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Re: Re: Popularizing non-TB iris

From: Bill Shear <BILLS@hsc.edu>

In all this subject, I think I find RosalieAnn's comments closest to my own
thoughts.  I would certainly agree that AIS (as opposed to local clubs) has
little contact with the general gardening public, and mostly "preaches to
the converted."  Probably that is as it should be.

Let's not overlook the fact that bearded irises are probably the most
adaptable of all irises (Louisianas might give them a run for their money),
have thousands of varieties in commerce, and can readily be seen anywhere.
Thus one does not have to subscribe to even a mild version of conspiracy
theory to account for their popularity.

The other types of irises will be popular where they can be easily grown,
are available in many varieties, and seen successfully grown in local
gardens.  Thus Spurias are big in the SW and Midwest, Louisianas in the SE,
and Siberians in the NE and northern Midwest.  Despite some hopeful signs,
PCNs remain west coast specialities.  Pure Arils will probably always be
collectors' plants until they become remotely gardenable and have more than
a four-day bloom season.  Arilbreds are dramatically improving in all
respects and should be more widely known.

I have to admit that my perspective is idiosyncratic.  I grow what I grow
because I like it, and it matters little to me if my neighbor grows the
same plants.  If he does, fine.  If not, no problem for me.  I also do not
like the show ethos and avoid competetive shows like the plague.  To
paraphrase a great composer who refused to enter a lucrative competition,
"Contests are for horses, not gardeners."

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374

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