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MEET ADAM MUELLER -- Region 18 Hybridizer

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: MEET ADAM MUELLER -- Region 18 Hybridizer
  • From: Barb Johnson <ljohnson@cland.net>
  • Date: Sun, 08 Dec 1996 10:05:56 -0600


This is the third in a series of 11 articles from hybridizers in the Spring 1994 AIS 
Region 18 Bulletin (MO & KS). Mr. Mueller is 92 years young; he'll be 93 in January, and 
has written me a delightful letter to update his 1994 article.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

						by Adam Theodore Mueller
						604 North Street
						Halstead, KS 67056

My hobby for the past 27 years has been that of crossing iris and growing iris from 
seed. If you ask what I strive for, I can truthfully say, without exaggeration, I want 
to produce and grow the most beautiful iris in the world.

When we lived in Wichita, I started growing iris and daylilies. In 1962 we moved to Cape 
Girardeau, MO where we soon discovered the SEMO Iris Society and joined the group. I got 
much help and inspiration from Dave Niswonger and other growers there. How surprised I 
was in 1972 when I showed an iris which got the highest seedling award.

In 1974 I retired from teaching at SEMO University and my wife died the following year. 
The next year I married Amelia Mueller (same family name) and the following spring sold 
my acreage near Cape Girardeau and moved to Kansas to Amelia's home where we have about 
an acre of good land for a garden.

In 1985 I registered MINTED HALO, from FRIFFLES x Dave Niswonger's 71-7, which is DENVER 
MINT x MEGHAN. These are both yellow, yet 71-7 has a buff rim on the falls, so that is 
perhaps what gave MINTED HALO its brown rim. In 1990 I registered AMELIA'S DOVE, 
AMELIA'S ANGEL, and AMELIA MUELLER, and in 1992 AMELIA'S ORCHID--all named in honor of 
my wife. All of these have been introduced.

I do not keep a large number of any variety--just enough so I will be able to cross 2 or 
3 blossoms of each and get a pod or two to set with seed. I have always planted my iris 
seed outside, covered the area with hay or straw for mulch and have averaged 800 
seedlings each year to be transplanted. One year we did get over 1200, but I decided in 
1994 because of my age (90 that January) and with the chances for failing health we must 
cut down on our activities.

I have registered 14 iris. The last two are CRINKLED GLORY in 1995 and AMELIA'S CANARY 
(EDITH WOLFORD x AMELIA'S DOVE) in 1996. For a number of years I grew over 300 named 
varieties, but now have only 70, plus a few that I did not completely dispose of last 
summer. I still have about 250 different seedlings from 1993 seed and earlier, and about 
240 from 1994 seed, but I kept only 8 from 1995 seed--the others from 1995 seed were dug 
up and distributed to members of our Hutchinson Iris Club. I did not want these to be 
abandoned here if we must move.

>From 1996 seed I kept only 40 special ones, most from EDITH WOLFORD x AMELIA'S DOVE, but 
also kept those few seeds that came from wormy pods. These are planted on our older 
son's lot in North Newton, just 2 blocks from the rest home we plan to enter if and when 
we have to abandon our present garden. Of this 1996 seed, I have given some away to 
friends and Iris Club members. I have offered my seed to one other person, and when I 
hear from her, what is left will go to the American Iris Society for overseas requests.

In the past I have used MINTED HALO extensively and have been looking forward to growing 
an offspring that has pure white standards and dark red falls with a darker rim. I have 
also used AMELIA'S DOVE extensively as I like the form. My only criticism of it is that 
it does not increase fast. My AMELIA'S ORCHID is a real nice light pink with large 
spoons on long horns. At our Iris Show a few years ago when it was shown as a seedling, 
it drew a lot of attention and comments.

It is rewarding to know that one's iris seed gets spread far and wide. Three years ago 
Cooley's Gardens chose seed from 4 of my crosses. For several years Dave Niswonger has 
chosen some of my seed. I was delighted to learn that he used my MINTED HALO and got 
HALO IN ROSEWOOD--one of his recent introductions. Some seed has gone to relatives in 
Germany and it is thrilling to see the result in pictures they send. I try especially to 
get young people interested in crossing and hybridizing iris.

So you note, I do not intend to give up my hobby of crossing and harvesting seed. We 
already have 55 named varieties, and about 100 different seedlings, on that lot in North 
Newton. The area is very limited, but it will be something to work with--I hope, for 
many more years.

I tell people I'm not in the business of growing iris for sale; I just sell when I have 
an excess, or those I want to eliminate. I want to get only enough in return so that I 
can each year order a few new varieties and replace my roto-tiller about every five 
years. I can't replace myself, so I must soon bring my hobby to an end, but there will 
always be a new iris to dream about and to look forward to the most beautiful iris ever 

Next year, if you or any of your club members, especially youth members, would like to 
have some of my seed, please send me a note next spring. I hope I am still going strong 
next year.

							Reprinted with permission from
							Spring 1994 Region 18 Bulletin
							and letter from Mr. Mueller
							dated November 24, 1996

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Barb Johnson, ljohnson@cland.net
Southwest Missouri Ozarks     USDA Zone 5B     AIS Region 18 (MO & KS)

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