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Re: Re: Popularizing non-TB iris

From: "Donald Eaves" <donald@eastland.net>

Dorothy Willott writes,

>I attended the AIS Board Meeting in November and
>someone made the point that the general public is primarily interested in
>tall bearded irises because they are the showiest.  Therefore, to attract
>keep members, AIS must cater to the desires of the majority.
This is the crux of the situation.  Is it the egg before the chicken or the
chicken before the egg?  Is the general public interested primarily in TBs
because that is all they know about?  Or are they interested in TBs
because they actually prefer them over other types?  I suspect if the
general public had information, knowledge and exposure to other types,
they would be much more widely grown.  I think what they grew would
more closely match those lists I've been compiling - and they are NOT
limited to TBs.

I personally think the problem is exposure and lack of knowledge as
the primary culprets for other types not being as widely grown.  General
gardening books tend to select the TB and give it a rundown and skip
the rest entirely or merely mention them in passing.  The following
quote is from a garage sale book I acquired a few years ago called
"The Gardener's Basic Book of Flowers"  by Stanley Schuler, pub.
Simon and Schuster, NY 1974.
    "The Iris genus is huge and spectacular, but unfortunately there are
enough differences between the many species--not only in appearance
but also in habit of growth and climate requirement--to make them
rather confusing to anyone except a fancier.  So only one type will be
discussed here--the bearded iris.
"Neil Sperry's Complete Guide to Texas Gardening", Taylor Pub. Co.,
Dallas, TX 1982 does a bit better by mentioning Bearded, Dutch and
Louisiana irises, but even here there is, in my opinion, a paucity of
information even as regards the beardeds.  They are all lumped together
as a category ranging in height 8 to 48 inches.  Not much info in that,
I think.

I was interested in other irises than TBs which is how I came to join
the AIS, not the other way around.  I didn't feel the need to join an
organization for a plant I grew successfully and access to info otherwise.
I'm sure I have benefited, but if it had only been a TB question I would
not have joined in the first place.  But the hope was to locate, and
find sources both of plants and info, in other areas.

Donald Eaves
Texas Zone 7

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