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Re: HIST: breeding historic type Iris

Dave, the question about breeding for historic type iris was put to Dorothy
Stiefel, HIPS NE Director, who lives in Spencer, NY (Zone 4/5).  She does not
say from whom the question was received.

Linda Mann in zone 7/8 near Knoxville, TN, has a similar interest.  Her (and
my) problem with modern cultivars has to do more with quick switches from heat
to frost during winter and early spring (March, more or less) months and the
ability of cultivars to withstand these and to bloom--two different problems.
Genetically, the ability to survive and the ability to bloom despite these
reversals seems to be separate issues.  Linda, in a grim humor, describes her
conditions as the "Vale of Despair" and applies the term to a broad swath of
the continent that has related issues.

In western North Carolina mountains, not far south and slightly east of Linda,
I have the advantage of a site with good air drainage.  Linda lives along a
creek trace, but has a new garden gradually being developed in a cleared site
in woodland above her home on a ridge.

One factor she and I share is the contrast of soil quality from ridge to
creek.  High ground is composed of deeply eroded red clays, with creek level
soil a mix of silts with gravels.  The latter typically also has a high water
table.  Linda's low ground is ideal for Louisianas, daylilies and a native
chrysanthemum, a common weed.  The high ground resembles areas cleared in TN
and western NC woods for marijuana production, so has frequent federal
oversight.  Both of us suffer from drought or deluge, depending on the El
Nino/La Nina cycle, as do you.  Currently we seem to be in the daily rain
aspect of the cycle in our half of the continent.

Like for you, historic diploids thrive here when left undisturbed.  The
'Perfection'-like tall diploid I sent you loves it here, as does the short
*pallida*-bloom/*variegata*-stemmed clone I have--and sent--from one of my
step-sons in WI.  'Pink Ruffles,' one of the late (1940-ish) diploid
pallida-pinks I have from Linda Mann is slowly getting  established and
growing happily but not forming much of a clump as yet.  These are the only
non-species clones I have other than Peyrard's first generation hybrid between
*timofejewii* and *variegata* which is developing into quite a clump now.  It
has an astonishingly long season of bloom through a succession of bloomstalks
put up over a period of time, a quality I would like to see in modern

Neil Mogensen  z 7 (sorta) in western NC mountains

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