Monday, December 30, 2013

Strong Reblooming Irises Hybridized by Sterling Innerst

Again and Again

by Betty Wilkerson

When you breed for rebloomers, or any specific type of iris, there is a constant search for irises that can contribute to your program.  Several of Sterling Innerst's earlier introductions rebloom in the warmer climates seven through ten.  Most do not give good rebloom in zones 6 or lower. When compared to the total volume of his tall bearded introductions, his contribution to colder climate rebloomers has been limited, but very important.

In the last ten years, or so, of his active hybridizing career, Sterling worked very hard to develop reliable rebloomers.  It takes a while for the good and bad points of rebloomers to become known.  By the time we get the full picture they have been grown in several parts of the country.  Several years ago, I purchased a few of Sterling Innerst irises reported to rebloom in colder zones, below zone 6b. 

'Again and Again' (Innerst 1999) 

Another angle of the same bloom.  
My introduction to ‘Again and Again’ (Innerst 1999) came with a July visit to the Iris Display Garden in Bowling Green KY.  I believe the year was 2005.  It was love at first sight!  The stalk was a bit short and the bloom nestled down near the foliage, but it was awesome, reminding me of white, pale yellow, and light brown tulle that I’d sewn in earlier days.  Simply divine!  I drove home and immediately put in an order for 'Again and Again' from Schreiners.  

Same clump in 2012
Sterling crossed ‘Renown,’ (Lloyd Zurbrigg 1992) reported to be a good cold climate rebloomers, with pollen from Ben Hager’s ‘Anxious.’ This produced ‘Again and Again’ (Innerst 1999) which was the first of a trio of very good rebloomers Sterling introduced.  It is now 15 years old and has been grown throughout the country.  I can only speak for how it has grown in my garden.  The pictures shown here are pictures taken in my garden in the spring of 2010 and 2012. 

When crossed with some of my own, 'Again and Again' produced a couple of rebloomers.  If everything goes well, I will use it more. It's not a perfect rebloomer in my garden, nor has it been a perfect rebloom parent, but it is definitely a good tool.  Do you grow any of Sterling Innerst's irises in your garden?

1 comment:

  1. Betty - You mentioned that Sterling put out a trio of good rebloomers, but failed to mention the other two. I am sure "Over & Over is among the three, but what would you consider is the third good performing re-bloomer for colder climates that Sterling produced? As to the number of Sterlings cultivars that I have in my garden? I have 117 of the 213 listed by the AIS in their Twiki and I am trying to collect them all! Thanks. Greg


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