Elizabethan Rainbow Portrait
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.
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.
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.