We've had pretty crummy weather for hybridizing here too. But Clown Pants is only just starting here. I have it on the North side of the house which is always a little later, and we must be later than you in general.
And yes, don't give up on your quest to make a modern TB that will do well in the vale. But while your plugging away at that... consider that it might be easier to hang a pretty flower on a healthy clump than the reverse (to borrow from a rose hybridizing idea). Once you're turning out lots of healthy seedlings, it's just a matter of picking the purdiest ones. But it's hard as heck to turn out enough seedlings when your trying to make sickly (but pretty) ones, into healthy versions.
I also have "Little Timmie" I think - it's a timofejewii X variegata hybrid that I got years ago from Terry Varner's Ohio Gardens. I thought I'd lost it, but a rescued little clump is now in bloom. I actually have two seedlings starting their maiden bloom that are both from cross of "Little Timmie" and 'Clown Pants'. I've also still have a bunch of older seedlings that I just haven't been able to throw on the compost pile from crosses of "Little Timmie" with Floridor and Iris cengialtii.
And those reblooming MTB's I mentioned are both very similar to Clown Pants in vigor and health, so I'll bet they'd do just fine for you.
Take care, Tom
Subject: Re: SPEC: Clown Pants clump
From: Linda Mann <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 20 May 2009 10:11:19 -0400
I did <think> about daubing with it, but with all the crummy weather,
figured it was a lost cause. My thought was to put pollen from IC1 (the
cycle reblooming amoena from IMM X CSONG) that has ridiculous bud count,
but no chance. Maybe Loic will do it ;-)
I'm not <quite> ready to abandon the quest to make a few modern TBs that
thrive here no matter the weather...
You are indeed brave to want to send more of your children to near
certain death here in the vale - MTBs really hate it here. Then again,
I expected CLOWN PANTS to die here, so maybe they would do ok.
I was very surprised to see that "little Timmie" (my own nickname for
spec-x timofe... whatsis) is still alive out there. One tiny scrap of
it and another tiny scrap of I. variegata Beardsley each put up a
bloomstalk this year. It's another real cutie pie.
Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8