I agree it's most frustrating to find a mislabelled
iris, especially after waiting a few years for it to bloom. My
original 10 or so irises were never labelled when I bought them, but they were
blooming, so at least I knew the colour and I'd never seen miniature or dwarf
irises before. I immediately fell in love with them!!!
After years of buying other irises that sounded
close in descriptions, I have since given up on ever identifying those, being a
more experienced isarian now, but I still keep them in one bed by my driveway
and include them in my garden tours. I tell people there is no certain way
to ever conclusively identify unknown irises. Hopefully, some are
I also try to check out the local nurseries in
spring and advise them when they have an iris in bloom that is
mislabelled. Sometimes the manager comes out and I bring out the bigger
guns, mentioning that I'm an iris display garden and just want to help you
ensure you're selling a correctly labelled product. It's not always hard,
since the blooming iris has a label with an actual picture of the iris right on
the label; how hard is it to look at the iris & the picture and see that one
is yellow and the blooming iris is no where close to being yellow. I'm
sure they cringe now when they see me walk in. I have returned to the same
store, where they had removed all the mislabelled irises, but when I went back a
few days later, there they were back up on the tables, for sale again.
Another nursery removed the labels and sold them as unknowns.
I have friends who do this with hostas, daylilies
One year, I returned a huge bag of blooming
daylilies to Costco (hard to resist the price of some boxed offerings), because
they weren't the daylilies pictured on the box. They were bright orange
and could be seen from miles away. The box was labelled as Catherine
Woodbury, which is a very light pink or lavender. I was quite upset,
especially since orange is a colour that isn't often allowed into my garden,
aside from exceptional irises! It must have been quite a sight, since the
6 daylilies were huge and blooming right out of the plastic shopping bag I had
dumped them into and all the blossoms were bobbing around around and up and
down, to the extreme agitation of my angry stride into the store. Since
then, I try to return mislabelled plants back to the store they came
from. I keep all the bills until I'm convinced I got what I wanted to
I label every plant that comes into my garden, and
am currently replacing less reliable labels with copper ones, using the longest
part of a hanger as the stake. The stake gets pushed very deeply into the
soil, so hopefully it won't get pulled out by mistake or by anything else that
happens by. This is just the first year of trying out these labels,
As I've mentioned before, all my new rhizomes are
planted in a nusery bed, alphabetized by class. I try to remember to take
pictures of the irises as they bloom, but a video is a great idea! I also
track all my plants in a database (since 1985), so I know what I've bought, what
year, what it cost, and am working on adding in the breeder for the older
Nowaday, I think many gardeners do want to know the
names of the plants in their gardens, but they may not always label them.
They just want to know that they have that specific plant and know that it's
somewhere in a particular bed. I actually print off my plant list every
spring and mark what has survived and what has not. I'm not a breeder, nor
a nursery, but there are many more just like me out here. Just like when a
stranger stops by, I've got to know their name!
El, near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Z3
DIS & MIS Display Garden
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 11:13
Subject: RE: [iris-photos]NOID:ID's
There are two points I would like to add to your discussion below.
First, the vast majority of gardeners don't care about the
cultivar names of their plants. That applies to roses and daylilies as
well as irises. Those of us who do care know that it takes 3 levels of
documentation (computer map, field staking and video taping) combined with an
obsessive attention to detail to maintain accurate records. That means that
even more errors are to be expected. I have been told that during bloom season
Schreiner's has a 3 man crew who spend all day rouging the field beds.
Second point is that identification technology is still not up to the
level to be fully useful. The most obvious level of identification is visual.
Until there is a color standard that can be
used with color calibrated cameras and monitors, there is
little hope of significant improvement over current practices. I was
having a similar conversation about a year ago and made the statement
that this identification problem would only be solved when a complete DNA
profile had to be attached to the AIS registration form. Someone in the group
who knew a lot more about DNA profiling than I do stated that that technology
had a lot more development to do before it would be useful for this purpose.
It has to be able to distinguish between siblings.
I find a misidentified clump in my garden, I replace the cultivar name stake
with one that says "for sale immediately". When a customer is interested, I
watch their body language closely and price the clump to sell then. When the
customer says "Yes" I get the shovel. The
customer is happy and I am happy to get rid of the NOID.
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