HYB: TB: fun pods (non-rebloom)
Like Donald, I find all my pods interesting--at least until the babies bloom.
I have the greatest difficulty culling the crosses where nearly all the
seedlings are alike, and equally (or nearly equally) good--at least above
mediocre. If I go look at the parents and realize the whole lot are just a
melding of the parents and no real advance at all I have even a harder time,
especially when I believe the blending of the two bloodlines desirable. What
to do? Count buds and branches? Take a ruler to haft width? Or just stick
the spading fork under the plant and heave-ho unless I can't bear to do it?
The few that are the slightest bit inferior go first. Then what? Just how
full of not-quite good enough reselects can one garden get?
The easy crosses are those where one or two from the cross stand
out--unusually vigorous, unusually well-branched, clean, bright, wide, heavy
substanced or some combination of the above. Of the rest the first to go are
those with low bud count, or coarse, or poorly branched, have lesser
substance or some other flaw I couldn't and wouldn't want to add back into the
breeding. Culling those makes sorting the remainder easier.
The most fun I have ever had is to mark and save a seedling from some
fantastic cross that is about the ugliest iris I have ever seen. I have one
from FOGBOUND, normally a parent of extraordinarily beautiful offspring, which
has the most wonderful ruffling, branching, bud count, heaviest substance I
have ever seen, and the dullest grey color close up one could imagine. Oddly,
from across the garden, the seedling has a remarkable pink glow under that
grey. It remains in the "reselects" and would likely be a remarkably good
parent if I could force myself to use it. I think it is Tttt genetically,
pale cream and pale blue all at the same time, which could go almost any
direction one could think of in its offspring in the right crosses. The
tweezers have yet to touch it.
My discards bewilder my wife and her family--and visitors. They see these
beautiful things lying between the rows or on the compost pile and cannot
imagine what I am doing. I got a phone call day before yesterday from a
friend. "Do you remember what the Fifth Commandment is?" I do, but I don't
think it applies to seedling discards. She does, and says so at length.
Neil Mogensen z 7 western NC mountains
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