Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hibiscus

When you have been down the beach for a swim or a walk, done all your domestic jobs and it's really too hot outside to get stuck into hard farm work what can you do?
Read, watch TV, surf the net, talk to your partner OR you can go Egosurfing (also called vanity searching, egosearching, egogoogling, autogoogling, self-googling) or simply Googling yourself.
This did not turn up anything particularly interesting so I decided to "do" my father and mother.
And there they were!
But not how I had expected.

Dad in his retirement became fascinated by Hibiscus, so much so he started hybridizing them from the hundreds of plants of this species that he had in his garden in Brisbane. He would take his small brush and collect pollen from the stamen of one and place it on the pistil of others, note book at the ready to document it all and little labels to hang around the stem of the receptor flowers.
Then if a seed did indeed develop, he would plant it and wait to see the result. Some were stunning, others not so much. He even stared hybridizing his own hybrids.
But when he got " a good one" he would register it with the Australian Hibiscus Society Inc.
And most were named after family members and some won prizes at Hibiscus shows.
So that's where I "found" him on the net. On the new data base on the AHS web site. And my mother was there too having had one bloom named after her.
After Dad died, I was approached by a few nurserymen who wanted any remaining seedlings and permission to take cuttings from the garden. I didn't know anything about PBR's (Plant Breeder's Rights) in those days so let them take what they wanted.

Who knows how many of my father's Hibiscus are in commercial production today!
But I also took a few seedlings and brought them home down south to plant out.
Being mostly tropical Hibiscus they struggle in our cool temperate climate and really have problems with the winter frosts. But I have them against a warm north facing wall and every now and again they produce a flower or two.
What they actually are will require a lot of research.
But the pics above are just two of them blooming in my garden yesterday.
And I still have huge volumes of photos my father took of his beloved flowers plus all the associated note books and journals.
So maybe one day when I have nothing to do I might just sort everything out and see what eventuates.

2 comments:

Atayah said...

We won't mention a certain individual who used to "help" with the brushing a little too enthusiastically will we?

grapegrower said...

No, we won't! I think grandpa would be mortified to think his little helper resorted to random brushing when he wasn't looking!