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Re: Reblooming Irises

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Reblooming Irises
  • From: Donald Mosser <dmosser@ibm.net>
  • Date: Sun, 21 Sep 1997 11:20:41 -0600 (MDT)

I had noticed the questions and answers going back on the IRIS-L about
rebloomers and I thought I might comment since I just returned from the AIS
Region 5 Fall meeting and judges training on rebloomers with Dr. Lloyd

Dr. Zurbrigg gave a fascinating and enlightening talk on bearded
rebloomers, their history, and where he feels that there is still room for
improvement. Dr. Zurbrigg felt that bearded iris foliage was an area which
has perhaps been neglected by all bearded iris hybridizers and that this a
wide open field for anyone willing to take the plunge and dedicate the time
and effort to developing better foliage characteristics such as:  

1) Foliage that looks good year round
2) Foliage which provides a good contrast to other plants, i.e. purple
based foliage.

Dr. Zurbrigg thought that many rebloomers already have superior foliage to
once bloomers and therefore, would be a logical starting point towards
developing better foliage characteristics in bearded irises.

Dr. Zurbrigg went on to describe what he termed 4 classifications of

1) Continuous Rebloomers (a.k.a. Everbloomers) Example: IMMORTALITY in more
northerly climates than Durham, N.C.  He alluded to summer heat in the
southeast as causing continuous rebloomers to perform as cycle rebloomers.

2) Cycle or Cyclic Rebloomers - bloom in spring and then again in fall. No
examples given or else I fell down on the note taking here.:)

3) Repeat bloom - term used primarily with Siberian irises, referring to a
second flush of bloom shortly after first round of bloom or a continuos
bloom over and extended period of time.

4) Sporadic Rebloomer (Dr. Zurbrigg prefers the term "Occasional
Rebloomer")- Example: VICTORIA FALLS.  He did mention VICTORIA FALLS as
being a good parent  which will throw cyclic or reliable reblooming offspring.

These various classifications would seem to indicate that there is a large
degree of variability in when rebloomers will do their thing.  Local
climatic conditions seem to be a large controlling variable for any of the
types of rebloom.  For example, some rebloomers which perform as
everbloomers on the West Coast (U.S.) will never do so on the East coast
either because of the short growing season in the northeast or the hot
summers in the southeast.  I would think that these West Coast everbloomers
would tend to act either as once bloomers or cyclic rebloomers in the
eastern U.S.

I am convinced that rebloomers in my area need several nights of cool
temperatures (50's or low 60's Far.) to initiate bloom stalk production.

Dr. Zurbrigg also mentioned the tendency of West coast rebloomers to be
more prone to rot when grown on the East coast than rebloomers which were
developed from eastern U.S. derived breeding lines.  He estimated,
conservatively, that about 1 in 8 West Coast rebloomers will thrive in the
eastern U.S.

Dr. Zurbrigg indicated that the Reblooming Iris Society is working on a
list detailing which rebloomers are reported to bloom in each state in the
U.S. and in areas outside the U.S., such as Canada.  He said that this
effort has been greatly facilitated by the Internet which allows rebloom
reports and data to be gathered and tabulated much more readily than by
standard postal service.  However, he didn't mention who was tabulating
this data and it didn't occur to me to ask during the judges training.
Does anyone in the Reblooming Iris Society know who is responsible for
developing this list and where we could send our rebloom reports?

Dr. Zurbrigg fortified his training with some nice slides of a variety of
rebloomers.  He also spoke about Space Age Irises and showed slides as a
bonus following the judges training.  Dr. Zurbrigg, apparently has been
carrying out a covert hybridizing program involving space agers and
reblooming space agers over that last 20-30 years.  However, now that space
age irises and rebloomers are all the rage, he can now "Come out of the
closet" so to speak.

The slides of some of his forthcoming seedlings were spectacular.  There
were some truly gorgeous, horned, spooned and flounced bearded irises which
we will be seeing from him in the future.


Donald Mosser
592 Kershaw Drive
North Augusta, SC 29841


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