Griff asked: but what motivated you
to make that particular cross? ((Best Bet
X What Again) to obtain 'Midsummer Night's
Here's the story (as I wrote it for the Region 20 Newsletter):
ABOUT 'MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S
There is one fact about
'Midsummer Night's Dream' that I think is truly amazing: It was the first seedling of mine ever
1992 was the first spring that
irises bloomed in my new garden in Douglas
County. I had purchased rhizomes of some
recommended new varieties and was intending to make my first attempts at
hybridizing. One of my early goals
was to work with reblooming irises, and to this purpose I had obtained
Schreiner's tall bearded 'Best Bet' and Ensminger's standard dwarf 'What Again',
along with several others.
I duly made some SDB crosses in
mid-May and was making TB crosses in early June when I was surprised by a very
late bloomstalk on 'What Again'. I
applied pollen from 'What Again' on a blossom of 'Best Bet' with the idea of
getting an intermediate rebloomer.
That cross led to a nice seedpod with about 20 fat seeds.
That first year of hybridizing
was the only time I started my seeds indoors under lights. Several baby plants from the Best Bet X
What Again cross poked through the potting soil in January. All my new seedlings seemed big enough
to plant outside by April, and I guess they were, but they were not ready to
cope with the bright sun and cold nights.
Consequently many of the new seedlings died, but there were about 10
survivors from the reblooming intermediate cross.
Throughout the summer of 1993 the
new babies grew rapidly. We must
have had a mild autumn that year because I was very pleasantly surprised to find
bloom stalks on two plants in October.
The weather continued to cooperate as I eagerly awaited the first bloom
from a hybrid iris of my own. When
it finally opened, it was a smooth dark purple self. Cold temperatures were predicted
that night, so I cut the stalk and brought it inside.
Well?. Over the next few years that seedling
showed itself to be a dependable midsummer and autumn rebloomer here in
Colorado. As I learned more about
irises I realized that the deep vibrant color, the lack of haft markings and the
wide ruffled form were very positive attributes also. I sent rhizomes to iris
growers all across the country and received a lot of positive feedback. Eventually, in 1999, now named
'Midsummer Night's Dream', it became one of my first two iris introductions.
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