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Survivors and hybridizers

  • Subject: [PHOTO] [iris-photos] Survivors and hybridizers
  • From: oneofcultivars@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 17:56:53 EST

Hybridizers are heroes here so certainly what follows should be taken with a grain of salt by those more objective than myself.

Bacterial soft rot is a problem that I have not yet been able to wrap my brain around and I have tried. I do not feel so bad about this. It destroys perhaps more of the worlds food crops than any other malady. Greater minds than mine have been frustrated by Erwinia caratovora for longer than I am old.

I often see this hybridizer's work or that ones maligned for having introductions that are susceptible to rot. Yet when I ask the question, "Show me a TB iris that has not rotted sometime, somewhere?" I receive no defensible responses. In all probability (opinion) the susceptibility to rot goes all the way back to the species' that contributed to today's modern TB's and will not be going away in the near future.

That leads me to a comparison of irises by different hybridizers of note. I grow a fair number of Moores and Keppel intros here, some Blyth and some Ghio. Too, a fairly broad range of other irises by other hybridizers live here. None are treated particularly well, if well at all.

Unless one chooses to grow a wide spectrum of a given hybridizers irises suggestions to the effect that his irises rot or don't grow are usually patently erroneous. And, even with growing a wide spectrum I suspect such statements only true for specific climate conditions of that location given the penchant of many iris cultivars' for giving stellar performance under only a narrow band of climate conditions. (opinion)

I once compared a group (all those growing here) of Keppel cultivars to all other irises here by other hybridizers. It is true that some performed poorly and others were stellar. The criterion used for comparison was plant vigor (surviving increases). When all was said and done, on a scale of one to ten with ten being best, Keppel irises ranked 7.33. The overall iris population here ranked 4.33. All of the Keppel irises in this evaluation still survive here today.

Moores' recent intros fair better than those from other hybridizers here. However, there is no way to determine whether he is more judicious in his selection process than other hybridizers or if indeed hybridizing in a similar climate forces the selection of better irises for this climate. Regardless, they are performers here.

The Blyth irises that grow here are generally midseason bloomers and are not present sufficient numbers to evaluate in a way that would be fair from a vigor standpoint. This is also true of Ghio introductions growing here. I can say that of those growing here that were introduced by these two hybridizers, they appear neither more or less performance capable than the overall iris population nor do they appear more or less rot prone.

Certainly even hard cases must grudgingly admit the contributions of the above hybridizers to iris advancements.

I do not believe I would give up the advancements to the hybridizing art depicted by any one of the cultivars growing here because another finds it may not perform though many non performers across the board have fallen by the wayside. I am and easy mark for blooms I have not seen and will try all that a poor man can acquire. Some do go away. Never from me discarding them but from God sorting them out for a guy given to excesses and driven by a lazy nature that often mistreats garden plants.

Even irises that rot (all) have utility beyond creating a new hole in which to plant. I have seen one iris contract a seemingly impossible case of soft rot to overcome, taken no action, and had it initiate new roots and grow them back through the rot infected rhizome. Amazed I was, I was. And, still have only seen this with one. It may or may not represent a capacity for this iris and this iris alone to overcome adversity. I have yet to see a photo adequately convey the beauty of this iris either. I have seen bloom photos over a fairly wide range of climates and growing conditions. No person seeing it in the flesh has failed to admire it's bloom either.

One of several rhizomes with roots growing through rot  infected tissue.

Lanai anothers photo:

Lanai my photo brighter colored from lighting conditions

Lanai another, nothers photo

Smiles,
Bill Burleson







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