Tyrian purple leaning toward magenta, variable in intensity, with a grape band above a green to chartreuse throat.
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Elizabethan Minerva - The Roman goddess of wisdom and peace, and associated with the royal color Tyrian purple, Minerva was another mythical figure adopted as a symbol of Elizabeth Tudor to represent her wisdom and the long peace England had experienced under her reign. Minerva is the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Pallas Athena. With her gorgeous purple flowers, her high fertility both ways, her high rust resistance, good branching and semi-evergreen foliage, I believe Elizabethan Minerva will be an important breeding plant for southern breeders seeking to breed for rust resistance and modern flowers with great scapes.
The plant of Elizabethan Minerva is a hardy semi-evergreen, though it does show just a touch more late spring freeze susceptibility than I like. However, it is still extremely hardy and I have never seen it lose fans or die out in the center of the plant due to even our harshest winters or latest hard freezes in spring. It has also lived well in the deep south in gardens where I have sent it for testing. The rust resistance was A+ through all five years of my rust screening, and the plant is very fertile both ways. I have produced tons of seedlings with Elizabethan Minerva as pod parent, and she is an excellent breeder for multiple traits, passing rust resistance to a very high percentage of seedlings, along with good branching, hardiness to cold, and bright, vibrant colors.
The thrips resistance of Elizabethan Minerva is only moderate, and it does produce some spotting and enations in periods of heavy thrip infestation, so to keep the flower perfect, you may need to spray for thrips, if they are a problem in your garden. However, it can breed seedlings with much better thrips resistance when bred to partners with higher resistance (such as Solaris Symmetry). As I never spray for thrips in order to test for resistance to the pests, all of the pictures I have taken that are include here show Elizabethan Minerva in high thrips setting and unsprayed.
The flower of Elizabethan Minerva is a wild-looking open form that can also vary from day to day. In its seedlings there is an interesting range of forms from wild, open forms to unusual forms, as well as rounder forms. I think that Elizabethan Minerva will offer a great deal to any garden, but especially for breeders who want to increase rust resistance in their programs while keeping the bright, modern colors. Because pollen parent Dimensional Shift has a bevy of fancy edge/eye/pattern types in its ancestry, you can see some fancy edges and occasional patterns amongst the seedlings of Elizabethan Minerva.
Another nice feature is that the flower doesn't melt during the day and is still attractive by the end of the day. There is also good resistance to rain. In extremely hard rain, you will see some spotting, but in most rain, you don't, as you can see in the picture below.
The seedlings of Elizabethan Minerva have been delightful and have been one of the most exciting parts of each summer as the new seedlings bloom. Elizabethan Minerva has produced a very high percentage of rust resistant seedlings in each batch that was tested, and it became an extremely reliable breeder, producing a large number of keepers that I am still working with. Both semi-evergreen and dormant seedlings have been amongst the offspring, depending on what partner it was mated with. Many of Elizabethan Minerva's seedlings show the same strong rebloom that it shows. Below are some favorite seedlings.