JARS v60n4 - Garden Record Keeping, Part IV, Database for Hybrid and Plant Records

Garden Record Keeping, Part IV, Database for Hybrid and Plant Records
Shirley and Allan Anderson
Franklin Lakes, New Jersey

We started growing rhododendron seed from the ARS Seed Exchange in the late '60s. By 1972 we were making crosses of our own. Each year more crosses were made. Seed from the exchange was also grown. A system for keeping records was needed. I had a Macintosh computer so began investigating databases. After much frustration Filemake Pro was chosen. A layout was developed that would include the fields needed to contain the data for the seedling records, year by year. Included was an identification number for each seed lot, the name of the seed parent and the pollen parent, date of germination, and transplant information. It was also important to be able to add new records each year and to be able to update the records from previous years. All years, 1973 to 2005, are in the same file. With this system we can produce reports of crosses made in a particular year, crosses containing a certain species or hybrid, crosses using a particular seed parent or pollen parent and any other report we might need. At the bottom of this page is the layout that was developed using Filemaker Pro. The fields are identified here. However, when using the form to enter data the labels are not printed.
Each seed lot is identified. Example 05-01. 05- refers to the year the cross was made and seed collected. If there are 31 seed lots the numbers would be assigned 05-01 through 05-31. The current year's crosses are entered into the database, usually after the first transplant. (See SECOND FORM below.)
Two copies for each year are printed, one for the file and one to be used as a working copy. As the seedlings grow we enter information on the working copy. The previous year's records are updated from the working copies at the time we enter the current year's crosses. These records are helpful in following a seed lot from germination to planting out time. We do not keep a record of how many seedlings survive outside. A record of the very, very few plants we consider successful is kept separately, as well as photographic records.
Below is a page of completed data for the 1999 crosses. (See ANDERSON CROSSES.) The seeds were started in late September of 1999. The seedlings were transplanted to flats in January of 2000 and remained in the greenhouse until summer. Somewhere between June and September they were transplanted into pots and placed into an unheated plastic house for the following winter and spring. Starting in August 2001 the young plants were set out into seedling beds where they will remain until they bloom and are evaluated. Records of 1,200 crosses are presently in the database. The records are backed up on a CD.
We developed a layout for a separate file to contain information on the rhododendrons we have (or have had) in the garden. Fields were assigned for the plant name, the parentage of the plant and the parentage of the plant's parents. This information is important to us as hybridizers. Other fields were laid out for location in the garden and for details about the plant. We can also produce various reports from this file in a PLANT RECORD FORM, as shown below.
Unfortunately we have not kept up as well with this file as we have with our hybrids file but do intend to add more plant data in the future. We hope this will be useful to some current or future hybridizers who might become overwhelmed with the amount of information necessary to manage a breeding program. It has been quite helpful to us.


Cross Number
Seed Parent Pollen Parent
Seed Started First Transplant - to flat Second Transplant - to Pots Plant Out Date - Bed, Row & No. of plants


05-36 (cross #)
98-11#3   (seed parent)
[Percy Wiseman x (Yellow #1 x Jet Set) X Capistrano]
97-09#16   (pollen parent)
(Nancy Evans x Janet Blair)
10/30/05 (start) 1/1/06   #41 (1st transplant) Second Transplant - to Pots Plant Out Date - Bed, Row & No. of plants


91-11 #15
(84-114 = [(Hotei x R. lacteum ) x Big Deal]
{Janet Blair x [ R. wardii x ( R. dicroanthum x R. fortunei )]} X
Phipps 32
10/23/99 1/18/00   #36 + 55 26 in flat 10/26/00 +9
24 in pots 10/26/00
8/22/02 bed D, row 10 #1-4,
row 11 #5-19, row 12 #20-22
Comments: into green house 1/01
new mix 3/8/01
2 flats to hoopla*  8/5/01 not great roots, new growth looks ok
note 8/22 shows 9 but no record on where or if planted.

Amanda Joan Young Capistrano
10/23/99 1/18/00   #15 8 pots, 5 in flat 8/22/02 lower cut row 3 #1-5
Comments: into greenhouse 1/01
transplanted 5 1/8/01 4 runts, 1 not bad but chlorotic
6/19/01 trans 1 to pot, 9 to hoopla 8/5/01

(Autumn Gold x R. yakushimanum ) 91-01 #1/95   (Big Deal x 84-22)
10/23/99 #37 21 in pots 10/25 9/24/01 bed D, row 13 #1-15,
8/22/02 lower cut row 3 #16-17
Comments:  20 to hoopla* 8/5/01

91-01 #1/95   (Big Deal x 84-22) 92-17#7
Janet Blair x [(Bob Bovee x Lem's Cameo) x (Odee Wright x Crest)]
10/23/99 1/18/00   #10 5 in flat 10/25/00 8/22/02 lower cut row 3 #1-5
Comments:  into green house 1/01
trans to new mix 3/8/01 5 good size
6/19/01 5 to pots, 5 to hoopla* 8/5/01

* the hoopla is a small plastic house


Seed Parent Vulcan
SP Seed Parent Mars
SP Pollen Parent R. griersonianum
Pollen Parent UDS
PP Seed Parent unknown
PP Pollen Parent unknown
Hybridizer Anderson
Location Lath Bed, Test Bed (2), Shed Bed, Poly House
Source Seed
Obtained 1976
Color Pink, Dark
Hardiness To -10F
Type Elepidote
Bloom Date Mid-May
Comments very nice garden plant

Allan and Shirley Anderson are members of the Tappan Zee Chapter.