Hillside Dark and Early (Mussar, 2021) Tet. 5.5" blooms on 34" scapes with 3 way branching and a 15 bud count. It is an early season bloomer with dormant foliage. The blooms are a black red with a triangular yellow to green throat extending slightly along the mid ribs. The pod parent is Esperanza Gold which is one of the first tetraploids to bloom here, usually with or before Stella D'Oro. The pollen parent is Doug's Red Mercedes which is one of the first reds to bloom here, usually in the early mid season. Hillside Dark and Early is both pod and pollen fertile.
A bloom this dark is perhaps a surprising outcome from a cross of a gold by a red but I have seen a range of colours come from Esperanza Gold kids. I have been working on extra early blooming tetraploids with a goal of producing large blooming, tall plants that bloom with or before Stella D'Oro. Hillside Dark and Early blooms about a week after Stella but is standout amongst all the yellow early season bloomers. It is an important parent in my efforts to get darker colours that bloom even earlier in the season. Here in the north our bloom season is so short that I think there is value in trying to extend the season as early as possible to bring more colour to our gardens.