I can understand why the general gardening public wants reblooming irises.
Irises are beautiful, and the "ratty, boring" foliage one has to look at all
summer and fall is easily justified with rebloom. Again, this is speaking
for the general gardener. I live in an area where rebloom is sparse even in
a good year for it when you do all the right things and the weather
cooperates. I hear many local folks complain about "supposedly a rebloomer"
or "never rebloomed for me".
I wonder how many folks are turned away from non-performing irises because
they think it is just a marketing ploy or that it requires too much work to
get rebloom? I agree that education about rebloom would counteract much of
this. It would also help if commercial sellers would not advertise
everything that reblooms in sunny southern California as a rebloomer,
because that is a unique climate.
As a Zone 5 garden and seller of irises I can truthfully say I NEVER list
anything as a rebloomer. Why? Because I owe it to my customer to deliver
what is advertised. If I can't count on something to perform for me, I can
not make a promise to my customer that it will do so for them.
I am not at all against rebloom. However, as a person who attempts to
hybridize, I never focus on rebloom. Space is limited, I can't really test
for the trait in my seedlings, and so I make crosses with my preferences in
form, vigor and color in mind. If a reblooming parent gets in there it is
fine, but I never select a parent for that trait. I introduced BLACKMAIL
last year. It has never even attempted to put up a rebloom stalk for me in
the 8 years that it was grown here, but a piece that was sent to California
sent up a fall stalk. I still would never list it as a rbloomer.
Betty W. lives about 3 hours or so due south of me, and frost hits there
about 3 weeks after it does here. It does get cold where she is, but the
length of season allows her to work with rebloom. Irises may indeed need to
move in the direction of rebloom to remain relevant to more than just
collectors, but keep in mind that there is still about 25% of the geography
and population who live where a ***LOT*** of work will have to be done to
make REbloom a relevant feature in irises :)
No feathers ruffled, just a different perspective.
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