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Re: CULT: Best plant in the Garden

Hi Gary - I was also surprised by SNOW FLURRY.  I ordered it after
reading Ben Hager's article in the Bulletin questioning how tender it
really was given how many folks <not> zone 8/9 California used it for
hybridizing way back when.

It wasn't the best grower in the world, but did reasonably well,
surviving & blooming after late winter/early spring freezes better than
a lot of moderns I was trying to grow.

Two other super historics in this area are SHANNOPIN (a pink and yellow
bicolor) and don't forget HELEN COLLINGWOOD.

But there are some moderns that grow as well, including your very own
OCTOBER SPLENDOR and DOCTOR ALAN.  DOCTOR A is so robust, it's a bit
scary.  Several of Lloyd Z's intros are that good.  Still evaluating

As for bringing some of the oldies up to modern form, substance, bud
placement/count, branching, at least now I've made a lot of crosses with
old stuff.  After spring bloom this year, I might be able to guess how
many hundred years old I will be before one of them looks like it's from
this century <g>.

There are already a few that look like 80s irises.

I got distracted from the pallida crosses by the modern stuff for a few
years, especially Lloyd Z's rebloomers & their relatives, but made a few
crosses with them again last year.

What I've learned so far is that it <really> depends on what you cross
these oldies with - some crosses are spectacularly awful, both in growth
and bloom.  Neil has been a help with some of them as to what faults
were a problem in offspring (i.e., PINK FORMAL).

I'm not particularly good at really <seeing> how a bloom is put
together.  Am slowly learning to really <look> at the bloom form, shape,
size, and compare with modern strong stuff to see if there is a chance
for improvement (assuming modern form & substance is better).

Biggest difficulty is in finding strong enough stuff to improve the form
without weakening the offspring so much re: health & vigor that they are
as bad as many/most moderns.

Two crosses from last year that I'm especially interested in seeing
bloom - SHANNOPIN bee pod (it was out in the midst of a patch of Blyth
intros) and HELEN COLLINGWOOD X TEAMWORK.  High germination rate in the
latter over the winter, lots of rot already, keeping my fingers crossed
that a few will be strong.

Should be a lot of  PINK FORMAL crosses that bloom this spring, some
KNIGHT, bee pods.  PINK F isn't a super robust grower here, but is
<very> reliable and <very> fertile plus has superb substance and
produced some nice bee pod babies.

If you are over this way during bloom season, drop by - learn from my
failures.  Be delighted to show off my very healthy ugly kids <g>

<To my surprise, SNOW FLURRY bloomed and grew well
enough and continues so.  ......

After all these years, my interest in historics has finally been
It's a crying shame that few current introductions grow and bloom with
such abandon.... hmmmm.. Now how many generations Linda Mann did you
predict that it would take to bring Iris Pallida into modern form?
.....Gary Sides  Nashville, TN zone 6a on a south facing protected city
Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8
East Tennessee Iris Society <http://www.korrnet.org/etis>
American Iris Society web site <http://www.irises.org>
talk archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-talk/>
photos archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-photos/>
online R&I <http://www.irisregister.com>

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