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CULT: HYB: Good Irises and Good Expectations

In a message dated 8/25/05 11:31:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
jbruce1@cinci.rr.com writes:

<< often those that do adapt best to the widest conditions are often of the
 plainer and less exciting patterns and colors. >>

Now you see, there is still interesting and important work to be done! 

<<Gardening in general seems to be like playing Texas Hold'em--no matter how 
good of a player you are and how good your instincts, sometimes you just don't 
get the right cards. >>

And this, I think, is correct and has been since this side of Eden. Things 
putter along in a predictable sort of way for a while, all the weather events 
falling within sight of the norms, the cooties and cruds doing their things in 
their seasons, then something odd happens, or the unseen effects of 
combinations of factors over several years finally take their toll in the garden, and one 
discovers once again that one is not, in fact, master of one's little 

I used the "Good Irises" phrase in the subject line some time back because I 
thought it, rather than "excellent" or "superb" evoked a realistic 
standard--and I am all for realistic standards--- but I rather wish I had selected 
another phrase. The problem of trying to come up with testing, or trying to come up 
with Good Iris lists in any official way is that there are too many variables, 
and attempts to quantify and point-score just sucks the life out of the 
process and the result creates the impression that something definitive has been 
pinned down. That is not  the way gardening works.    

What I am suggesting is that we all----the hybridizers, the nurserymen who 
grow and sell the plants after initial introduction, AIS, and gardeners start 
from the presumption that modern iris introductions are unique and likely have 
their individual traits, which in some situations may be deemed strengths or 
lamented as weaknesses, although sometimes these are in the eye of the beholder, 
and that some qualities will reveal themselves plainly to the naked eye, 
whether early on in the hybridizer's own garden, or within a few years in the 
aftermarket, so that as a cultivar makes its way through the stream of commerce, 
and the AIS awards system, there may, in fact, be enough useful information 
known about it to share.   

It seems to me that folks talk about these things all the time now, anyway. 
Plenty of information already makes the rounds, sometimes whisperingly in a 
meanspirited sort of way. It is just a matter of our learning how to make the 
best and most constructive use of the information which will inevitably reveal 
itself in time. 
Of course, if people's expections are not realistic, there is a problem. I 
think this is an excellent time in hybridizing history for everyone to pause and 
think about expectations. Which does not mean I am thinking we should lower 
our standards, as it were.


Anner Whitehead
Richmond VA USA 

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