HYB: AIS: Trial Garden Idea
I really like this idea.
I would whole heartedly participate in sending out and receiving rhizomes as
my space would allow. I already have 300 sq. ft. that I have to expand for my
own seedling trials. Another row or two for others would not be too much of
an imposition and would be fun.
My location is full sun, great drainage. I don't pamper too much and water
only during dry spells. If a seedling plant doesn't bloom every year without
pampering, generally it's culled.
Our winters are cold enough (usually not below 0 F though) and fluctuate
enough to test for hardiness and frost tolerance. It certainly also gets hot
and dry enough to test for that too. Soil around here generally are either a
combination of clay, rocks and gravel or sandy.
A great place to test for rebloom also as our seasons are long enough to
accomodate rebloom times and test their qualities under adverse conditons that
would still be present in our climate.
Raleigh, NC Zone 7
I wonder whether it would be useful if there was a system whereby individual
AIS members could register to trial irises on a volunteer basis, stating as
they registered, what their growing conditions are, and what level of care or
non-care they are prepared to offer the guests, so that hybridizers could
a trial venue or venues for a proposed new introduction. Such a venue
located, the hybridizer could specify what sort of care they wanted the plants
get, and what sorts of information they were interested in receiving, and get
progress reports, or a full report in a couple of years? The person trialing
could keep some records on weather or whatever as seemed necessary or
In other words, what if there was a matchmaking service whereby a hybridizer
in Portland, say, could inquire as to who was registered growing TBs on lime
in the steamy South, or in a harsh desert location, or could request referral
to an organic gardener in Region 6, and find knowledgeable and responsible
folks who were prepared to test a few rhizomes to order in their gardens? I
suppose it would be best to have volunteers present some sort of simple, but
confidence inspiring credential, like five years' continuous membership in
Such an idea would involve some administration, but not much, nor, in this
day of email, much expense, possibly a little postage. It could be run sort of
like Char runs the convention roommate thing. After a referral or several
referrals were made, then it would be up to the hybridizer to contact
foster parents and work out details.
To keep the records fresh, volunteers would need to restate their interest
annually and they'd need to contact the office independently to do that. No
would be required to take on any trials they did not want. There would be no
charge to anyone, no guarantees of anyone's satisfaction given or implied, and
no squabble-resolution undertaken. If someone involved in the program--on
either side-- was apparently not behaving well, the person making referrals
quietly bear that in mind.
It would, I think, be best if that person knew something about hybridizing,
but such would not be enough. You would want someone who liked people, and
enjoyed correspondence, who was real responsible, and who believed in the
the service they were providing. You would not need a techie, since the
records could as easily be kept in a box of 5X7 index cards as in a database.
proficiency would be essential.
I would think this could be an AIS program. The question is whether
hybridizers would like to find responsible persons willing to trial to order,
no idea what the answer might be. I understand some of them now make their own
arrangements. I do wonder, of course, about people who may be working quietly
outside the inner circle who may welcome some support. And if the level of
interest was light, it would not matter, since such a program would not need
generate traffic to pay its way.
Richmond VA USA
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