That's a very diplomatic way to put it - I like that - "wonderfully strange" :0)
Often times I'm crossing things just to see what will happen if...
Most of my dabblings involve the various 24 chromosome diploid beardeds (species, MTBs and historics), but I do a little playing around with some of the other groups.
In this particular case, I actually had a plan, believe it or not. I was hoping to find a good mate for my diploid species-cross seedling "PBF/RM" (garden name) to try to correct its faults while keeping the qualities that I like in it. What I like most about "PBF/RM" are:
1) The foliage color traits - "PBF/RM" is from (KUPARI x ROSEMARY'S DREAM) X (KUPARI x suaveolens var. rubromarginata). It inherited both the purple based foliage of ROSEMARY'S DREAM and the red margins of rubromarginata. KUPARI also tends to intensify the _expression_ of these purple foliage traits. I hope to eventually breed all-purple foliage by outcrossing and inbreeding this line.
2) The strong, sweet, grapey fragrance - mostly coming from KUPARI. I can forgive a lot of faults if I can close my eyes and still enjoy.
3) The saturated, velvety dark-purple color with blue beards to top it off. It doesn't seem to be a common color scheme among the diploids.
Unfortunately, "PBF/RM" is NOT a finished product. It has these faults:
1) Low budcount and branching (from both KUPARI and suaveolens). The little bit of ROSEMARY'S DREAM in its ancestry couldn't make up for it.
2) The flowers are disproportionately large for the foliage (probably mostly coming from suaveolens).
3) The flower form isn't my ideal. The falls could use some more width and less tuck. (once again KUPARI and suaveolens are probably to blame here)
'Astra Girl' sounded like it might "fit the bill" to work toward correcting several of those faults (possibly contributing branching, budcount, proportion and/or fall-flare). I had been thinking that I'd be working toward a finished MTB, but now that I rethink it... I don't know why I expected these two shorties to make anything but more shorties. Actually this is one of the rare cases where I'm getting almost exactly what I would expect.
So you asked, "What made you decide to do these crosses?"
Well... I just think that there's so much potential for neat things in the diploid stuff and plenty of accomplished professionals have got the tetraploid Tall Beardeds (among others) covered. So, I think I can push the boundaries and have the most fun working with the diploids.
Every time I've come across a species bearded that hasn't really been used much (or at all) by hybridizers, it makes the gears in my head start turning.
Two that have lately been stubbornly resisting my attempts are Iris furcata and Iris perrieri.
One that pleasantly surprised me last year was Iris purpureobractea. Hopefully I'll have a few seedlings of this species in bloom in 2011.
Sorry about the long-winded reply.
By the way, I've been enjoying very much your arilbred postings. It's neat to see someone not only growing but breeding these neat irises in our area.
Thanks and best wishes, Tom
Tom you have
so many wonderfully strange crosses
perhaps not the results you wanted or I can even understand.
What made you decide to do these crosses?