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