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HYB: Tell Muhlestein


From: Sharon McAllister <73372.1745@compuserve.com>

Chris Hollinshead wrote [of Tell Muhlestein]:

>  Tell us more of him too... pun intended... could not resist the opening.
>  ...but the request is more serious.

Best known for his TBs, especially his award-winning pinks.  Even a glance
through the comprehensive list of award winners in the back of the '59
checklist will give you an idea of the extent and success of his work.  His
iris had the reputation for gardenability, but obviously were also
beautiful enough to take many awards.

Of course, I know more about his work with arilbreds.  I'd even say he's
"Uncle Tell" to my line, even though I never knew him.  Through Gene Hunt's
TRIBE OF JUDAH, one of Tell's arilbred seedlings is grandparent to some of
my quarterbreds:  COPE GOODWIN, MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION, PALIMPSEST,
VIVACIOUS VI.  The breakthrough WELCOME REWARD, which came from his PINK
FORMAL, became important in many lines.  Tell grew Gene Hunt's seedling ORB
64-1 as a guest, concurred that it was GOOD and introduced it for him. 
History proved them both right -- I'm talking about ESTHER, THE QUEEN.

Tell was a prominent hybridizer of oncobreds and regeliabreds in the 40s
and 50s -- before C.G. White's breakthrough that produced the modern
oncogeliabreds.  Actually, most of Tell's work was done before ASI was
founded.  He listed many introductions of other hybridizers as well, so his
old catalogs were used heavily in preparing the Recorder's list for the
newly formed Aril Society.  

One reason that Tell isn't very well known in today's aril world is that
1969's rule change resulted in the disenrollment of most of Tell's earlier
creations.  I can think of only two arilbreds he introduced after that: 
EASTERN MYSTERY and LEBANESE SNOW.

If you think it would be fun to shake up the iris world by putting a signal
patch on a TB -- just study Tell's work.  His catalogs even contained a
section of Hybridizing Hints -- which I copied to make one of my infamous
notebooks!.   For example, from 1959:

"We have heard of David Hall's new "black" plicatas which started with the
cross of Black Hills by Masked Ball.  Naturally one could hardly expect the
recessive plicata pattern to show in the first generation ((F1) seedlings)
however, when these were crossed among sister seedlings or selfed and the
resulting seedlings again intercrossed and selfed the recessives have been
brought out and some starting plicatas are now making their appearance in
Mr. Hall's garden.  There are Black plicatas, reverse plicatas, some with
brown to blackish beards, etc.   Only through a line-breedling program
could these unusual things be produced."

Sharon McAllister
73372.1745@compuserve.com

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