Sunday, January 20, 2013

Most planted pod parents

I was asked which pod parents I had used most frequently during the spring of 2012 (with the seeds planted in August). Usually I have about 150 "mama" plants in clump size (seedlings selected from the previous year plus other named varieties) plus my own intros to use, as well as any of the new baby seedlings that catch my eye (although most are very immature plants and more reluctant pod setters than when established). However, because the greenhouse was closed from June 2010-June 2011, there were no new plants to "select". And there were no seedlings I wanted to bring inside, other than those which had passed their testing process and were ready to be lined out for introduction. (Once a seedling is outside for testing, I don't want to delay its testing process by disturbing it in order to bring a piece back inside to use. Also, I make all of my seeds inside - I don't want to fight the heat and the rain and the insects mid-summer).

In keeping with my goal this year of producing a larger percentage of plants with great outside hardiness and budcount, 11 of the 13 of my most planted pod parents are current or future introductions which are proven parents. I also had a lot more of those plants to work with.

The most planted pod parent was All Things to All Men, with 31 different pollen parents. Although I have used it for several years, it is an amazing parent and wanted to put it with things that I hadn't yet tried (like Get Jiggy, Bluegrass Memories, Vanishing Mist, Alpha and Omega, God Save the Queen and a bunch of my new seedlings.

The second most used was 2708,with 26 different pollen parents, because I like its eye, pattern and outdoor performance. I also had a bunch of it lined out for the future and it sets pods easily. It is out of Be Fruitful and Multiply x (17305 x 18305). 17305 has a neon lavender chalky eye and 18305 is patterned out of Intelligent Design and Entwined in the Vine, so am hoping to get kids with both of those characteristics.

The third most used (with 21 pollen parents) was Faith That Moves Mountains. I love its size and saturation.

The fourth most used was 48010 (with 17 pollen parents), a seedling that includes 13107, Desire of Nations, etc. It is painfully beautiful, incredibly branched , super pod fertile, grows like a weed inside - but isn't happy outside:-( I put it with things like All Things to All Men,Thistles and Thorns, Vanishing Mist, Bluegrass Memories to put that great look on a hardy plant.

The fifth most used was Not Guilty (with 15 pollen parents). Love the way it passes on its color to its kids.

The sixth most used, also with 15 pollen parents, was Skin of My Teeth. I put it on toothy things like Terrible Swift Sword and Thistles and Thorns and tall, toothy, rose colored 24312 (see earlier in the blog).

The seventh most used, also with 15 pollen parents, was Forty Days and Forty Nights - because it is very tall and dormant with good budcount. I used it with mostly super fancy pollen parents to give them better plant habit.

The eighth most used was Alpha and Omega (with 14 pollen parents). Love the color and the eye and the genetics, and haven't used it before since it was always an outside plant and I forgot to collect its pollen.

The ninth most used was 13107 (with 14 pollen parents) for its hardiness and proven performance as a parent.

The tenth most used was Repeat the Sounding Joy (with 11 pollen parents), because of its proven performance as a parent of hardy kids that are introduction worthy.

The 11th most used was seedling 4812 (with 10 pollen parents) - and this is going to look like a very odd choice based on its "face". But as a 9 month seedling it was super tall, 7", had 6 way branching with well-spaced laterals, was super pod fertile, and had genetics (out of Not Guilty, 8305 which includes Gnashing of Teeth, Faith That Moves Mountains, Chariot of Clouds, Skin of My Teeth - oh, my! these are hardy and all great parents). So I put it with super fancy things to give them great plant habit.

The twelfth most used (with 9 pollen parents) was Vanishing Mist. I haven't used it since I first saw it many years ago and then sent outside for testing, and would have used it more this year but all the plants but my one were spoken for. It breeds wonderful chalky eyes.

The thirteenth most used (also with 9 pollen parents) was Soli Deo Gloria. I used it with Thistles and Thorns, Faith that Moves Mountains, Vino di Travis, Bluegrass Memories, 24312, etc.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What a Minnesota winter is supposed to look like:-)

This is the view out my office windows - now this is what a Minnesota winter is supposed to look like! Forecasted to be -20 on Monday Jan 21. We had bare ground until a couple of days ago, so glad for the dusting of snow we got. Hopefully, it will continue to stay cold all winter so we won't have a return of the Midwest Malaise (caused by very very high temps in March, followed by very cold temps), where most of the foliage turned yellow and the scapes dried up and the daylilies didn't bloom. Some were amazing and didn't seem to notice - even though they might just be pretty garden flowers rather than cutting edge, they will all be introduced for their beauty and toughness.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Last group of frequently used pollen parents

In the previous 2 posts I discussed the 10 pollen parents that are represented in approximately 43% of the seeds planted in this year's crop. There are an addtional 12 that I used on between 13 and 20 different pod parents each.

1312 (below) bloomed at 7" with 4-way branching and 15 buds as a 9 month seedling (in the greenhouse). Great color and height and branching, and out of my 8110. Although it has no hint of the fleur-de-lis patterning of 8110, it did get twinkle midribs (which can produce patterns in the next generation). I also love what is going on in the sepals.

