Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A closer look at the new Eyeconic roses.

Dr. Jim Sproul's first big success, Eyeconic ™ Lemonade
There is no hard and fast rule as to when the hybridizing bug first bites its victims.

Eight-year-old schoolboy David Austin wished to create a new flower like the world had never seen. 

Twenty-something Bill Radler hoped to breed a rose that didn’t require constant pampering. His Knock Out filled the bill.

Ben Williams never gave the subject a thought until a chance encounter with a German hybridizer after World War II sparked a passion that burned until he passed away in 2006. He went on to help invent the miniflora rose -- a category of  “in between” bushes that were too big to be miniatures and too small for full-size roses.

Dr. Jim Sproul enjoyed breeding guppies in his early teens, then as an adult, his hybridizing interests turned to roses. Over the past fifteen years he has been working to create a line of roses bred with Hulthemias, plants considered more of a weed than an ornamental in the desert regions of Iran and Afghanistan.

The humble Hulthemia has inspired a new line of roses.
Although Hulthemias (rosa persica) are described as ugly bushes with thorny, rambling branches, the flowers have a distinctive red blotch in the center that has fascinated hybridizers for decades. 

They are not true roses, but breeders hoped they could cross the once-blooming desert plant with the modern Queen of Flowers to produce new varieties with the fascinating blotch.

The pioneering efforts of breeders around the world including Peter James, Chris Warner, Jack Harkness and Ralph Moore paved the way for Jim Sproul’s breakthrough work.

The Eyeconic™ line of roses are Sproul’s reward after fifteen years of trial and error, success and failure, and many hundreds of crosses. 

Eyeconic Pink Lemonade
His first big introduction was Eyeconic Lemonade, a shrub with sunny yellow, gently ruffled blooms and a magenta red blotch at the base. Lemonade is a heavy bloomer with slightly scented, non-fading flowers.

Pink Lemonade soon followed – a pretty light pink with a frilly bloom and of course, the blotch. Both varieties grow to about 3’ and boast dark green glossy foliage.

This year brings two new members of the family to catalogues and nurseries.

Landscape shrub Eyeconic Melon Lemonade is orange to apricot in color, with a red ring around the inside of the petals. 
Eyeconic Melon Lemonade (Courtesy Star Roses)

Eyeconic Pomegranate Lemonade is a miniature -- a deep pink and white blend with a dark magenta eye. It features exceptionally large non-fading flowers on a bush growing only to about 12”. Pomegranate also has the best blotch of the bunch thus far.
Eyeconic Pomegranate Lemonade is classed as a mini (Courtesy Star Roses)

Eyeconic Lychee Lemonade (Courtesy Star Roses)
A new addition to the color palette will make its debut in 2014. Semi-double Eyeconic® Lychee Lemonade is a pleasing ivory cream with a deep burgundy blotch. The plant is vigorous yet compact, making it a good choice for containers and small gardens.

All of these roses are fuss-free, self-cleaning and well suited for the Western U.S and Canada.

However in the East and South, the current Eyeconic series may require spraying because they are reportedly susceptible to black spot.

I don’t know if the black spot warning is for real or just cautionary.

In any event I’ll be keeping my eye on them all.


HELENE said...

It is amazing to hear how many years of growing and selection that is behind a finished plant, ready for naming and sale. Interesting to hear about the Eyeconic :-)

Lynn Hunt said...

Hi Helene! Yes it was interesting. I had never heard of the Hulthemias but I can see why they intrigued the hybridizers. We'll see how they develop. Cheers!!

Janneke said...

It is the first time I hear about the new line of Eyeconic roses. May be they are not (yet) on the market in Europe. Interesting post, I like shrubroses and the Pink Lemonade and Lychee Lemonade are so beautiful. On overseas blogs I often see roses I never heard of, they are often not suitable for our climate, but I'm such a rose freak I want to know all about them.

Lynn Hunt said...

Greetings Janneke! I know some of the other breeders have roses with the "eye" that are available in Europe. One is called Eyes for You bred by Peter James in England. It looks gorgeous and is supposed to smell like blueberries and spice! Let me know if you see one.

I don't think the Eyeconics are available in Europe at this stage. Cheers! Lynn

The Redneck Rosarian said...

Great post. You know I gotta try at least one. Now to select just one!!!!

Lynn Hunt said...

Chris, Pomegranate is a mini if you have limited space but it is supposed to be very prolific. I have seen Lemonade and Pink Lemonade in person and both are gorgeous!

