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Variety, not Homogeneity, is the Spice of Life

At 07:16 AM 11/27/96 -0500, you wrote:
>In a message dated 96-11-26 20:37:58 EST, you write:
>>  I agree totally that more hybridizers should 
>> send their seedlings BEFORE intro to all parts of the country.  But, 
>> since time is important to the hybridizers, and time doesn't put food on 
>> the table, don't expect many of them to offer. >>

> In sending their seedlings out, the hybridizers
>are seldom concerned about losing sales of new introductions...quite the
>reverse.  They are far more interested in getting wide distribution, and
>therefore usually seek to send them to AIS judges who they know will
>contribute increases to local and regional auctions after the iris has been
>Clarence Mahan in VA

I'm totally fascinated by the expectation that all new iris introductions
are expected to be fully tested and bare the stamp of approval from all
regions where it might be purchased and grown, prior to their introduction.
This sounds like U.S. government mentality - "make it safe and reliable
enough for everyone to grow" or "an iris in every pot (or flat or 4-pack)"
(sorry for the political simile).  My point is that I grow irises for the
challenge and I expect that some varieties just won't perform well for me
and I make adjustments or take my lumps.  If all irises grew perfectly in
every part of the country where would the challenge and excitement be?  It's
surely disappointing when that lovely and expensive thing, you picked out of
a catalog line up, UAD's (Up and Dies), but this is the process of natural
selection and capitalism at its worst (or best, depending on your frame of
reference)or maybe just Murphy's Law at work.  

My suggestion for other iris beginners, like myself, or frustrated
experienced iris growers, is for you to pick up an iris catalog, with no
pictures, preferably from a local grower, and sit down and read over the
lists of the types of irises in which you're interested.  MEMORIZE the names
of the hybridizers with several varieties still listed that are more than 5
or 10 years old.  It's my reasoning and assumption that these hybridizers
are the ones with a proven track record of breeding something that will
perform well and survive in most gardens in your area. I first look at
rebloom potential, hybridizer secondly, and color and description last.
Next, fill out an order with the bulk of your selections for the year and
send it in to this local grower to support her/his "test garden".  You'll
probably get lots of nice extras, too.

Now, you're ready to pick up the glossy catalog with the irises that will
knock your eyeballs out, but may not perform to your expectations or be
perfectly suited to your area.  You then choose the two (or more depending
on how much money and luck you have) most gorgeous and flamboyant irises or
whatever suits your fancy.  If catalogs listed new iris introductions by the
month of introduction your selections would have to be the ones introduced
right before the catalog went to press in order to assure freshness and the
highest novelty and envy factor among friends in your local iris society. :)
Next write up the order and the payment,seal the envelope well, apply
postage, and give it a kiss before you place it in the mailbox.  You'll
receive your two "lottery tickets" in the mail at the appropriate planting
time for your area.  :)

You have now gone a long way toward assuring that you'll get many "sure
things" that give good results, plus you will have a taste of the new and
unknown and the adrenalin rush that goes with it.  Moderation is the key.  
Of course if consistency, predictability, reliability, dependability, and
perfection is what you're after I would recommend that you try a newly
introduced TB named MAYTAG RED (Ripley, 1996). It has been known to grow
equally well in climates ranging from frozen tundra to steamy swamps and has
never been reported to rot.  It's a geranium red, extremely fragrant,
everbloomer with impeccable foliage habit.  It has a perfect 50% ratio of
bloom stalks to fans.  It forms perfect clumps rapidly (so rapidly that
weeds can't even grow next to it) and should be divided once every three
years. Lastly, it's self cleaning so it never gets borer infestations. Oh, I
forgot to mention that it's a steal at $55.00 (U.S. currency), but the
grower that sells it only accepts cash or money orders.  :) :) :) Other
intros from Ripley include SPOOFED YA, BELIEVE IT, OR NOT, READ MY LIPS,

-Donald (Forgive me for being full of myself tonight)

Donald Mosser
North Augusta, South Carolina, USA
On the South Carolina and Georgia Border
Zone 7b-8
First avg. frost date approx. Nov.15th
Last avg. frost date approx. March 15th

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