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HYB: Garden "Helpers"

Just when I think there is no new way of mixing pollen or seed IDs....

I took a small tray of pollen cups to the garden for today's harvest.  While 
I was bent over a clump collecting anthers, a cactus wren landed on my back.  

Our wildlife's tame, but this was a first!  Nope, no one was on hand with a 
camera.  Can't say whether I was more startled by the landing or the bird by my 
abrupt return to the vertical -- but the pollen tray certainly got the worst 
of the encounter.

I decided to share this because the critical factor was that I had only a few 
cups in the tray at the time:
One with purple pollen
One with yellow pollen
One with green pollen
One with cream pollen and purple anther stem.
One with cream pollen on cream anther.

So my only real loss was in the pollen grains left behind on the ground when 
I picked up the scattered anthers and returned them to their proper cups.  
Thirty years ago, I'd have discarded the entire batch.  Fifteen years ago, I used 
pollen from a spill caused by a whirlwind -- designating it by type rather 
than cultivar.  And got a lot of excellent seedlings. 

Will keep this batch for my own experiments, of course.  It will be 
interesting to see if anything unpredictable turns up in the "Wren Group".

Sharon McAllister

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