KABSCHIA & ENGLERIA SAXIFRAGES
ADRIAN YOUNG & MALCOLM McGREGOR
The years since 1986 have seen a lot of new hybrid Kabschia and Engleria saxifrages. Recorded here are details relating to 46 new hybrid cultivars. 13 of these are Non-Classifiable Cultivars; the other 34 are the result of crosses which could or have been given binomials. Interestingly only 7 of these have binomials which were published up to 1986: these are the cultivars which belong to SS. x anglica, x borisii, x megaseaeflora and x paulinae. The other 27 can be subdivided into 12 different specific combinations, of which 9 have had Latin binomials published. These 27 cultivars represent crosses which had never been performed before 1986.
It is significant that as well as the use of some well-established parents, most noticeably S.'Winifred', there has been an exciting infusion of new Himalayan species into the parentage of cultivars. Prior to 1986 the only Himalayan species in the Porphyrion Section which had been used in hybridisation was S.lilacina.
Six Porphyrion species from the Himalayas appear as parents of hybrid cultivars for the first time: S. poluniniana, S.stolitzkae, S.cinerea, S.georgei, S. alberti and S.lowndesii. And these have each contributed new characteristics and in the case of S. poluniniana, at least, great vigour. Indeed part of the joy in using S. poluniniana as the seed parent is the high germination rate and rapid growth of the seedlings. The one area of regret is probably the overproduction of S. x poluanglica cultivars. These do vary but there has been a rush to name new cultivars which may not be fully warranted.
Winton Harding was one of the innovators in this period producing cultivars using S. poluniniana and S. cinerea both of which he crossed with S.'Winifred'. In the case of S. poluniniana this gave rise to S. 'Red Poll' and in the case of S.cinerea to the remarkable cultivar S. 'Nancye' and its sister seedling S. 'Anne Beddall'. His other cultivars in this period so far named are S. 'Winton' and S.'Lilac Time'. In general Winton Harding's cultivars are noted for their good temper, general vigour and their ingenuity. Another English raiser who contributed a new cross was Brian Burrow who used S. georgei for the first time to produce SS. 'Lismore Carmine' and 'Lismore Pink' using S. 'Winifred' as the other parent as had Winton Harding. His other new cultivars are SS. 'Peter Burrow', 'Lismore Cherry' and 'Peggy Eastwood'.
Czech growers have been responsible for a wide range of new cultivars and Holenka, Kraus and Lang have all produced exciting new plants in this period. In relation to the use of Himalayan species it is Karel Lang we have to thank for the highly original crossing of SS. alberti and lowndesii to produce S. 'Ivana', while Miroslav Kraus has pursued the goal of a good orange flowered cultivar with S. 'Bohemia'.
Other cultivators of note in the period must include Jan Burgel for his mass introduction of cultivars of SS. x poluanglica, x polulacina and x poluluteo-purpurea of which S. 'Sazava' is perhaps the most distinctive.
Sergio Bacci, who died so recently, has given us a wide range of new cultivars including the excellent S. 'Irene Bacci', a cross using S. stolitzkae for the first time, again with S. 'Winifred' as the other parent. Many other new unnamed hybrids of his are now at Waterperry Gardens and await evaluation.
Finally it should be acknowledged that the endpoint of this listing of new cultivars is arbitrary. New cultivars are appearing continually but a line has to be drawn at some point if any publication is ever to go to press.