Our Seedlings

Harold and I would like to welcome you to our seedling patch. We have a very small and very eclectic breeding program. WE have a total of about 5000 seedlings. We are currently unfocused and tend to dabble pollen with little rhyme or reason. As we are "hybridizing" just for fun and not for fame or fortune, we do have the luxury of following our whims without worrying if they will produce a cash crop. Our hybridizing goal is to try to become a bit more focused in the upcoming seasons, but to still feel free to do some off the wall crosses. I'm not sure that we will ever have an introduction, but we are going to have a lot of fun and learn some of what it takes to produce new flowers. As for what we are breeding for, we do both dips and tets. We do full forms, spiders, unusual forms, and doubles. We like vibrant saturated colors and pastels. Ruffles, teeth, eyes, watermarks, bands, and edges are all lovely too. I don't think I left anything out…

The summer of 2005 we will see some of our 1st year, several of our 2nd year and most of our 3rd year seedlings in bloom. This summer we are going to try our hand at "seedling selection". The ones that we saw bloom last year were lots of fun, and a very few were even pretty nice! Of course we kept them all… This year, we feel we should see them at their best and must begin to weed out the ugliest ones. As we do have plenty as space, we don't have to be as rigid in our purging as many are.

Last summer, which was when we saw our first significant amount of seedling bloom, we didn't manage to take very many photos of quality. Either they were not opened or they were gone by when we had a moment to try to capture their images with the digital camera. This summer we hope to improve upon our images for the seedling gallery, and at least try to get shots of the nicer ones.

One thing that we have learned from this experiment in hybridizing is that it takes a great deal of time. I seriously doubt that we will have the time to do a good job of it until we retire and have fewer commitments on our time. It was at times overwhelming the amount or paperwork and record keeping needed to accurately keep track of the various crosses. There were many opportunities along the way where even with your best intentions that valuable information could be lost. Lost tags, ink that faded, dropped seedpods, illegible writing, are jus some of the problems that you face in the first phase of seed production. Then there are seedlings that start out marked but become unidentifiable (our cats liked to pull out the seedlings and drop them in a pile on the floor). Once in the garden you have Mother Nature and can be plagued by critters and children who play or remove the tags. Even with our best attempts, we still ended up with many "unknowns" in our seedling patch.

Happy gardening,
Leila & Harold