Friday, January 5, 2024



Cultivar Name: Baalbek

Seedling Number: PRWS 3

Bloom Diameter: 7”

Scape Height: 34”

Branches: 3

Bud Count: 14

Bloom Season: Mid-late

Rebloom: Yes

Color/Description: Lavender petals with bluish-green watermark and appliqué chartreuse to green throat.

Ploidy: Dip

Bloom Habit: Diurnal

Foliage: SEV

Fragrance: UNK

Pod Parent: Phoenician Royalty


Pollen Parent: Wabi Sabi

Year Bred: 2013

Rust Resistance: A+/3 years

Fertile: Pod and pollen fertile, pollen is easier than pods, but I have produced enough to know it can produce giant seedlings just like itself.

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Comments: Baalbek is named for the massive stone platform in the old Phoenician kingdom, known for its famous purple dye, upon which the later Roman's built their temple to Bacchus. With its wonderful lavender coloring, the name had to honor pod parent Phoenician Royalty, with its clarity of color, massive-sized plants, and the ability to pass both traits to its seedlings. I have to say, I wasn't sure what to expect when I made this cross, very early in my hybridizing program. Pollen parent Wabi Sabi is one strange flower, but I knew that the Substantial Evidence family line can produce intense, bluish-lavender coloring. Wabi Sabi combined beautifully with Phoenician Royalty, bringing the Substantial Evidence flat form from the pollen parent onto the gorgeous colored flowers from the pod parent for a really eye-catching combination. 

The plant is very robust, and while the scapes are not extremely tall, they are very thick and strong. The flowers are also large and show excellent, thick substance coming from the Substantial Evidence ancestry. I long wondered if this was a tetraploid or some kind of off-ploidy, like a triploid, etc., but in test-crosses with tetraploids of all kinds, I never got a seed either way. This, in fact has delayed me from introducing Baalbek for years, as I spent several years making tet crosses with it. The fact that I never got any seeds from these crosses suggests to me that it is just a diploid that happens to be robust. Both parents are just dips, and it is fertile with other dips. The pollen is very fertile, while pods are harder, but I have produced quite a few over the years.

The plant gets large and had very strong resistance to rust through the last three years of my testing program. Thrips resistance is moderate. Recovery from division is slow. It usually takes three years from division for those divisions to take on their fully mature size and the other characteristics of the mature, established clumps. The mature clump in the image below is a five-year old clump. Amongst the seedlings I have raised from Baalbek, I have gotten some that get huge, some are faster to recover, while others are slower like Baalbek, so you can get faster recovering seedlings from Baalbek, if that matters to you. I think Baalbek is a real eye-catching plant when mature and is an excellent breeder for a wide range of traits including rust resistance, giant size, flat flower form and lavender to purple color with intense clarity and vibrancy. See multiple photos of Baalbek below.

Baalbek clump
A mature clump of Baalbek in the line out garden in 2023

Baalbek seedling
Baalbek in the hybridizing garden in 2018

All the photos below are small to save space. 
To see larger images, just click on each picture.

Early afternoon, 2018

Late evening near sunset, 2018

2018 mid-day

2018 with my hand for size reference
late evening

2023 with my hand for size reference
late evening

2023 evening, cloudy day

2023 early evening