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Re: HYB: Hardiness

From: "J.F. Hensler" <hensler@povn.com>

I start with the goal of hardiness. The only "weaklings" I'll bring onto the place and coddle (for a while) are those that I plan to work into a breeding program for a color or trait that isn't found in the species I'm working with.

Sharon can tell me if I'm wrong here, but if I should manage a cross of psued. and fulva (Just an example!), some color genes for fulva should be present in any survivors even if they aren't obvious in the F1s. A good winter in a z4 ought to show me which ones are strong enough to continue playing with.

Whether you're talking about TBs or anything else, you make the choice of breeding for certain traits. The problems begin when one trait is chosen over another consistently.... flower color or form instead of foliage. 

That's not as simple as it sounds. Breeding for success in all parts of the country means that ideally breeders should evalutate each generation in all parts of the country before making crosses. 

Do you take the slow cautious path, being sure to cross only those that can do well anywhere or would the possibility of that "true red" iris showing up in your seedling patch, even if a few of the parents are ticklish, be too much to resist?

I'm probably losing some interesting things by letting nature kill the weak ones, but I simply don't have the means of caring for a lot of tender plants. 

Because I never see the weakest live long enough to bloom, I don't have the temptation to choose "pretty" over hardy. By beginning with tough parents, I feel I can breed toward "pretty" and have a good chance of eventually winding up with the best of both worlds. 

Ok, I've stuck my neck out! Let's hear from the rest of you! :-) How would (do) you approach making crosses?

Christy Hensler

Newport, WA 

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