Friday, July 26, 2013

Delayed Gratification – The Siberian-Species Convention in Michigan

By Bob Hollingworth

Well, it ended up just fine after all! It turned out that postponing the 2012 Siberian-Species Convention until this year was a good decision (and, since it was an unprecedented move, it took a little nerve to do it). The 128 people who registered enjoyed some very pleasant Michigan late spring weather and caught the irises at or near peak bloom. The arrangements went ahead quite smoothly and more than a few people said it was the best convention they had ever attended. So luck was on our side this time.  The guest irises were generally growing quite well and at John and Jean Kaufmann’s garden in particular there were many clumps of enormous size after four years in the ground. A sandy soil, generous fertilization and an irrigation system brought out their full genetic potential. I don’t recall ver seeing Siberians being grown better.. The other gardens on tour were at Jill and Jim Copeland's, the Ensata Garden  of Bob Bauer and John Coble, and ours.  The many fine clumps led to some real competition in the voting for favorites at the end of the convention, and some quite wonderful irises didn’t make the final list.

So let me share the final outcome and some photos with you. Listing the Favorite Siberians may seem self-serving since one of mine, the plicata-like tetraploid “Judy, Judy, Judy”, named for my wife, was voted overall favorite – but keep in mind that this was a home game for us and maybe having Judy, Judy, Judy‘s Tearoom serving English afternoon tea to the garden visitors could be seen as a less-than-subtle hint on how to vote.
Judy, Judy, Judy
Afternoon tea is now being served on the verandah
The next iris in the voting, Marky Smith’s “Star Lion”, is a perennial favorite and grew beautifully in several gardens. For someone who pays only passing attention to hybridizing Siberians, Marky has a remarkable record of success. Her deepest red-violet “Kilauea” also made the top ten list. Our “Swans in Flight”, a very large white diploid, and Sylvia Borglum’s “Sylvia’s Love” followed on. This iris is one that has attracted me ever since I first saw it as a guest at the Minnesota convention in 2009 – a good grower with a delicate light blue rim on the white falls that makes a perfect clump. Then came Dean Cole’s “My Girl Emily”, a striking tetraploid with a broad diffuse rim of red around a milky bluish background on the falls – colored rims seemed to get the votes this year.



Star Lion


My Girl Emily


Swans in Flight


Sylvia's Love

Other favorites in the voting included Marty Schafer and Jan Sack’s “Sandy River Belle”, a subtle blend of sandy yellow and pink that presented wonderful flower bouquets in several gardens. As I said, the competition was extreme – “Trip to Paris” (Schafer-Sacks, 2009) was just one of the many irises that didn’t get on the favorites list but by any measure must be judged to be quite outstanding.
  


Sandy River Belle

Trip to Paris

Favorite 10 Siberian or Species seen growing in the guest gardens





1
Judy, Judy, Judy
Siberian (tet.)
Bob Hollingworth, 2010
2
Star Lion
Siberian (dip.)
Marky Smith, 2006
3
Swans In Flight
Siberian (dip.)
Bob Hollingworth, 2006
3
Sylvia’s Love
Siberian (dip.)
Sylvia Borglum, 2006
5
My Girl Emily
Siberian (tet.)
Dean Cole, 2012
6
Encore Performance
Siberian (dip.)
Bob Hollingworth, 2010
7
Sushi
Pseudacorus
Jill Copeland, 2013
8
Sandy River Belle
Siberian (dip.)
Marty Schafer-Jan Sacks, 2011 
9
Neptune’s Gold
Siberian (tet.)
Bob Hollingworth, Reg. 2013
10
Emily Anne
Siberian (tet.)
Bob Hollingworth, 2002
10
Great Falls Wine
Siberian (tet.)
Dean Cole, 2008
10
Kilauea
Siberian (dip.)
Marky Smith, 2007
10
Lakeside Ghost
Laevigata
Chad Harris, 2012
                         
The attendees also voted for the best seedling among the guests. The winner was a bit of a surprise, particularly to Brian Wendell, a hybridizer relatively new to the Siberian world, who seemed to be walking on air when he went up to accept the award. His seedling 2-02 was a very vigorous grower in a classic form with pure light to mid-blue flowers. The runners up were Dana Borglum’s Seedling 22 (mid-blue with a large yellow patch on the falls) tied with Schafer-Sacks S04-22C-10 (yellow-brown  base with reddish eyelash veining on the falls). I hope all three will be introduced soon.
Wendell 02-2

Schafer-Sacks S04-22C-10

 D. Borglum Sdlg. 22
So, it all had to end, we wished our friends, old and new, goodbye, and we garden owners could decompress and bask a little in the glow of an event that went well. Probably it will not recur in Michigan again until the memories of the work and worry of running a convention have faded a bit, but now we can look forward to a new Siberian Convention added on to the AIS Meeting in Portland in 2015. May they be as fortunate there as we were.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, a very interesting report.

    ReplyDelete

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