Sunil Patel said...

Hi Lynn, I seem to be very particular with my rose preference. I'll either really love it, or just not like it and I can't put my finger on why. I like the "lemon", "pomegranate" and "melon" Lemonade but hate the "pink". I've not seen these available here (UK) but perhaps I just haven't noticed them.

Lynn Hunt said...

Hi Sunil, are you covered in snow? I have actually seen the Lemonade and Pink Lemonade in person (I took those photos) and the yellow one is definitely very striking.

As I said to Janneke, there is one available in the UK by a British breeder called Eyes for You that looks intriguing. It is a lavender rose that supposedly has a blueberries and spice fragrance.

We will have to see how these Eyeconic roses do in areas outside the western US. If they are black spot magnets elsewhere they may not grow in popularity. Take care!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I was all set to think of a space for Eyeconic Pomegranate Lemonade, then I read about the black spot...ugh! These are really stunning roses nonetheless.

Lynn Hunt said...

Janet, Lemonade is beautiful -- I have seen it in person at BB Barnes in Asheville. Methinks the black spot issue must be a real problem for the distributors to stress it, but I don't really know. I will see what folks who grow it have to say and of course, will report back. In the meantime, the hybridizer (who is a medical doctor) continues to work on more disease resistant varieties.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Lynn, I may have seen it then as well. There was so much at BB Barnes.

Lynn Hunt said...

Janet, they didn't come in until well after our visit there. We both would've remembered them!

Randy said...

Yaaaaaaaaaaay! I can see your blog again! You really had my rose juices flowing until I got to the last of the post. Black spot... It is just horrible in my area. I've moved to antiques, but even they aren’t completely safe from it. I’ve learned to just get comfortable with the fact before summer is out I will be left with a bunch of naked canes. :0( ONE year I had beautiful hybrid teas, but it required a tremendous amount of work to keep them gorgeous. If I missed one little (almost weekly) spraying they would fall victim and it was all over but the crying. I know Knock Outs are frowned upon by some Rosarians and let’s face it, they are virtually devoid of any scent, but at least it’s a rose. I wish there were more doubles available or some beautiful colors like the ones you’ve posted. Oh and scent, I would love to smell the fragrance of Perfume Delight coming from a hardy, disease resistant rose. I guess one can dream…

Lynn Hunt said...

Randy, I am so glad you are able to see the blog again! I wonder what happened. Never mind, I'll just be happy you are back!

Black spot really is disgusting. I have been doing a drench of Immunox on the ground around my roses after I do my spring clean-up to try to get rid of any stray spores. That has helped. Even Knock Out can get black spot, though. The double pink Knock Out is quite pretty. I'll do a posting soon about newer roses that are disease resistant. The Earth Kind one are supposed to be better. Some of the newer Kordes ones as well.

The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the NYBG has to quit spraying a few years ago. They have been making a list each year about the roses that did the best with virtually no care. I'll get that info too!

Welcome back!!

The Principal Undergardener said...

Lynn, an erudite and informative piece with - as usual - glorious photography. Growing roses in New England is a fool's errand, but these are enough to make me thing we ought to give it another try!

Lynn Hunt said...

Let me do some more research Neal before you consider adding a rose to your beautiful garden. It could be the black spot warnings as I said are just overly cautionary, but I'll be checking this year with lots of folks to see how these beauties fare in the eastern US.

Thanks as always for your kind comments!

Alexander K. Knudsen said...

I plan to fill our wedding venue with these amazing-looking flowers and see the beautiful and winsome smile of my bride-to-be.

Lynn Hunt said...

How lovely, Alexander. May I send all my best wishes to you and your bride-to-be -- may you both have a happy and rosy future!

Anonymous said...

It is so nice to see plants being developed specifically for the West Coast, since for so many years the plants available have mostly been those from the East Coast or Midwest . . . and many of those just don't do so well out here in hot, semi-desert areas! I have grown one of Ralph Moore's miniature hulthemia crosses for a few years, but didn't know about the Eyeconics. Blackspot isn't much of a problem here (again, plants aren't "one size fits all" when it comes to growing conditions in different states), so I'm rushing out to buy one of these! :)

Lynn Hunt said...

I'm so glad you stopped by! I think the Eyeconic line will be perfect for you. As you know, the original Hulthemia is a desert baby so these new varieties shine in the heat. Good luck and please visit again!

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