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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 11:12:18 -0600


This is the third in a series of 11 articles from hybridizers in the 
Spring 1994 AIS 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. Theses 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 
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. I also kept those few seeds that came from wormy pods. 
These are planted on our older son's lot in North Newton, just two 
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 

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 

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 produced.

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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