Sunday, January 5, 2020

Feathered Flamingo

Feathered Flamingo
(Sdlg# TFFTCLF23)

2020 - Reeder - Diploid - 
(Texas Feathered Fancy x Tanimbar Cockatoo) x Lavender Feathers - 
29" scape - 6" flower - 2 branches - 9 buds - Midseason - Rebloom - Dormant - Unusual Form (crispate/pinched) - Cristate

Light pink with lighter, near white midribs above green to chartreuse throat, cristations chartreuse with pink on tips.

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Feathered Flamingo is a full sibling to Feathered Dragon, and is a gorgeous flower of stunning clear pink, with both lighter and darker tones combined with cream highlights. The parents are both excellent plants with gorgeous flowers and both show extremely high rust resistance, as does Feathered Flamingo. From my 2013 breeding season, I saw the first flower on Feathered Flamingo in 2015 and knew it was a standout from the start. Like its sibling Feathered Dragon, Feathered Flamingo was tested through the last three years of my rust resistance screening program, showing the highest rating each year (A+).

2015 first year of flowering baby picture

Feathered Flamingo is a lovely pinched, crispate unusual form, giving it great interest in the garden. The cristation is a nice added bonus, and it is consistently cristate on 90%+ of the flowers. In the picture below you can see it on a day with the lowest expression, and even though I would say it isn't cristate that day, you can still see the raised areas on both sides of the midrib where the cristations emerge. One of my favorite traits about this plant is the heavy ruffling on the edges of the petals. It has shown this consistently since its first flower. I think that the heavy ruffling is a real bonus on such an interesting flower.

2017 showing lowest level of cristation that I have seen, but still a stunning flower.

Feathered Flamingo has been very rust resistant with good resistance to thrips. It is fertile both ways, with excellent pollen allowing it to be used far and wide in a breeding program, but it does have a couple of drawbacks that almost kept me from introducing it, even though I have used it a lot as a breeder. Over time I came to realize that the branching and bud counts are low, the foliage is not as gorgeous as its parents or impressive sibling, Feathered Dragon, and the increase is poor. Not enough to knock it out of breeding in my program, but it made it questionable for introduction. However, everyone who has seen it in my garden has flipped out over it and asked me to introduce it, so for all those who have asked, here it is! In fact, so many people want it, I suspect it is already sold out before I can even get it listed. I am planning to keep one fan for my own breeding, and with the slow increase, it may be a long time before I have any more to offer, though I may well have some better increasing seedlings to introduce on down the line. It will be interesting to see if Feathered Flamingo shows better increase in other gardens, and I look forward to hearing how it does in other garden environments.

With the negatives out of the way, now let's talk about the wonderful breeding traits of Feathered Flamingo. The flower is stunning, and the plant shows high rust and thrips resistance, as well as rebloom. Even though the increase is slow, it is very hardy and resilient and went through five years in an extremely crowded seedling row where it showed no problem competing with larger, stronger, faster increasing plants. The foliage is dormant and fully rests in the winter, only emerging fairly late in the spring, and shows no summer dormancy. I have seen rebloom most years since it first flowered. Those are all very valuable traits, and as both of its parents show better increase, I suspected I could get seedlings from it that showed better increase combined with its many good traits, and on a prettier plant with better branching/bud count. 

Pod parent (Tanimbar Cockatoo x Texas Feathered Fancy)

Pollen parent - My 2016 introduction Lavender Feathers

In practice, I have found Feathered Flamingo to be very fertile both ways and so have been able to test it for breeding value. It passes its many good traits easily, and while you see some seedlings with its negative traits, you also see seedlings that show improvements in those traits. Feathered Flamingo has produced seedlings in my program that show very attractive foliage, higher branching/bud count and good increase, in addition to showing the good traits such as bright, clear coloring, high rust and thrips resistance and rebloom. I think Feathered Flamingo will be a valuable breeder for those who get a chance to use it.