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Decadence and the AIS awards system
  • Subject: Decadence and the AIS awards system
  • From: Terry Johnson <tjatwork@oakwaters.com>
  • Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2012 13:34:24 +1300

Among others in the International (and this includes Americans) Iris 
community, I have watched this thread with interest.   I am at least 
somewhat bemused that an Australian Iris, which as far as I am aware is 
not eligible for the American  Dykes Medal, can create such a stir. I 
would like to share with you the Introduction of the Tempo Two 2004-2005 
Catalogue and the listing for 'Decadence', written by Barry Blyth.

"The past eight years here at Pearcedale have been so dry that much of 
the native wind breaks have suffered from lack of rain. It has been the 
same almost everywhere during this time, and still is in many places but 
now, for the first time this winter the water laying in some furrows and 
it has been for a month or so a most unusual sight.
The Iris naturally, like these dry seasons and really thrive. Many 
customers have told us that although their gardens have suffered the 
Iris have been superb.
This catalogue we think is the best ever from two perspectives. 
Personally and most importantly we are particularly pleased with the 
quality of the new introductions and as you can see, Decadence leads the 
way with its colour, form and lace and excitingly the amazing seedlings 
and has produced."

"New introductions of 2004-2005
DECADENCE (Blyth Aust.) M 38"
A heavily ruffled and laced creation. The standards are golden apricot 
with a faint rose mid-rib flush. Stylearms a creamy apricot; falls are 
light plum Burgundy with a creamy apricot  edge. Beards are 
tangerine.now and then in an Iris breeding program a seedling will 
emerge that will blow your socks off. Such was the case with decadence. 
 From its maiden bloom, we knew we had something that was very exciting, 
despite the fact that it's first stem only had three buds and it would 
not set seed and the pollen also set very few pods. However on its 
second blooming, it showed itself to be an amazing Iris, not only in its 
growth, bud count and floriferousness,but it set pods, and it's pollen 
proved to be very fertile. When it is first seedlings bloomed, they were 
equally amazing in their variability and of unusually high quality with 
very few rejects. This does not normally happen with Iris crosses as 
most seedlings are discarded. After three lots of seedlings have 
bloomed, we have some 100 or more retained selections and many more to 
flower in coming years. Its first grandchildren have bloomed and they 
are also quality plus. It is an excellent grower and it seems to be very 
resistant to disease as are most of its progeny. (Temple of Time X 
Louisa's Song) Sdlg # H83-G"

My question is this: Armed with the above information regarding 
'Decadence', how are people able to reach the conclusion that this Iris 
can grow everywhere? The hybridiser certainly does not make this claim.  
Surely the statement regarding the dryness of Australia in the above 
catalogue introduction would lead even the average reader to conclude 
that seedlings that survived the 'Big Dry' are part of the plants 
genetic make up, and that transplanting this plant to other wetter and 
colder climes may require a little more care and attention.
Reading the threads with their more than slightly xenophobic slant,  one 
could easily reach the conclusion that Barry Blyth introduces a class 
Iris to the world, this same iris moves up the American Award system 
with votes from American-only judges and somehow this is a problem 
created by 'Decadence'. May I ask just what will happen if the Iris 
featured this year on the Cover of Mid America Gardens 2012  Catalog 
makes it to the Dykes Medal run off?  This Iris, aptly named under these 
circumstances  'Darling Deception' and introduced by Tom Johnson was 
bred "from crosses I made while in Australia". Sdlg.TB127B: By Jeeves X 
(Hold My Hand x Brave Face).  The mind boggles.

I'm off to smell the coffee and after that perhaps a quick email to Mike 
Lowe regarding the revitalising of his World Iris Association or as a 
thought you could all pay me one dollar for the many Iris imported from 
America to New Zealand that never made the cut, bloomed out, died of 
rot, or got tossed on the compost heap and I promise to say nothing more 
on the subject.
*Terry Johnson*
R.D 7, Hughes Line, Masterton 5887. *New Zealand.
HERITAGE IRISES <http://historiciris.blogspot.com/>
Email: tjatwork@oakwaters.com <mailto:tjatwork@oakwaters.com>
Mobile 64 27 717 2071 *

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