For a plant breeder who grows flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la, this sesason is a time of wonder and renewal, of vindication and disappointment. This spring, in New Zealand, has been a wonderful growing season for may flowers and flowering shrubs and trees. Firstly I noticed the Kowhai trees bloomed prolifically and with great colour. This was followed by a procession of other flowering plants.
Right now the roses are absolutely magnificent, lush of growth and festooned with an abundance of large, bright flowers. Not surprising then that he delphiniums should be flowering a couple of weeks early wonderfully well. That in itself is great as it means that the bulk of the pollinating will be over by Christmas. However, it gets better!
Last year I trial flowered a row of a new strain of our dark blue delphiniums we currently call Royal Aspirations. This variety has always been a bit bothersome as the germination rate has been relatively poor (at 67%) and the colour quite variable (giving some mid blues as well as deeper ones). Well, last year's trial was ok but nothing spectacular so I decided to roundup most of the bed and leave only a small patch for some photographs this season. Lucky I did. There, right on the end of the row, was a plant of wonderful deep blue with even, white bees and a great spike form. What really tops it off is that this plant is at least an F5, that is it is a 5th generation of this variety which means it will almost certainly throw offspring that are well on the way to being identical to the parent. To have such strength and vigour coupled with the strong colour at this stage is just a dream come true.
Needless to say we will be breeding from it in real earnest over the next couple of seasons and have something quite fantastic to offer in the near future.
There are some other beauties in the breeding beds and production houses too. I hope you are enjoying the images!