“Rainbow Dreaming” Under the Southern Cross
The awesomely potent, cannabis sativa strain “Rainbow Dreaming”, bred by legendary Australian grower, Garry Von Billen, took the Australian marijuana world by storm when it was unleashed in 2003. Von Billen took the time to tell Treating Yourself a little about his connois- seur strain and the story behind it.
This will be the first in a series of interviews with Australia’s top breeders.
G’day Garry, and welcome to Treating Yourself. I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with us about your breeding work and your amazing strain “Rainbow Dreaming”. Can you explain to our readers how this terrific Australian strain came to be? “Thanks for the welcome Mark. By the way, I have been a huge fan of Treating Yourself Magazine for some time now. It’s pretty cool how Marco Renda supports the cannabis movement here in Australia. For the last few years I have been picking up my copy of Treating Yourself from the Nimbin Hemp Embassy. I never miss a copy (laughs)”
Yes Garry, Marco has been a staunch supporter of the cannabis scene in Australia for some years now. I know for a fact that he has invested thousands of dollars towards our movement and the push for cannabis law reform in Australia. Treating Yourself has been a huge factor in educating Australians about the wonders of medicinal cannabis. Marco is considered “The Gentleman of Cannabis” in many cir- cles.
“Regarding the Rainbow Dreaming, I was lucky enough
to buy some Jack Flash (Jack Herer crossed with Haze x
Superskunk) way back in 2002; on the street in Nimbin. I grew and pollinated the buds with a strain I have been growing for 25 years called Carrot (sativa that was smoked in Sydney in the late 70’s), and the result was the Rainbow Dreaming strain”.
“I used the Carrot in the creation as I was looking for an increase in potency to the Jack Flash. The union of the two strains did lead to a significant jump in potency, but at the expense of the flowering time. However, once I had smoked Rainbow Dreaming, I knew the longer flowering time would be mitigated by the potency, aromas, and colours”.
How did that strain go down with your mates in Nimbin? I know there is a lot of great pot in Nimbin and local judges can be hard task masters when it comes to assessing cannabis strains. I am interested in hearing their reaction.
“To be quite honest Mark, I was totally impressed and so were my friends. They would ask me where I got the hash from (laughs). I entered it into the Australian Cannabis Cup held in Nimbin at MardiGrass time, way back in 2003. The judges loved it and it won hands down! It was entered again in the 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 Cups, and won each year except for a second place in 2006.”
Garry, that is quite an amazing record mate! I would imagine that with the strengths of its varied genetics, it would be very potent and have an interesting aroma profile influenced by the Carrot.
“The taste is very reminiscent of Jack Herer, with a very very uplifting high from the Carrot. The potency has been rated at 9.5 and the smoothness at 9.5 (out of 10). The high lasts for hours and does not result in a headache as you are coming down, like some other strong sativa strains can do.”
“Growing this strain is a long-term project. The plant grows fast under the Aussie sun, and the plants are voracious feeders. They grow to 4m (13 feet) and are quite bushy. My friends call them Christmas trees on ‘roids (laughs). An inter- esting grow trait is that the stem attached to each leaf has a vibrant purple streak on top, and the leaves are medium to light green”.
What can you tell me about the Carrot strain?
“The Carrot is an interesting strain. As I mentioned earlier, the Carrot is a 1970’s sativa with an energising high! I do not find the aroma too pleasant (carrots), and the branch- ing is not strong enough to fully support the heavy buds as they ripen. I think this factor was why a lot of growers in
Australia did not keep this strain going. I liked the potency and always figured I could breed in branching strength, which I did successfully with a number of subsequent hybrids: Rainbow Dreaming being one.”
Garry, the images of Rainbow Dreaming that you have provided do show an interesting bud structure and some beautiful colours.
” Yes, the buds do have quite an open structure, which
allows the sun to penetrate deep into the forming calyxes. My view is that this sun penetration increases the psychoac-
tivity of the resins. The colours I guess are what prompted me to call the strain Rainbow Dreaming”.
And how does it perform indoors versus outdoors? “This strain is better suited to growing outdoors, although it will perform well indoors if you go straight into 12/12 after germination. This strain has a flowering period of 12 to 14 weeks indoor, and is ready in the Southern Hemisphere in June”.
And what about end result? I know sativas can yield quite well so I am keen to see if the lengthy flower- ing period justifies the long flowering time.
“If you can’t get a yield of three pounds from one of these girls, then your growing methods should be adjusted. Indoors you need to be careful during the flowering period to not overdo the ferts, but other than that it is a trouble free strain”
Now mate, as you well know, Treating Yourself is all about medical cannabis. How do you rate this strain for medical use?”
“Well Mark, I will be honest and say this strain was specifi- cally bred for medical use.Three of my friends/acquain- tances have used the buds in their last weeks with cancer, and their families said it was the best way for them to go – just so peaceful.”
“Rainbow Dreaming is a very effective treatment for pain, and the euphoric, soaring high helps patients through the anguish and grisliness of the dying process. I see this strain having great potential in a hospice situation; or for those patients with depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and various other neurological issues. I reckon it is a terrific medical strain”
Garry, have you got any other strains in your breed- ing stable?
“Funny you should say that as I am smoking one of my new strains as we speak. Lately I have been playing with bring- ing the flowering time down for the Rainbow Dreaming. I decided to trial crossing the Rainbow Dreaming with Rockbud, and also with Shiva. Both of these new hybrids do have the shorter flowering period I was after and, surpris- ingly, there was NO dimunition of potency. In fact, the cross with Rockbud, which I called Rainbow Chunky, is excellent for potency and medical use. The newer cross using the Shiva is also excellent, and is also destined to be a medical strain”.
Well mate, that is about it for this little chat. Is there anything in closing you would like to say to the read- ers of Treating Yourself?
“Mark, the final thing I wish to say is, ‘Keep up the good fight for pot law reform’ and “Hemp Hemp Hooray for cannabis!”