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Southern California Hybridizers

  • Subject: Southern California Hybridizers
  • From: Ed Olson Moore H20wrx@AOL.COM
  • Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 23:59:42 EDT

In a message dated 9/19/02 7:06:27 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Barry Roth
(BRoth@BROBECK.COM) writes:

>  The story used to be that one large grower in
> coastal southern California did little or no planned hybridizing but
> instead
> saved open-pollinated seeds from his acres of commercial varieties, bloomed
> them out, and when one looked good for his purposes (largely mass sales of
> big-blooming red zonals) he propagated and introduced it.  (Ed, can you
> confirm or negate that report, which I probably got third-hand?)  I can
> believe the tale, because his cultivars looked quite similar to me -- but,
> then, I wasn't into the subtleties of commercial "reds"!  Of course, the
> "rigor" came in when he evaluated the new seedlings for their potential.

I believe that story is true. In the ''70s, Alfonso Barba, introduced two
Regals named after my parents. It's my understanding that he introduced quite
a few other plants, but don't know if any were zonals. My mom recently told
me that most of his introductions were grown from wild pollinated seed.
> A related story involves the zonal hybridizer Holmes Miller of Los Altos,
> California, who originated numerous wonderful and distinctive cultivars.
> The story (to use that word again) on him was that, relative to the number
> of plants he introduced, he did not make huge quantities of crosses.
> Instead, he was able to be very selective, based on his understanding of
> the
> parent plants, so that his rate of success was high.
> Barry
Great story. There's hope for me yet!

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