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Re: AIS: HYB: Geo. Waters' Bulletin Article

In a message dated 8/27/2006 4:22:16 PM Eastern Standard Time,  
rpries@sbcglobal.net writes:

<<This tends to give an impression among general gardeners that  they are
difficult to grow with other plants. >>
And I think there is some truth in that impression. I have not found  them 
easy to grow in perennial borders. I think they are challenging;  indeed, I 
think perennial borders are challenging. 
<< TBs are disgustingly easy. >>
This may be the case somewhere for some fortunate people growing  some 
cultivars, but a substantial body of anecdotal evidence suggests the  experience is 
not universal by any means. Were it so we'd be overrun with the  things, I'd 
say, not wringing our hands at so many famous ones we've lost  totally over the 
<<I suspect this is one of the reasons they sometimes meet with  disdain 
among some plantsman. >>
I suspect they are met with disdain by some plantsmen for the same  reason 
modern tea roses, daylilies, dahlias, and other intensively hybridized  garden 
plants are met with disdain: snobbery about flowers which are  perceived to be 
grown for exhibition, often by people who grow only those  flowers, especially 
if they are huge flamboyant over-the-top flowers  in loud colors with 
outrageous markings and the occasional  provocative appendage or rude odor. There is 
a lot of smug prissiness in  some horticultural circles, and anything flashy 
that is bringing a lot of  joy to the presumed horticulturally unsophisticated 
is likely to get  snickered at. You are correct, of course, that in some of 
these  circles great prestige accrues to the successful grower of difficult 
plants,  especially if these plants are rare, and dinky. Tony Avent and  
Christopher Lloyd made their names by flipping the bird publicly at just this  sort of 
roundhead attitude, although each man in his own way has  been every bit as 
prone to preciosity.
<< To expect that any plant will grow anywhere without  consideration of its
requirements is unrealistic.  >>

<<George is a very knowledgeable plantsman yet I think he  was expecting
too much. 
George Waters has been involved with irises for decades and I  think he 
simply got pluperfect sick of ugly mess.  I believe many people reading his article 
will find something  immediately recognizable there. 
I am not, however, prepared to accept George  Waters' presumption that 
selecting for aesthetic features over  generations inevitably leads to a decline in 
resistance to  pests and disease. I don't even think resistance is a stable  
characteristic in an iris. Everything is flux as Heraclitus said.  

Anner Whitehead
Richmond VA USA

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