Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Perhaps One To Watch...

Sometimes, a seedling just doesn't seem to measure up to the others raised in a year, but something about it just 'speaks to you', so you allow it to hang around and show what it's made of. This is one of those. 

I'd made the cross back in 2010, wondering what would result from putting pollen from the incredibly healthy China, Purpurea, on Ralph Moore's Torch of Liberty. This mini was one of my favorite work horse breeders in the old arid garden, but has fallen by the wayside here on the more humid hill due to foliage issues. It's just SO fertile and it saturates colors so wonderfully. Purpurea's pollen proved agreeable with it, and seeds resulted. They were sewn November 2010 and germinated early spring 2011.

The new foliage has always been very mahogany-russet, with an almost lacquered finish, but it didn't seem to want to grow. I don't remember seeing a flower on it that first year. If I did, it didn't impress me. It was potted in a gallon can and permitted to languish in partial sun, receiving water when I thought about it. 

The recent rains seem to have suited it just fine. New growth is popping out in the same highly polished, mahogany-russet, lacquered finish as I remembered, only better and there are fat, promising flower buds on the plant! As exciting as the shiny, beautiful foliage is the plant's complete freedom from prickles! There is also an herbal scent to the sepals when rubbed. 

 There are two or three leaves which show a very little bit of rust, but I'm not holding that against this seedling. It has had nothing but the minimum of water since last summer. It has had very little direct sun as those around it have kept it fairly well shaded. Many of the surrounding seedlings are demonstrating high levels of mildew and black spot with a few suffering rather severe rust infections (I don't all), yet this one is remaining surprisingly free from any foliage issues. It shouldn't be surprising the other seedlings are having foliage issues. I make many "what if" crosses with may "conflicting" foliage types so issues are to be expected. None of the "safe" crosses here!

It impressed me that it has earned its place and a better chance, so it has been rescued from its gallon can of depleted soil and is now resting in a two gallon can of premium potting soil. Heck it might even get fertilized! I'll add photos of the flowers as they open. I think this might be one to watch! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Keeping my fingers crossed!

It's been two weeks since receiving and wrapping the cuttings of Schmidt's Smooth Yellow, the thornless, yellow poly Jackie Schmidt rescued from an old cottage in her coastal California town. 

I was excited to find they had callused and actually begun to form roots on one cutting! These have been potted deeply in new soil and placed with the other cuttings out front where they will receive part day, morning sun. Hopefully, getting this remarkable rose growing in more gardens will not only insure its survival, but assist in determining what its original name might be. Yes, I'm keeping my fingers crossed! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Surprising March Discovery

I'd been asked to root two roses for a friend, to ship to him later this spring. Today was their two week period, so I unwrapped them to check on their progress. 

Both are hybrids of R. Wichurana, a rose which is well known for being quite easy to root. The first is a seedling of my own which is half floribunda and half the second rose. It callused as expected and the cuttings were potted. 

Then, the surprise! 0-47-19 is Ralph Moore's breeder created from R. Wichurana crossed with the floribunda, Floradora. I knew it would root, but I wasn't really expecting to find this....

Friday, March 9, 2012

2012 Wrapping Update...

I wrapped my first cuttings Christmas Eve, with a second batch on New Years Day. All very good takes. I'm on the fifth batch now, having wrapped cuttings from a friend who potentially discovered a "lost" polyantha in her town. 

After some discussions and questions on Garden Web about a few points, I decided I should add a few photos to illustrate. 

No, you don't have to wait until there are actual roots to pot up the cuttings. Callus at this stage of development can work just fine. 

 Yes, you can wait until there are actual roots, but it seems the longer you permit them to sit in the dark, damp paper, the less likely they are to succeed. Until they are exposed to light so the green parts can photosynthesize their own food, they are operating on whatever levels of stored nutrients they contain. Permit them to use up their stores of food and they have nothing (or not enough) left to help carry them until they can push out roots to take up more resources.

Some find covering their cuttings with bottles, bags or placing them in a greenhouse or terrarium helps prevent them from drying out until they are rooted. If that works well in your conditions, great, but it hasn't worked for me here, at all. So, I plant them deeply in the cups, like this.

Most of the cutting is now encased in damp, cool, dark potting soil, much like when you mound or hill up a newly planted bare root. It works for both for the same reasons. Warmth and light stimulate growth buds to develop, resulting in new leaves and canes, often to the point of flowering, whether there are sufficient roots to support the plant or not. 

Encasing the cutting or newly planted bare root in soil, only permitting the top few inches to be exposed to the heat, dry and light, keeps the cutting or plant cool, darker and damper which stimulates root growth instead of cane, leaf and flower. This has successfully permitted several hundred wrapped cuttings to continue rooting and developing for me this and last year. 

As I see roots filling the bottom inch or so of soil, and top growth being produced, they finally reach the stage where I'm comfortable lifting them in their pots so more cane is exposed and more soil area provided for more root development. It's an easy shift to make. 

I tilt the soil ball out of the cup, add enough soil to the cup to elevate the cutting so it will be situated in the cup at what should be the proper planting height, then set the bottom of the soil ball back in the cup. Gently pull the soil around the cane above the root area away from the cane as you push it into the cup to fill in around the roots and soil. You're really just trading spaces it occupied from above the roots along the cutting, to below the roots where it permits more root growth room. 

Until now, that extra soil kept the cutting dark, cool and damp while it rooted. Now it can be exposed to the hotter, drier, brighter conditions without having to harden it off as would be required had the cutting been covered by plastic or bottles, or grown in a greenhouse or terrarium.