Linda Mann commented: " Which brings up the topic of hybridizing goals.
"Neil, you recently gave a lot of good reasons for your trying to grow and
hybridize with the cultivars you chose - you love them.
"I love super health and reliable bloom and stalk height, which outweighs
individual bloom or branching for me."
Well, "worst years" do wonders for pushing me into the camp where vigor and
survial-ability are prime whether I like it or not.
Over the last two years I have seen more infant seedlings die than I've seen
bloom. In addition, all the work I've done to clean up borers has gotten
undone due to my inability to get the work done for two years running. It's
going to take time to reverse that--and I'm not bothering to replace the
ones worst hit. I don't, however, see any genetic resistance to borer
attack anywhere. Those that I thought were resistant have had at least
minor damage. Some clumps have just plain disappeared.
The varieties I've mentioned that you wouldn't want to try (unless someone
gave them to you) are ones that may give seedlings here, or they may not.
If they do, conditions are going to thin them out rather fast. The
survivors, two or three generations down the road will BE survivors, or they
won't be here, whether I go to unusual or extreme measures to try holding on
to them or not. My pain and suffering the losses now will pay off in
genetic sorting for the future. I suppose that is worth it.
Right now I'm seeing a peculiar rhizome rot that leaves fans yellow at the
leaf tips, then they fall over. I pull them up and they come right out--the
interior end yellow and spongy. How far into the two-year or so clumps that
extends I have yet to find out. That's not Erwinia. That looks more like a
fungus infection of some kind. Stalks go over--rotted off at the base. Same
Pods rot, stems rot out from underneath them....I am appalled. Those do
look like and smell like Erwinia. I hear the same thing is happening in at
least some gardens in western Oregon. I'm far from alone!
I keep thinking I must have a nutritional deficit here--although I know part
of it is available Calcium. I haven't gotten the lime put on for about four
applications (Barry Blyth's recommendation of "snow" applications twice a
year come to mind) in a row, so no surprises there. The pH change changes
how the native minerals dissolve and become available so I may solve several
issues all at once getting THAT done.
Sanitation is one big problem. My plants are too close together, and I
didn't get either fall or spring cleanup done on more than a small part of
the garden--for two to three years in a row. I am surprised I have
problems? I shouldn't be!
I do know HOW to raise the irises--at least in some climates. I have a lot
yet to learn here. But knowing and doing are two different
things--especially when one cannot do what he knows to do.
Neil Mogensen z 7 Reg 4 western NC mountains
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