Re: CULT: Red irises
Anner Whitehead's comment, "Boring as it may sound, I personally hope some
of the best energies of the best minds are bent toward developing enhanced
horticultural soundness in the coming stuff" is a matter far more important
than a red-red "Crayola" red (as Anner quite aptly put it) iris.
After my few years of struggle to keep bearded irises going here in the
Asheville area, I am about to throw in the sponge and work with Siberians.
They, at least, love the area. Beardeds, of all sizes, don't.
Like Linda Mann, I also believe that the genetics of growability, disease
and pest resistance are possible and necessary goals. My borers and rot
this year have given me a boost toward that goal, as there are some
varieties not only surviving, but thriving.
Oddly, some of those that grow best for me fail entirely for Linda, even
though she and I share similar climates, and to a lesser extent, soils. Her
locus is a zone warmer than mine, more subject to spring frosts, but both of
us suffer from winter damage due to activation of the plants in warm weeks,
with hard frosts following with little time for the plants to adjust. The
Mediterranean-ancestry TB tetraploids suffer the most, the diploids survive.
Borer resistance may be a pipedream, but some varieties are devastated,
others almost or entirely untouched. I have a hard time thinking this is
anything other than a genetic difference. My future breeders are the ones
that have survived this dreadful past two years. Perhaps they were not the
cream of the crop for their crosses, but they made it through, and that
counts for a lot.
Anner, as fascinated as I am with the whole red iris idea, I am forced by
circumstances to put first things first--"enhanced horticultural soundness"
and resistance to pests or diseases of all sorts. Your remark was most apt,
as is often the case with what you write.
Neil Mogensen, z 7 Region 4 western (wet) NC mountains
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