Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My First Hybrid!

Most gardeners, even those who do a lot of propagation, don't create their own hybrids. I, however, seem to have had the dubious honor of involuntarily creating one.

I've grown the malva 'Mystic Merlin' a few times- the hollyhock like malva that's purple with darker purple stripes. Sadly,. it did not prove hardy here, and the relics were thrown onto the compost heap, where a couple came up a few years ago. We also have lots and lots of a common weed, malva neglecta. They grow all over the compost heap. Short, almost round leaved, ground cover-y, with tiny pink flowers.

The two engaged in illicit pollen swapping.

The next year, we had what appeared to be regular malva neglecta- short, almost round leaved, ground cover-y weeds. Then they bloomed-  with large, purple with darker purple striped flowers. Huh, we thought.

The next year they returned, looking the same. And again this year. They are a stable hybrid.

I guess if you've got to have weeds, they might as well be pretty ones.

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