25012 is an 8", tall, with 5-way branching that goes back to 52708, 40807, and Entwined in the Vine.

28212 is 7", 6-way branching with instant rebloom that had 4-5 way branching. It is out of dormant 52708 - plus 14510 (out of All Things to All Men, 13107). Gorgeous, but tangles a lot, so used it with good openers. 

22712 is also out of 14510 plus Soli Deo Gloria. 7", 4-way, tall.

23012 is out of Cosmic Struggle and 28709 (which goes back to 25807). 

15012 is very tall with 6-way branching at 9 months). Includes Entwined in the Vine, 21303, 13107, Skin of My Teeth, 40807, 25807.

12512 was used because of its amazing height, plus being out of dormant 52708.

Rounding out the group: Terrible Swift Sword, Faith That Moves Mountains, Vanishing Mist, Entwined in the Vine,and Get Jiggy.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Next most used pollen parents

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my 6 most planted pollen parents, which represented 30% of the seeds planted. Today's 4 represent an additional 13%. The first is Flying Purple People Eater by Sandy Holmes. It is very dormant, has beautiful color throughout petals and sepals, is registered at 10.5", and did very well in my garden in 2011 (although it had a rough 2012 like the majority of my plants because of the Midwest Malaise). I use at least one sort of "crazy" parent each year (in the sense of not even remotely knowing if it will work), and this one is it. I am hoping to add size and dormancy and hardiness to my fancy purples, and crossed it with 43 of them. Of course, that is what I last tried doing with Webster's Pink Wonder, and got a long row of boring, and even ugly, throwbacks, none of which appeared to pick up any of my fancy edges. Thank goodness most of them bloomed, so I could quickly toss them rather than wasting garden space. Sandy has had good luck with FPPE, so am hoping it will work with my lines.

The next one is my 2012 introduction, Thistles and Thorns. It is one of my best performers - hardy, well-branched, great teeth, and instant rebloom - although it needs heat to show off its teeth. I used it with 32 pod parents to add performance and sharks to my purple lines. For example, it went with obvious ones like Skin of My Teeth and Gnashing of Teeth, plus newer intros All Things to All Men, Not Guilty, and Faith that Moves Mountains, plus some of the new seedlings from 2012 (see website for 2012 greenhouse seedlings) like 8912, 10112, 11412, 25912.

The third is my 2013 introduction  All Things to All Men, which was used with about 40 pod parents. (I also used it extensively as a pod parent.) It is an amazing parent - producing fancy flowers with nice scapes and instant rebloom. 

The fourth is seedling 8912, which is out of All Things to All Men and 52708 breeding. As a 10 month seedling, it was 8" with 4 way branching. Even though it sometimes tangled, I used it on 26 pod parents because of its size, fanciness, hardy parents, twinkle midribs (which can sometimes produce patterns in the kids), and lavender eye. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Most used pollen parents in 2012

I planted 3000 seeds on August 1-2, 2012 (and the vast majority had germinated and were above ground by August 13), representing 100 pollen parents and 300 pod parents. The top 6 pollen parents represented an unusually high (for me) 30% of the total (but an odd year due to not having my normal 125-150 "mama" plants from special new seedlings because the greenhouse was closed from July 2010 to June 2011). I am seeing more dormancy than usual in this year's crop, reflecting the desire to bring more of that into my program to see if that will improve the ratio of introductions to seedlings planted from my past average of 1 out of 400. You will notice that five of the six are purples and lavenders. Familiar territory and colors that "talk" to me and make my heart sing.

The first of the six most used pollen parents is seedling 24312 (below). 7.5", very tall scape in the greenhouse (head high), saturated rose color that reflects its Not Guilty parentage, and a sharky white edge that represents a break for me (I usually get purples with white edges). It includes all my powerhouse breeders including Kingdom Without End, Gnashing of Teeth, Not Guilty, All Things to All Men, Chariot of Clouds, Secret of Contentment, Skin of My Teeth. I put it with 44 different pod parents, and am hoping to get tall plants with  rich clear colors, chalky eyes and white teeth.

The second of the six is Alpha and Omega, one of my 2013 introductions that has always been an outside plant so didn't make seeds with it until this year. It is a dormant out of Inscribed on My Heart x (Storm Shelter x Jane Trimmer), and is making very dormant seedlings. I used it with 32 pod parents and am hoping to get bold eyes, chalky eyes, and a few patterns (I didn't have many patterned things this year to put it on) in super hardy plants.

The third of the six is seedling 26712, an exciting 7" reverse bitone beauty which had a unique pattern each day. It is out of my tall, well branched dormant 52708 (out of 40807 and 10907 which includes Secret of Contentment and a lot of eyed breeding - see comments about it elsewhere on the blog) and seedling 28909 (which includes 40807, Entwined in the Vine, Inscribed in My Heart, Chariot of Clouds). I used it with 40 pod parents including anything with a hint of a pattern, hoping to get a pattern on at least some of them. 

