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Re: HYB: Using good plants

That said, many irises that do well in west coast climates and poorly in other
parts of the country win awards.  Why?  Because there are a larger number of
AIS judges in that part
of the country and awards are given to irises that have the most total votes
Judy Hunt
Louisville, KY

In a sense, tall bearded iris as a class may be best suited to west coast
climates (though not all cultivars fit this generalization).  Many Dykes Medal
winning iris are LOUSY plants in southern California, where winter freezes are
rare.  Some of the least suitable for our climate come from one major Oregon
hybridizer.  I do not see a particular "west coast" bias to the awards as
compared to number of introductions or sales.  To some extent, we all need to
choose which plants are suitable to grow in our particular climate.  I have
given up on Japanese and Siberian iris (I know some locals grow a few, I'm not
sure how).  in our climate they tend to die faster than TB's do in cold/wet
climates.  I do not blame an "east coast bias" for the failure of these
varieties in my garden, nor do I feel they should not be eligible for awards.
If someone bred a really ugly Siberian that grew well in desert climates,
would anybody want it?  Maybe for hybridizing, but as a garden plant they
would probably choose an attractive plant of a type suitable for desert

I would love it if Strawberry Fair (Sib.), or any of those richly patterned
Japanese iris would thrive here.  If hybridizers can expand the climatic
tolerance zone of any type of iris, that is an admirable goal.  I see
improvements in TB garden vigor in every generation, along with increasingly
wild patterns and ruffled form.  All are important aspects.

John Reeds, in 9b southern California

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