Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tribute to a Lovely Lady - P. 'Rosemary Platz'

The flower of Petrocosmea 'Rosemary Platz', my first hybrid. The flower shows the influence of both parents. A lovely sky blue from P. sericea, with the yellow in throat from P. rosettifolia #3.

Friends are among the dearest of all things in our lives. My love of gesneriads has afforded me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people who share my fondness for these plants and I now count many of those people among my best friends. When my first hybrid Petrocosmea flowered a couple of years ago, I knew exactly who I wanted to honor with the naming of the first selection. Rosemary Platz is one of those spirited, energetic people who makes anyone she meets feel good. Her smile is bright and constant, and her laughter is infectious. A beautiful person, inside and out, she always wants to learn more about gesneriads, and she is an accomplished grower, a master judge, and skilled designer in gesneriad shows. I am honored to call her my friend.

My dear friend, Rosemary, at the annual convention of the Gesneriad Society last July.

P. rosettifolia #3 was the seed parent from my hybrid. This form has the eye-catching yellow patterning along the central veins of the dark green glossy leaves. Seedpods took 67 days to ripen. The cross produced pods with large quantities of seeds and excellent germination.

The pollen parent, P. sericea. This species contributed the pleasing lavendar coloration to the flower, as well as it's size and form. A reciprocal cross using P. sericea as the pod parent produced few seeds, from which only two plants have survived.
My original plant of P. 'Rosemary Platz' is now coming into flower for it's third bloom cycle. Each time it flowers, I am reminded of my friend, and it's namesake. (As it comes into flower, I will post a photo of the whole plant, showing the foliage.) It has proven, so far, to be an easy plant to grow. It shapes well for show, and has so far, had no problems with disease or insects. Leaves are glossy and show the best qualities of both parents. In a five inch pot, my plant is maintaining a diameter of about six inches and it has more flowers each time it blooms, as it gains more maturity. It propogates easily from leaves and the plantlets grow quickly and flower at an early age, usually about five or six months. I've been pleased with it. The name was registered with the Gesneriad Society last January. It marks the first time either species has been used in hybridization.