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Re: SDB: What Again

  • Subject: Re: SDB: What Again
  • From: "J. Griffin Crump" <jgcrump@cox.net>
  • Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 23:14:44 -0500

Thanks, Lowell  --  That has to be an inspiration to others who are wondering if they should try hybridizing.  --  Griff
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2007 9:46 PM
Subject: Re: [iris-photos] SDB: What Again

Griff asked:   but what motivated you to make that particular cross? ((Best Bet X What Again)  to obtain  'Midsummer Night's Dream')
Here's the story (as I wrote it for the Region 20 Newsletter):


There is one fact about 'Midsummer Night's Dream' that I think is truly amazing:  It was the first seedling of mine ever to bloom!

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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