Would You Keep 'Double Delight'??

This time of the year is both exciting and a bit anxiety provoking for me. It is great fun to see never before seen, brand new seedling roses, but it is also a bit scarey knowing that once a one-of-a-kind seedling is culled, it cannot be brought back.

A couple years ago, I brought ‘Double Delight’ into the greenhouse for consideration to use in my breeding program. I was very disappointed in it’s appearance in the greenhouse. It was a plain cream white color and the foliage was too disease prone for me. Had I been given the opportunity to select ‘Double Delight’ in my greenhouse, I am sure that I would have culled it. Although, the fragrance may have caused me to delay a bit in culling it.

That is what scares me because ‘Double Delight’ was one of my favorite first roses - great fragrance and great color. This culling thing that we do is not a precise science, but rather lots of gut feeling wrapped around a bit of experience. I hope that I am lucky enough to not cull my best seedlings this year!


I cannot agree with you more. I am propagating a seedling that initially was “interesting” due to its coloring (red/white bicolor) but which I wasn’t quite convinced was good enough to keep. It has matured nicely with the petal count increasing and the form becoming more consistent. I may try to exhibit it as a seedling this coming season.

Herb Swim sprayed his seedlings, so disease was probably not a problem for the young Double Delight. I read somewhere that he very nearly culled Double Delight because its color wasn’t very good in the greenhouse.

I also worry about throwing out seedlings, and keep many more than I probably should. There were only 6 of last year’s seedlings that I thought were really good, but I ended up keeping about 90, just to see if they improve.

One of last year’s seedlings produced lots of large, well-formed, intensely fragrant flowers, but suffered from chronic mildew in the greenhouse. The light pink color wasn’t very exciting, but I kept it anyway. It is too soon to tell how good its resistance will be outdoors, but it is clean so far. I noticed quite a few buds on it this morning. I’m hoping to have a bloom to bring to the convention in San Jose.

I nearly threw an interesting seedling out several years ago. I was breeding for a seedling that started out light, and darkened with age. The two seedlings I had with this trait had started out pink, and changed to dark pink/red. The first of the new cross opened indoors (under lights) and was white. I almost threw it out, but was beggining to suspect this trait came from recessive/additive genes, so kept this seedling because I was planning on crossing that years seedlings back to the other seedling that was female fertile. One thing led to another and I never made that cross. HOWEVER, it turned out the “white” seedling was just what I was breeding for. Once growing outside, the blooms slowly darkened to medium red–just the effect I was breeding for. The blooms still open white indoors–I’d taken a spray to work, and several days later (once the rest of the buds had opened) had to pull it out of the vase to prove that the white and the red blooms actually came from the same rose!