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TB: late season this year


Yeah, I don't write much anymore.  Just finding it harder to pay attention to
my iris ,when my 7-year-old daughter demands it all.  Here in California it
has been a relatively cool spring, with just enough rain to minimize the
ridiculous water bills (around $400/month in the summer).  So, the iris are
just not coming yet.  I do see two early stalks on Epicenter (I expect it will
have around 60 later), but not really even a sign of internal swelling on the
other fans.

I am enjoying the sight of two fat seedling fans (still in 5-gallon pots,
crowding their siblings) that look sure to bloom this year; one from Louisa's
Song and one from Double Click.  So far my Louisa's Song seedlings have not
been up to my expectations, but the potential is there.  I crossed Double
Click back into Stage Lights, the best garden-performing luminata I have seen.
Unlike most luminatas, Stage Lights seems impervious to rot, and it has
excellent height, branching, and increase.

Regarding the earlier mention of disappearing hybridizers:
It may be that serious hybridizers today must be either retired, independently
wealthy, or both.  The housing out here is all going up on 4000 square-foot
lots, with front lawns mandated by the "associations".  Developers still
prefer condos, where they can build the same number of units, sell them at
nearly the same price, and keep nearly all of their land in reserve for the
next 50 phases of construction.  So, where do we plant the iris?  I suppose I
could move to some place with no jobs, where land is still (relatively) cheap,
and where the natural rainfall is sufficient for water.  The world is
changing, space is at a premium, and the time required to maintain iris beds
is also just not available to most people.  Hybridizing may become more
dependent on the big growers, and not on the Ghio/Blyth/Keppel/Hager types who
have been responsible for most of the real breakthroughs.  Tiny hobby
gardeners may play an important role in the future, but destabilized job
situations (resulting in relocations) may greatly reduce the ability to wait
out the maturation of seedling beds.

John Reeds
lamegardener@msn.com
southern California

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