Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Harlequin Rose - A Sport of Brilliant Pink Iceberg

Some of you may remember my first post about a Brilliant Pink Iceberg that has always been a bummer in my garden. It did, indeed, get shovel pruned a couple of weeks ago. I do have another rose bush of that variety, though, that does reasonably well for me...go figure. This one survivor, however, has produced a sport. In case you're not familiar with the term, a sport is a genetic mutation. It usually causes one branch to produce flowers that are not true to the variety. Brilliant Pink Iceberg, for example, was a sport of Pink Iceberg, which was a sport of Iceberg (a white rose). Apparently, Iceberg (of whatever variety) is prone to genetic mutation. I've seen reports of Pink Iceberg frequently sporting back to a branch of white blooms, like it's parent Iceberg. I have not, however, been able to find anything on the net about BPI sporting half white and half pink petals and blooms like this:

Isn't that just crazy? I have two branches on this bush producing these harlequin style blooms. Even stranger, some of these blooms have petals with the 1/2 and 1/2 coloring - sometimes bright pink and white, sometimes bright pink and pale pink. Check it out:

Imagine a rose whose blooms were entirely made up of 1/2 and 1/2 petals or one that always produced the half white, half pink blooms like the one at the top left in the photo above. I'd certainly buy a rose like that, wouldn't you?

I'm taking cuttings this year to see if this unusual coloration is stable and can be replicated. Not all sports are and I don't have my hopes too high. Still...just the possibility is pretty exciting. Who knows? Maybe, one of these days you'll walk into a nursery and find a harlequin rose called "The Jester," a sport discovered by Jean LaRue.


Chris said...

You know I was never much of a rose fan when I was younger. My mom had them but they just always seemed so drab. But then I took a trip to Portland Oregon and saw their Rose Garden. Then I started to get into roses. These roses remind me of that trip.

Tatyana said...

Now, I know what a sport is! Very interesting1 I need to look at my roses! We came back from our Alaska vacation and I need to check my garden! (BTW, did you see my BIG fish? I am bragging! - July 24th post). I hope you are staying cool, cooler than us - we have 100 degrees!

jo said...

Dear Jean,

If you only knew how envious I am!!!
I love sports and have one on my Rosa "Pieter Grootendorst", which is dark red and the sports are either white or pink. So far only the pink one has graced me with a branch or two. I am still hoping for the white.

But your Iceberg manifestations are marvellous.

Makes one wonder what it takes to get a rose to sport a little.

And yes, they CAN come true from vegetative reproduction. At least professional growers can do it. You might be sitting on a fortune here :-)

joeltheurbangardener said...

What an informative post. Did I hear someone say patent? : )
Thanks for sharing.

Teresa said...

Very unusual and beautiful. I will be looking for you namesake.

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

Sunita said...

How absolutely lovely!I don't grow roses anymore though I used to some years ago. But nothing I ever grew was ever in the same plane as these lovelies. I don't blame you for being fascinated by them. They're simply superb!

Elephant's Eye said...

Oh what fun!!
Was just checking back thru the blogs that joined Blotanical with me over a year ago and came to visit you.

Anonymous said...

Please update this blog with your results from your cutting! The variations are beautiful. I would love to hear if you were able to produce a new stable rose from it!