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Re: Rainbow Hybridizing Catalog

  • Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Rainbow Hybridizing Catalog
  • From: Patricia Wenham h.schinkep@verizon.net
  • Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2003 09:27:01 -0800

Thank you Sterling, that is very kind of you and I might take you up on 
it.  I get to Covington occasionally and I generally get there for the 
regional meetings when they are held there.  It would be a nostalgic 
trip down memory lane to browse the catalogs.  I have tried to dredge up 
the names of some of the iris I purchased in the late 1950s and early 
1960s and a few come to mind from the 1960s but the 1950s remain 
shrouded in mist.  I was quite poor then and could only afford one a 
year except when I had received a gift for Christmas or birthday and 
could save enough for one more.  That was reason enough to browse 
through the catalog over and over to be sure I was getting the very best 
choice for the money I had.  Like a small child before Christmas.

Unicorn was one of the iris Mary Gratrix had and it slightly resembled 
the one on the catalog cover but the hot sun on sandy soil in her garden 
tended to wash the colors out.  The beards were never quite as perky as 
the picture but then the flowers were often not in their prime when I 
saw them.  I was working and had to wait till the weekend to get there 
and usually went in the afternoon so flowers were heat stressed by then.  

The lesson I learned from those visits is that the best time to view 
iris in a really hot dry climate is mid morning when the flowers are at 
their best and so am I as I tend to wilt in the heat too.  It is always 
best to be sure that the visit does not interrupt any hybridizing 
efforts by the host/hostess.  In dry climate there is not a very large 
window in the day when hybridizing can take place successfully.  I was 
very disappointed this year with my attempts at hybridizing.  Pollen was 
not viable or the stigma was too dry.  I wonder if a very fine mist 
(from a hand held manual pump spray bottle) sprayed on the bud one or 
two evenings before it opens might help provide just a bit of the boost 
they need.  Has anyone tried this?  I tried a cover when it was raining, 
usually only when iris are blooming, but that was not satisfactory. 
 Perhaps the large umbrellas would work if they could be successfully 
anchored but paper cups and other light weight covers often blew off in 
the wind and took the bud with them.  Does anyone have any other 

Arid USDA zone 5 in Central WA

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