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COMP:unnamed & lost iris

From: James Brooks <hirundo@tricon.net>

Betty's comments from Bowling Green about problems down the road for those
who dug her old unregistered seedlings was a hoot.

It makes me realize I will probably never get a name for the clump growing
in my front yard. When you only have a couple of acres devoted to iris (a
huge personal garden, but a miniscule commercial or hybridizing operation),
space requires one to be ruthless with those unnamed or lost varieties. 

In spite of a pretty good system that includes metal labels, bed maps and a
data base (how do you find them when you want to dig orders?) I still have
too many that were lost because I didn't get around to finishing a bed map,
or the frost heaved out the label, or the label placement and the bed map
just didn't make any sense when it got around to digging time. One thing I
did last fall was to put labels behind the rhizome, which made perfect
sense with a 6-8" trimmed fan, but is flat out foolish when that becomes a
clump of four fans 2-3 feet high. 

The database is really proving its worth this year. All I have to do is
search it for bed location and write that next to the variety on the order.
Then I use that to make up my label list and type in both variety and bed
location on a matrix at proper spacing for printing onto laser printer
sheet labels. Anyone who has gotten iris from Mike Sutton knows what I'm
talking about. Laser printer labels are almost indestructible. You can wash
them, leave them out in the field over winter, no change. 

When I dig my label will read: Hindenberg R22, So I add up the number of
Hindenbergs ordered, go to bed R and dig all my Hinderbergs, wrapping the
label around the nicest rhizomes for sales, and keeping the widows and
orphans for growth to full size in pots. You can keep track of them through
the soak and bleach process, which not all marking pens written on the fan
will do. I do recommend the Stabilo Write-4-all, which writes on iris fans
and plastic and doesn't wash off. 

When all this organization fails, I note that just about every commercial
grower offers an unnamed varieties assortment for the ones they lose track
of. I also have a fair number of friends or charities that I give these
iris too, for instance the city composting facility, and I'm thinking of
offering them for planting in the medians through town, the library's
garden and some other civic sites. Neighbors who garden on the road out to
my place also benefit from this largess. It sure isn't going to hurt me if
the roadsides and public gardens through town have lots of iris blooming!

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