Margie Valenzuela commented and asked,
"................I love that color of your seedling!! I'm drawn to that rose
tone/color!! And I love the flush of bluish violet below the beard.
It accents the whole flower. Is a good increaser and grower? Was this
maiden year bloom for it? Can you tell us about it?"
Neil responds: Since the hafts narrow down just at
the standards, leaving a bit of a gap, I didn't give R 30-5 preferential
treatment last year. It still sits in the seedling bed where it first
bloomed last year. Yes--that was maiden bloom.
Increaser? It's holding its own where it's
at--which is good. It has some aggressive siblings next to
I did make crosses with it--both ways--with a
closely related relative--R 16-16 from Power Woman X Happenstance. I have
a badly out-of-focus digital of it that I'm ashamed to show. Below is
R 15-68, same parents, reverse order: Happenstance X Power Woman with about the
same color, but quite different form:
Thanks to all the medical issues at work these last
three years both the photography and the garden have suffered badly. R
16-16 and this seedling pictured above were lined out to maximize the
increase. R 30-5 was not. I may do so this year, and I may
not. I'm keeping it for the very reasons you responded to it, Margie--I,
too, love that color.
The out-of-focus shot of the reverse sib was the
result of the camera loosing the settings for close-up on which I had set
it while still in the house, so the auto-focus gave a nice, sharp rendition of a
sib two feet behind 16-16. I was in too much pain by the time I
returned to the house and uploaded the shots to the computer to go back out
and give it another chance. Then the sky opened up and
No amount of twiddling with the photo made it
acceptable, but Bill Burleson did work some magic with a torn petal. I've
kept and keep refering to the photo as I make plans for 2005. The blossom
was not yet fully opened when I took the photo, so I am not entirely sure of the
form. It did not bloom this year, but is growing well.
Incidentally, I discovered the "R" was
misunderstood in these seedling designations. When I left Idaho in 1981,
after making no crosses for two years and not planting any seeds from the three
years before that (for complicated reasons which are irrelevant here) the
alphabetical year designations from the years I *did* get to make crosses
beginning from 1953 had been in alphabetical order. The three years of
unplanted seeds, I'm sorry to say, went into the dump, years P, Q and R.
The last seedlings I had bloomed in the west were from year
So when I began again to be able to make crosses I
re-used these letters. P-year (1999) had twelve recent irises I
obtained from Keith Keppel available. Not all bloomed, but of those that
did, two of the crosses I made took, and the seeds from Swingtown X Romantic
Evening germinated exhuberantly. I selected two from the progeny for
further work--both of which are involved in these seedlings. P 1-13 is now
registered as POWER WOMAN, and P 1-9, although having a very good flower
and stalk, has the unfortunate habit of blooming from too many of its increases,
making it impossible to grow commercially.
Q-year had only two crosses, reciprocals between
Emperor's Concerto and Direct Flight, and produced nothing of sufficient value
to get excited about. I have saved one fairly wide blue-violet, but
probably will discard it this year unless it looks sufficiently better than it
had that it warrants use.
The R-seedlings, however, result from 79 crosses
from which I got 37 good pods, but I cannot read my notes at the moment on seed
count. S, T and U years have been lean years--but at least a few crosses
have been made each year furthering the more promising developments from the P
and R crops.
The exponential growth of the counts has overloaded
my available space (sound familiar?) so I'm looking for a) some ground, b) a
healthy youngster who would help do the more tedious work and c) continuing
recovery of my former vigor (a vain hope!).
That's why I can't answer your question about the R
30-5 seedling posted on the "Re: Venetian Waltz" comment back a few
entries. It still is there in the seedling row, has enough vigor to
compete with more aggressive sibs, also saved, but this year may reveal more of
its qualities. A little food has helped several of the R seedlings to look
far more dressed up than they did in the seedling bed where they were on
Just from a hybridizing standpoint, incidentally,
all these seedlings follow the same pattern--Swingtown, which is a Schreiner
orchid with some complicated non-orchid ancesters mixed into the line X Romantic
Evening, which has an incredibly rich mixture of ancestors--including Black
Forest about 17 times, I think (I'd have to go back and dig to review that to
say the count with certainty), plus an interweaving of related or half-sib
seedlings in the manner followed by Joe Ghio in many of his introductions,
tracing back both to Mystique and to the common ground of almost all of his
irises--New Moon, Gracie Pfost, Ponderosa, etc. There is a hefty Blyth
involvment present also.
Then these were crossed both directions with
Fogbound (which involves Honky Tonk Blues, pinks of extraordinary quality and
much more), plus Happenstance and Vienna Waltz, both siblings from the same
cross that produced SOCIAL GRACES, and are grounded on the pinks of Joe Gatty,
plus some Joe Ghio input part of which traces back to the pinks of Glenn Corlew,
all of which are richly indebted to PINK TAFFETA and other Hall-Fay-Rudolph
pinks and creams.
I love this mix! A number of strong, wide
outcrosses lay a foundation on which I hope to build.
My plan is now to "braid" the
seedlings--crosses back and forth and among the five or six ancestral crosses
from the five parents (two sets of siblings plus Fogbound). There are some
with very wide hafts, some with unusual bright rose-pink ANTHOCYANIN
colors, not Lycopene, with deep blue, white, yellow, red and mixed-color
beards, and some very interesting "reds" of a sort I've not seen before.....I am
more than interested--I'm enthralled.
Some of the seedlings are also being crossed
with Keppel intros from related crosses, such as CRYSTAL GAZER, PARIS FASHION
and I hope to be able to use VENETIAN GLASS this year. I also made a
number of crosses with Sterling Innerst's BRAZENBERRY, which has most admirable
branching and other good qualities. There is a smattering of other
interesting warm purples and rose-toned irises that are growing here, a few of
which have been used in crosses that I may incorporate into this primary
Am I having fun? I sure am. Now, where
in the heck can I plant the babies?
Which is more than you asked, Margie, but I think I
filled in around the question with possibly supportive information which may or
may not be of interest. The complex of outcrosses ought to maximize the
genetic pool in these seedlings, and selecting here in western NC zone 7, with
its highly variable weather, puts any iris to a strenuous workout. Wimps
don't thrive. Even some very high award winners don't thrive.....but some
Being on the hinge between the NE and the SE with
influences shared with TX and MS in another direction, IA and NE in
still another, and building on a foundation that is mostly West Coast-bred
top-quality stock, what does well here hopefully will do well
everywhere. One can always hope......
Neil Mogensen in notorious zone 7
winters of 7-degrees to 70 and back again in short, sharp changes in
western NC mountains
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