Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait

 Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait


2021 - Reeder - Tetraploid
(Custard Candy x South Seas) x Kaskel Low Rust SDLG
34" scape - 5" flower - 4 branches - 21 buds
Midseason - Dormant - Rebloom

Peach-pink-coral with darker red coral edge and veining, red-orange coral band above orange to golden-yellow throat.

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The famous Rainbow Portrait, painted in the first couple of years of the seventeenth-century at the very end of Elizabeth's reign, is the most heavily symbolic of all of the many portraits of Elizabeth. It shows Elizabeth as an ageless goddess in garments covered in symbols representing her power and myths. The colors in the portraits range from orange to coral to pink and salmon. I thought this beautiful and meaningful portrait was a great name for a truly great flower, emerging from a classically good plant with high rust and thrips resistance, fertility both ways, great hardiness, vigor and increase, beautiful foliage, scapes and bud count, rebloom, and breeding value for all these traits.

In the image above you can see the beautiful dark green foliage, the first round of scapes flowering while instant rebloom scapes emerge below them. The colors are bright and eye-catching, but yet soft and not overpowering. She produces a lot of blooms through her long flowering season. Below - the Rainbow Portrait of Elizabeth the 1st. It is called "Rainbow Portrait" because Elizabeth holds a rainbow in her right hand in the portrait, and not because of the colors of the painting. The color palette is almost a study in orange to peach tones of the same color family.

I hybridized Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait in 2012 and germinated that batch of seeds in the late summer of 2012, so they went through the first year of my rust resistance screening. While many of those siblings showed excellent rust resistance, this was the only one I ended up keeping. Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait was bred from two seedlings. The pod parent was a seedling from Custard Candy x South Seas that ended up showing moderate rust resistance and nice branching, but had unattractive foliage and was eventually culled for the foliage. The pollen parent was a rust resistant seedling from the breeding program of Matthew Kaskel, which was gifted to me by Linda Pinkham. That seedling showed good rust resistance but had very poor branching with moderate foliage, and was eventually culled as I produced better seedlings. This seedling that became Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait showed high rust resistance that first year as a seedling, but also had attractive foliage, while none of its siblings did. By the end of 2013, this was the only seedling left from that cross, and I had never seen the flower. I saw the first flower in 2014 and was ecstatic that there was great branching and that the flowers were an attractive coral shade.

Only later did I start to notice that the flower was consistently very symmetrical and of beautiful form and that the flower started out a darker coral that then faded to a lighter peach with a deep coral edge on the petals. Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait showed A+ rust resistance through all five years of my screening program and produced a high percentage of rust resistant offspring. The thrips resistance is also excellent and again, there is high breeding value for this trait.

The plant of Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait is very nice, showing beautiful dark green foliage that does not show summer dormancy. It goes fully dormant after the first round of freezes in fall and stays down until spring. The branching is very nice averaging four branches, but sometimes showing five. Bud count averages 21, but I have seen more buds on some scapes.

Beautiful even before the first flower opens!

The rebloom is a great added bonus. There is instant rebloom that comes on as the first round of scapes are flowering, then there is some late summer rebloom in most years. Combined with the branching, lovely dormant foliage, lovely flower, and the high pest resistance, the rebloom is just the icing on the cake. The high breeding value for all these traits then only adds to the value of Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait for anyone wishing to hybridize modern flowers on cutting edge plants.

The color of the flower is gorgeous. Starting a deep, rich coral peach with a darker reddish-coral eye and a bright orange to golden throat, the flower fades through the day to become a light peach with reddish-coral veins and petal edge with an eye of the same shade above the glowing throat. It is a very beautiful effect and with the consistently symmetrical flower form, it is a beauty to behold for a long time in the garden.

The struggle to combine high rust resistance with excellent plant traits and fancy flower traits has been one of the biggest deterrents to the production of line with high rust resistance, as many breeders have been reluctant to step back from the pursuit of fancy flower extremes to set the rust resistance and then work back to the extreme flowers. My focus from the start of my program was to produce breeding plants that combined many excellent plant and flower traits with high rust resistance so more breeders would have material to go out to in order to bring rust resistance into their programs without setting their flower phenotypes back to much. In this way, they can quickly get back to the most extreme flowers, while also bringing in rust resistance.

Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait midday on a cloudy day

Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait in the evening on another cloudy day

The lovely plant and flowers make for a wonderful garden plant, but the high fertility both ways makes a wonderful and very viable breeder. The high breeding value for so many excellent traits is perhaps the most exciting thing, to me, about Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait. Below are some favorite seedlings from Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait, and as you can see, the vibrant color clarity, wonderful scapes and plant traits pass along to its offspring, as does the rust and thrips resistance.

Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait x Pacific Rainbow sdlg 1
Midday, the color is so vibrant and intensely hot pink, it is sometimes hard to believe

Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait x Pacific Rainbow sdlg 1
Near sunset, the colors have only fades slightly at the petal edges and the flower substance is still wonderful. This flower is always extremely symmetrical and gorgeous

Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait x Elizabethan Fine Gloves
Extremely striking form and beautiful pastel peach/cream coloring combine to make a seedling that has been a standout through several seasons

Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait x Pacific Rainbow
not consistently poly, but this picture from a poly day is really lovely. At sunset, this pink flower appears to have a lavender flush due to the lighting. Always a nice form and color

Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait x The Spice Must Flow sdlg showing intense branching

Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait x The Spice Must Flow sdlg showing the lovely orange flower, again, as with so many of the seedlings from Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait, showing the wonderful symmetry and flower form.

Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait is a wonderful plant, and gorgeous flower, that has a lot to offer any garden, but is especially relevant for a hybridizing program.