Cocoa'

This is the one of the crosses I was playing around with to see what would happen if I back-crossed a rose with one of its parents.

The seed parent is 'About Face' and the pollen parent is 'Hot Cocoa'. As you know, the original 'About Face' was bred with the pollen from 'Hot Cocoa.'

So far the plant is vigorous and healthy and I can see both 'Hot Cocoa' and 'About Face' in its color and shape. It has a little tan/orange/red in it and the petal color is slightly different from obverse to reverse.

The leaves are very similar to 'About Face,' which has large, semi-glossy, dark green foliage.

The one drawback is that, like its parents, this rose doesn't have much of a fragrance. That's the part I need to work on. :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Yellow Rose From 2008 Cross

This is one of my 2008 crosses, and is the only yellow rose that I still keep in the "evaluation pool." The buds start out a medium-yellow color and gradually fade to pale yellow. Some people might not want the flower color to fade at all, but I think this color change is not bad. In fact, I really like the contrast.

This is one of my husband's favorite seedlings, but I'm not sold yet. So far, disease resistance is fine and the flowers last a very long time. However, it's not particularly fragrant. I want my roses to have a very strong, unique character and I don't see that yet in this one.

Despite this, I'm kind of attached to this rose. It reminds me of my college philosophy professor who really helped me out when I was a student and really made a big impact towards the person I became. He passed away late last summer, right as this rose began flowering. If I chose one of my roses for him, it would be much like this one - yellow in color, without a pretentious fragrance. He always was a very straightforward and no-nonsense kind of person. :)

So, I think I will hold onto this rose for now for at least sentimental reasons. Who knows, it may continue to grow on me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It Doesn't Always Get Better...

I was excited when I saw the first flower of this plant. It wasn't the color I was looking for, but I really felt that the flower had a certain romance to it and a lot of potential.

This is the first flower (July, 2009)

This is from this year (July, 2010)

It seems like the flowers don't open that well when the weather is cool and damp - unfortunately, this is typical in the PNW. Also, the color of the petals is irregular (some seem faded) and I'm not sure exactly why. As well, the petals are too thin. To be honest, I'm little bit disappointed.

I really have high hopes for this one, so I will give it a bit more of a chance. We'll see how it turns out.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

So Far, So Good

I think this is my best seedling from 2008 so far.

This is the kind of rose I was looking for and I'm very excited to see how it matures.

The flower starts out with deep, pink outer petals cupping inner tan-colored ones (the inner petals actually have a color very much like milk tea). I really like the outer pink color shifting to apricot and gradually to brown in the center.

As time goes by, the pink fades to a nice greyish-pink. Since the seedling tends to put out multiple buds per stem, it ends up with a really nice combination of different colors as the flowers fade.

The fragrance is of grapefruit with a hint of semillon. It's very intense - one small flower will fill a room with its lovely perfume.

The plant seems very vigorous and produces lots of bud clusters. The new leaves and stems are purple-red and turn to deep green. The plant is very clean, free from any disease. This is a second-year plant and right now it's growing in a two-gallon pot.

I am very happy with this one so far, and I'm planning to put it in the ground this fall and see how it does.

In fact, I like it so much I used its picture for the banner of this blog. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Up for Adoption?

While I really enjoy breeding roses, one of the hardest things to do is to toss roses I have bred into the compost bin. Sure, I don't mind culling and discarding the ugly ones, the disease magnets, the poor growers... but since I only have a limited space to grow plants, I have to remind myself quite often what color and shape of flower I am aiming for, and stick to those, no matter how pretty, vigorous, or sweet-smelling the ones that are the wrong color or shape might be.

My current goal is to create unique colors (tan, brown, grey, lavender, deep purple, crimson); stripes, or mixes of several shades together, all with a high petal count. So, roses like the one below (although pretty), aren't what I'm looking for.

These are second-year flowers of 'The Generous Gardener' x 'Blue Heaven'

Even though it's not the color I was looking for, the flowers are nice and have a pleasant citrus fragrance. The plant does get a bit of powdery mildew if the weather is extensively cool and wet, but in general it's quite resistant to disease.

So how can I discard a plant like this?

I only have limited space and can't afford to keep everything. So I asked around, and fortunately one of my good friends was interested in "adopting" this rose for her garden. However, I know that she doesn't water her garden much if at all, so I am assuming that she doesn't spray or fertilize either. This will be a real test garden, and I'm very interested to see how well this rose will perform in her yard.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My First Striped Rose

I was very happy to find that I got my first striped rose this year!

While there are quite a few striped roses available these days, I'm generally not fond of their shapes. The shape I'm looking for is a deep cup-shape with a large amount of petals like the famous Bourbon rose, 'Variegata di Bologna'.

I used to grow this rose, however in my garden in the PNW it was always battling powdery mildew and it never repeated. Although it was a very vigorous plant and grew very large, I wasn't able to control its disease and finally I had to give up...

However, after I got rid of it, I started missing striped, cupped-shaped roses. I have to admit that they are very romantic, the kind of rose I really like.
This is the first flower of my striped rose seedling.

Full of petals (64 on the first flower) and a deep cup shape!

The flowers are still small, but hopefully they will get a little bigger as time goes by.

Although the coloring of this seedling doesn't resemble 'Variegata di Bologna' at all, I really like this subtle color combination. Rich red with a slightly darker stripe, although the color varies depending on the angle at which you view it.

It seems like the flowers last quite a while, and the plant seems very vigorous - it's already got two other buds. The only negative is that it doesn't have much of a fragrance...

I hope that this will grow nicely and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Welcome to the "Birth of a Rose" blog!

Hello, and welcome to my blog!

This is a diary of my rose breeding efforts - I hope that you will enjoy it and join me on this endless journey.

Although I have been interested in breeding roses for quite some time, it wasn't until 2006 that I finally crossed my first rose. The result was a tiny, off-white, semi-double flower and, to be honest, it wasn't really anything special. However, I still remember how excited I was to see the seeds that led to it germinate and start growing for the first time.

So I thought that it would be fun to share that joy, as well as information about what new roses are born here in my yard. Every rose is totally original and one of a kind, and I think they deserve to be introduced!

Another reason that I decided to start blogging about my roses is that I hope to connect with lots of great folks out there who share the same interest - I would very much appreciate your comments and opinions!


Peppa, Summer 2010