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Re: TB:Varietal Comments--Blyth

I too have had similar problems with some Blyth irises that Walter describes.
There's a couple I keep around for the occasional year they escape the winter
injury and spring frost because I enjoy them so much when they DO make it past
the humps we have.

However--since Blyth and Joe Ghio have both been using each other's lines
criss-crossing them with their own there have emerged some tough-as-nails
performers for our climate.  Outstanding in this regard is ROMANTIC EVENING.
No matter what gets thrown at it or where I plant it, it produces tall,
undamaged bloomstalks year after year.  It also has the highly desirable
quality (IMHO) of multiple buds per socket, sometimes even having four.  I'm
leaning heavily on its progeny as breeders not just because of the amazing
range and complexity of the colors, but because of this tough quality coming
through.  There are a number of Blyth varieties as Walter mentions that have
similar toughness and astonishing quality.

Right now in bloom, despite last evening's hail and wind that slaughtered many
of my iris, there is a seedling from Skywalker X Romantic Evening and several
from Fogbound crossed both ways with P1-13 from Swingtown X Romantic Evening.
There are a few leaning stalks and a couple snapped off terminals among these
-- compared to a number of others with stalks laying flat on the ground and/or
snapped off competely.  The above seedlings show the exciting diversity of the
genetics in Romantic Evening along with the high quality heritage in the other
parents, both of which include Honky Tonk Blues in their background.  I must
admit I'm having fun despite the damage to the garden as a whole.

Sigh.  I haven't made a single cross yet, and the forecast has day after day
of more storms over the next week.  There's always another year.  Besides, I
don't have room left to plant what I already have started--many of which are
recent Blyth varieties on at least one side of the pedigree.  Let me add that
this mainly came about from an astonishing gift I received from something
Barry and Keith Keppel cooked up during the worst of my illness last year when
Blyth was visiting Oregon.  The babies from that gift germinated lustily I'm
glad to say.  Just who gets the credit if any of them are name-worthy and
reach the market is a good question.

Neil Mogensen  z 6b/7a near Asheville, Hendersonville, NC

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