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Re: JI:first flowers - substance

From: "R. Dennis Hager" <rdhager@dmv.com>

I wrote a response to the original post last week when we were having
rolling blackouts due to the heat wave. My computer burped. The
composition was lost and I didn't bother to respond again.

There is no reason  that one should extrapolate the guidelines for
judging bearded irises to any other section, especially the JI. Over
most of the US, individual JI flowers last for 2 days. During that time,
the flower continues to grow larger, expanding its parts into a more
outrageous display. At the same time, the color changes, generally to a
lighter shade. Some of the white cultivars have a blush of blue on the
first day flower that disappears by the second day. At the end of the
second day, the flower shows the signs of age and begins to curl. By the
morning of the third day, it is time to remove the spent bloom. JI with
heavier substance sometimes tend to maintain a more uniform color
throughout the bloom.

Though heavy substance is a desirable trait in TB's, it can be a mixed
blessing with JI. As Jeff posted earlier, the Judges Handbook says "The
substance, whether heavy or light, must hold the form." JI form can vary
from a very stiff flat form with flat or raised standards to a drooping
form that looks more like a kleenex on a stick. Though few American
breeders are striving for drooping forms, they are still quite stunning
in the garden. If you are growing for show, these drooping forms with
little substance are fragile and incredibly difficult to get to the show
bench. Once it gets there though, it can cause quite a flurry of

For those of us who usually get a heat wave just as the JI are opening,
some selections with heavy substance may "cook" in the bud a not open
properly. The is much more likely to happen with multipetaled forms.

Needless to say, the incredible variation in form of JI coupled with the
complicated dynamics of bloom make show judging of JI very difficult.
That one should be saved for another time.

R. Dennis Hager
on Delmarva Zone 6-7
where 'Purple Parasol' and 'Rose Queen' each have one last blossom

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