Monday, June 25, 2012

After the Meltdown

Rebloomers tend to be among the first tall bearded irises to bloom in the spring, and they often color the garden for a week before the oncers begin blooming.  In early April, 'Tara's Choice' and several other rebloomers were looking great.  Unfortunately, I knew it was way too early for them to be safe in my Kentucky, zone 6, garden.  

'Tara's Choice' (Wilkerson 2004)

As I finished my last AIS blog entry, the garden was hit by a heavy frost extending over three consecutive nights.  Many of my seedlings were in full bloom and I'd begun making crosses for the 2012 year.  They turned out to be busy work.  The immediate concern was damage.  What was damaged and how bad was it?  

Frost damaged stalk
It was bad.  All stalks were cut down by the frosts.  Most of the bloom was gone for the season, but a small number of irises put up new stalks.  Some of the newer seedlings managed to open a bloom here and there.  Although nothing could be evaluated due to damaged blooms, it was nice to see the colors.  Who would have expected 'Born to Exceed' X 'Renown' (blue bi-tone and white) to produce a yellow seedling?  I'd hoped to expand my photo collection, but unfortunately, I was not able to take many pictures. This blog will be handicapped or limited to existing photos until I have another good bloom season.

There were no pods in the tall bearded section for 2012.  About twenty crosses had been made when the frost hit and none survived.  Another ten crosses were made post frost and none of these took. Recently germinated seedlings were frost bit but few were killed, fortunately.

Since the spring bloom was three weeks early, so it should be no surprise that rebloom also started earlier this year.  'Pinkness' (Byers 89) tried to spring bloom, was damaged. and it was the first introduced iris to put up a new stalk, followed by 'Gate of Heaven' (Zurbrigg 2004) and 'Artistic Showoff' (Wilkerson 2011.)  This is early for my garden, but there are reports of early rebloom in many parts of the US of A.

'Pinkness' (Byers 1989)

'Gate of Heaven' (Zurbrigg 2004) (Yum!)

'Artistic Showoff' (Wilkerson 2011)

Even before these three irises bloomed, two of my summer blooming seedlings gave a show.  Both 2025-02Re and 2130-01Re have bloomed in July but started rebloom in June this year. Both have been used in breeding. 
2025-02Re Wilkerson seedling (Total Recall x 1625-01Re (Star Gate x  (Violet Returns x Breakers) 

2131-01Re Wilkerson seedling (Again & Again X Echo Location) 
I also have a couple of seedlings with stalks showing color.  They won't open by June 25, but I'll give you a little peek at what I'll see in a few days!  2102-04Re has been a favored seedling since it was transplanted from the seedling pot back in the fall of 2007.  At that point, I was impressed with its great root system, and I fully expected it to rebloom.  My enthusiasm gradually diminished as I watched it set bloom stalks each spring, right after bloom season, and waited (impatiently) for signs of a fall stalk.  Each year it sat and waited for spring to send up the stalks.  In 2010 I moved a piece of it to the new beds.  The clump opened three stalks post-frost season this spring.  Last week I was thrilled when I finally spotted a rebloom stalk.  I was shocked because I'd given up.  More about this one in a later blog.  It has great breeding potential.

2102-04Re Wilkerson seedling (Star Gate x (Bridge In Time x (Feed Back x Titan's Glory) X Arctic Fox

1907-10Re Wilkerson seedling (Blatant X All Revved Up) 
1907-10Re bloomed all summer in 2011, had spring stalks, and it has another stalk ready to show color now.  This shows potential for a good 2012 rebloom season.  I hope to have a lot to report in August.  At least I can dream.

Much of the country had an early bloom season in the spring.  Did any of your irises get hit by frost?  Have any of your reblooming irises sent up new stalks already this summer?


  1. They aer all so pretty

  2. We too were hit by late frosts this year just as the beardeds were blooming. All seemed to be fine except Wabash which took a bit of a hit, but none of the crosses I was trying seemed to have taken either.

  3. It seems to have happened to a lot of us this year. In 26 years of breeding it has only happened in 2007 & 2012. It makes me appreciate the good years even more.

  4. I will be looking forward to what you get in further generations from 2131-01Re Wilkerson seedling (Again & Again X Echo Location) Shold be great for rebloom!


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