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Re: AIS:HYB:Test Gardens

Philosophically I believe that test gardens can only achieve a limited number of purposes. But if done well they can achieve these purposes rather elegantly. I have stated that I never consider that I can t grow something until I have failed with it more than five times in different spots and different years in my garden. I believe positive results are more important and informative then negative. If something can be grown in an area then it is the gardeners microclimate, skill, and years conditions that have prevented it from succeeding. If is growing successfully down the street then it suggests that one has a good chance of success. Trial gardens, in my mind, offer suggestions for potential success rather then warnings for potential loss. Between individuals success can be perceived differently. For this reason reports need to use quantifiable measures. The fact that a given cultivar may have produced 5 blooms per stalk may be perceived as success by one person but the
 hybridizer may regularly have seen 8 blooms/stalk. Perhaps in the climate of that garden 5 blooms is exceptional for any clone. These are all factors that can be relevant in a good test garden report. Information is valuable. Whether we agree with it or not is has merit in many ways. I dont believe any test garden is ever a failure. But the information they provide can have varying degrees of value. 

            The display garden report from the Loomis garden in the July Bulletin was practically meaningless. I have been to the Loomis Garden when the convention was held in Denver some years back, but even so, I have only that visit, as a clue, as to what the situation of that garden presents. What is the hardiness zone? What is the elevation? What are the maximum/minimum temperatures? How much rainfall do they receive a year and how much supplemental watering? It is interesting what irises were given Loomis awards but there is no way I can translate these results to my garden. I dont have a clue as to the reasons that the irises were even chosen. In Eastern USA the ecological zones are rather broad and better understood, but in the West one can go from a short grass prairie environment, to a pinion pine, to Douglas fir in a few lateral miles and several thousand feet of elevation. For a display garden to have relevance one has to be able to position it into the environmental
 spectrum. It must give some indication in a objective measure of how the plants perform. For me to publicize that I really like  the Iris Barney Google means nothing to anyone unless I tell you how it was grown and how it performed.

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