The fourth of the six is seedling 10112, which bloomed at 9" on its initial bloom and settled in at 7" - a full-formed beauty with a great edge and chalky eye out of Cosmic Struggle and 25807. Cosmic Struggle is a great performer and grows like a weed, is almost dormant in the greenhouse, and haven't made many seeds out of it because it was always an outside plant, so thought this would be a good opportunity. I put it on all my chalky eyes (36 pod parents), hoping to make them bigger and hardier.

The fifth of the six is seedling 31312, a tall, 7.5" beauty with a neon eye and 4 way branching in its maiden year. Its parents include lots of hardy things like Chariot of Clouds, All Things to All Men, Gnashing of Teeth, 13107. I put it on 32 pod parents, hoping to get size and height and fanciness.

The sixth of the six is Bluegrass Memories, which I used with 45 pod parents. I have been meaning to use it ever since I saw some of the pretty things Ted Preuss had gotten out of it when he put it with Heartbeat of Heaven (partial line breeding because Fortune's Dearest is in both of them). I thought it might work well with all of my neon lavender chalky eyes, and am hoping that its smaller size and lack of a fancy edge won't take things backward - will find out soon.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The difference 2 months can make in bloom percentage

Dan Robarts asked me to show pics of the GH a year ago on today's date (first picture - where the seeds were planted Jun 1, 2011) compared to today (second picture - where the seeds were planted August 1, 2012). You can see that the pictures are taken in the identical location.Although some of the difference in the size of the plants in these pictures is because this year's crop in these particular beds has more dormants than last year's (including kids from Alpha and Omega, patterned 26712 which is out of dormant 52708, etc.) you can see the huge difference in size (note where the top of the plants are vs the top of the green marker flags) - which is the reason I got a large percentage of first year bloom last spring and why it will be much lower this year. Unfortunately, the only way to be able to plant June 1 is to use have empty beds to plant in and to use seeds made in the previous year rather than the current year. Looking at the second picture is kind of depressing, except when I remember that that is what all my pictures have looked like in early January except for last year, so there should still be a lot of bloom in April and May.

Note: you can see in the bottom picture that the bed by the wall is empty. I decided to plant fewer seeds (3000) than usual (5500) this year because of the national convention and all the work entailed in stripping out the greenhouse. That bed always has a lower percentage of bloom than elsewhere in the greenhouse. Even though that wall faces south, it shades the plants during times of the year when the sun is very low in the sky - a dumb design error on my part. I was advised to put in a short insulated wall (about 3' high) on 3 sides and a full insulated wall on the north side to save on energy. Because most people with greenhouses grow their plants in pots or trays on 3' benches it never occurred to the builders to advise me that a south wall might be a problem. In fact, one builder recommended 5 foot walls on those 3 sides to save on energy. Fortunately, I decided against that because I wanted to be able to look outside while I was working - ouch, that would have been a disaster! and very expensive to correct. For those of you who want to get into the weeds, the east side also has a large garage door that blocks some of the light, but the seedlings in the east third of the greenhouse have the highest percentage bloom rate because they get more hours of sunlight during the day than anywhere else. It is also dryer on the east end (and warmer soil because of more sun) and more spider mites because of that!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Foliage types

There has been a lot of talk on the AHS robin about foliage types, and figuring out the difference. I wrote about this earlier on the blog on January 2, 2012 and March 7, 2010 (you can go to the search box and type in those dates or just type in the word foliage). It can be really hard to tell the difference in foliage types outside, but it is quite clear in a greenhouse setting. Some things are 100% evergreen, some are 100% dormant, and semis range from 90% dormant to just 10% dormant and their foliage makes it obvious which is which. However, because I don't take the temperature in the greenhouse below 36 degrees (so as not to damage it), some things that are somewhat semi-evergreen inside may indeed be dormant when grown outside. (Note that I register the foliage type based on what I observe in the greenhouse and comment if it looks different outside).

Here are a couple of my introductions that are clearly 100% evergreen (and yes, they are hardy in the north) and were registered that way (pictures taken today). The first one is Gnashing of Teeth and the second one is Faith That Moves Mountains. Note that the foliage is erect and there is virtually no yellowing or browning at all.

The picture below is Entwined in the Vine. Although in the greenhouse it does not look evergreen this year (note the slumping leaves and browning foliage), I registered it that way because I thought it looked that way in the year before registration and because outside in the spring its foliage is mushy. 
The next picture is All Things to All Men, which is a semi-evergreen. Note yellowing but lots of green, and it looks like it might be about 70% evergreen and 30% dormant if you were using a sliding scale.
This is Spoken in Parables, which looks about midway between dormant and evergreen, and is registered as a semi-evergreen.

The picture below is Wrestling with Angels, which is almost dormant (about 90%) but not quite, so I had to register it as a semi-evergreen. Most plants this dormant do not do well in the greenhouse, so the majority of the fans are lined out outside.
Finally, a picture of Fear Not, a dormant inside and out that is now completely underground.