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HYB:101: ( was Best of the best)

I'll add a little to what Betty suggests-which by the way, I whole heartedly
agree.  When she says, "buy the R & I's", I'll modify that and say, get the
*Check Lists*, and add the *R&I's* from 2000 to the most recent, 2004.

The *Check Lists* collect together and sometimes correct the annual *R&I's*
into ten-year blocks.  Much of the more recent data from the *Check Lists*
is also available in a single electronic list on-line with a $10 annual fee,
very much worth it.  Don't buy them all at once unless you've got money to
burn.  The more recent two or three will be the most use.  The older ones
are fun resources if you get interested in historics or want to dig deeply
into pedigrees.  The oldest, the 1939 and 1949 are difficult to interpret
and use a very different system,  They will be woefully difficult at first.

I happen to like hard copy and tend to use the books more than the on-line,
but for some purposes the on-line version can do what the books cannot--such
as a search for the decendants, for instance, of a particular variety, of
those that include a particular name in the pedigree.

The on-line can also pull out a list of the registrations and introductions
from a particular breeder.

I have a preference list of TB breeders whose annual introductions are
studied carefully.  I'll list those in my own, very flexible, order of
preference, partly a matter of prejudice or friendship, partly a matter of
experience of who puts out quality varieties that may grow especially well
in my border-south climate and conditions:

Keith Keppel
Joe Ghio
Barry Blyth
Rick Tasco and Roger Duncan at Superstition
Fred Kerr
Larry Lauer
Paul Black
Mike and George Sutton
Don and Ginny Spoon
Terry Aitken

When it comes to SpaceAgeIrises, I quickly add Burseen and Vince
Christopherson to that list.

It's hard to put an order on that list.  Some years one or another rise
higher than others.   It all depends on who, who is following what lines of
development in which I'm most interested, and so on.

I also have a short list of particular parents used that I watch
for--strongly in order of preference:

children and grandchildren of SILVERADO
IMPULSIVE and QUANDARY, both from Ghio's 88-180P X Cinnamon Sun
any of Keppel or Ghio recent pinks

That list grows out of my breeding objectives and what I observe as quality
offspring, so far, and is in constant flux, of course.

Any one person will quickly find a particular set of qualities, types, and
specific varieties that are ones which one finds especially attractive or
appealing.  Those are the lines and the types to pursue.

Also, as one studies pedigrees, some particular facts may become apparent.
For me, it is that of the several in my list of varieties, nearly all have
emerged out of strong out-crosses between unrelated or only remotely related
lines.  That says something!  In the history of modern iris development the
benchmark breeders have nearly all, if not *all* come from strong

Not all outcrosses, however, produce "benchmark" breeders.  It is the rare
ones that do, but if one picks irises--like, for example, Joe Ghio did in
his early years, from two or three highly divergent origins and combines
them, great things can result.  Ghio used New Snow, Chivalry, Black Forest
in one cluster of development, and Denver Mint and Moon River to create
PONDEROSA, most certainly a "benchmark" breeder in his work, but one which
few others appear to have used (to their loss and his gain!).  Ghio's
foundation work include several other broad combinations which have worked
wonders for him in his breeding programs

Denver Mint, itself, is only a few generations away from a similar jump
forward through outcross in the work of Melba Hamblen, where she used Hall
pinks crossed with top quality blues, then crossed back to Hall pinks.
Those crosses are in the background of a large proportion of modern pinks.

Moon River, also, is from strongly outcrossed ancestry.

In more recent times, Schreiner's SILVERADO is from an astonishing two or
three generations in succession of wide outcrosses, the one grandparental
line a combination of pink and orchid breeding, remotely related, but
separated by several generations of development, crossed with the Schreiner
black-line then with a widely different white from a different line of
breeding than they themselves had followed.  Silverado has proved to be a
spectacular breeder.

Keppel's WISHFUL THINKING and FOGBOUND is similar in including blues, pinks
and more of several interwoven lines, HONKY TONK BLUES being one of the
parents of Wishful Thinking.  HTB is of fairly complex ancestry itself.

These examples do *not* say "Go forth and make outcrosses!"  They *do* say
that *some* outcrosses between high quality lines occasionally produce giant
benchmark steps forward in quality.  An awful lot of compost has been
created in generating these several examples, I should emphasize.

A beginning breeder will find himself or herself very discouraged if all he
or she produces are basically, junk, or "just as goods" but not better than
what's already out there.  The best possible start, were I starting from
scratch today, is to take the best of the best, especially from some of
these proven breeders, and use them.  The results won't be spectacular,
perhaps, but they will be solid, good crosses.  The adventuresome wild
outcrosses will suggest themselves as one learns what works, what doesn't,
but they are not (usually) the recommended place to start.

Two cents and a little experience worth,

Neil Mogensen  z 7  Reg 4  western NC mountains

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