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Re: HYB: Progress

From: "Mike Sutton" <suttons@lightspeed.net>

Well it depends on what you consider progress.  There are many cultivars
from this decade that are definitely an "improvement" in size, form,
features and color.  Wider, larger falls with more ruffling and lace.
Really interesting color combos and patterns.  Greater substance with longer
lasting flowers.  If you take any flower from the 50's or 60's and put it
next to, say, YAQUINA BLUE you will see the huge difference in size, width
and form.  But of course it does come down to what you personally like in a
flower and, once again, what you think is progress.  Look at MIDNIGHT OIL
and compare it to previous blacks.  Take a look at STARSHIP ENTERPRISE and
compare it's color.  Think about the vigor of STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN or INNOCENT
STAR with 17 increases on one rhizome.  Take into consideration FANCY WOMAN,
FANCY DRESS, MIND READER and SPIRIT WORLD, luminatas.  Remember all of the
ISN'T THIS SOMETHING, etc.  I won't even go into space agers or rebloomers.
Walking through our seedling beds right now we probably have over 100 brand
new rebloomers (blooming right now)that have all been re-selected because of
various "improvements" in color or form.  There are also many reblooming
space agers and I have a stalk on a color broken space ager.  It is always
easy to say the "good old days" or "I remember when"  and by doing so
completely ignore the advancements, improvements and the "good old days"
that exist now.
History and historical iris are of great importance and to lose our
perspective of either one would be a travesty.  It is important, however, to
not let the "misty eye of memory" blur the clear and present today.
Tossing in a few cents, expecting some flak and firmly believing that huge
"progress" has been and is being made in the TB iris world.

-----Original Message-----

>From: John I Jones <jijones@ix.netcom.com>
>Hi All.
>The following was forwarded to me from (I think) a Hem list. I thought
>it would be a good subject for our list and will forward responses to
>the original author.
>Your thoughts?
>> Amen to this on TB irises -- I was quite active ( a judge and chmn of
>> Western NY Iris Soc) in the 50's, and did quite a lot of breeding TB's
>> and the SDB's (standard dwarfs).  I have been astonished, in recent
>> years, to try growing some newer TB intros and find that the difference,
>> if any, between these and what were commonly grown in the 50's is ( to
>> me) practically indistinguishable, and the new cvs seem tougher for me
>> to grow well. I defy anyone to point out important improvements in, for
>> instance, tangerine beaded pink TB's since Dave Hall's early ('60'S) MAY
>> HALL compared to the newest of that color. Talk about breeding on a
>> plateau! Not just 10 years, but 30!
>> But the seeds of this problem were sown back then when practically
>> everybody employed SNOW FLURRY (Rees '39: PURISSIMA X THAIS), a lovely,
>> heavily ruffled white TB, in their breeding. Seedlings from crosses like
>> SNOW FLURRY X CHIVALRY (bright blue) produced as many marvelous, ruffled
>> beauties as you'd care to see. SF X almost anything gave great stuff (it
>> is pollen-less).  But SF was tender and rot prone, and the seedlings
>> were notorious for that, too.  You had to select out the tender rotters,
>> and many folks opted for the novel ruffling instead.
>> So, as with Steve, I no longer even try to grow the TB's except
>> for a few accent plants. The smaller IB's, SDB's and MDB's are better
>> actors ( and have been less intensively bred, it is interesting to
>> observe).
>> And I can't but think we're heading down the same path with our hems --
>> perhaps haven't reached the "plateau" as far as novelty edges, ruffles
>> and flourishes, but the upswing of problems relating to culture should
>> be sounding the alarm!
>John                     | "There be dragons here"
>                         |  Annotation used by ancient cartographers
>                         |  to indicate the edge of the known world.
>USDA zone 8/9 (coastal, bay)
>Fremont, California, USA
>Visit my website at:
>President, Westbay Iris Society
>Director, Region 14 of the AIS
>AIS Special Committee for Electronic Member Services
>Subscribe to iris-talk at:
>Archives at: http://www.mallorn.com/lists/iris-talk/
>Subscribe to iris-photos at:
>Archives at:http://www.mallorn.com/lists/iris-photos/

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