Monday, January 20, 2014

Irises In My Dreams

By J. Griffin Crump

For hybridizers, winter is a time of reflection and anticipation, thinking about progress made toward hybridizing goals, reviewing crosses made and looking forward to as yet unseen blooms come spring.  Making their debut this spring will be many irises planted as seeds in 2011 and 2012.  Here are some of these crosses along with what I hope to see when they first flower come spring.

2011:    Sdlg 952Z1 X Sdlg 082R15:  A Black Amoena?



Beginning hybridizers are often counseled to "cross the best with the best", and that's good advice.  Sometimes, however, other considerations prevail.  952Z1 is more than 15 years old and its flower form is "just" modern, but its bold yellow draws garden visitors over to it time and again.  It has excellent branching and unusually heavy substance.  082R15, on the other hand, is a recent development.  It, too, draws the visitors.  Despite its handsome appearance, however, it's not really a good iris because of the delicacy of its petals and the rangy stalks.  So, why make the cross?  With 952Z1 as the pod parent, I'm hoping that its strong traits will prevail in some of the seedlings.  Long-range target:  A black amoena.  Shorter range:  A yellow/black bi-color.

2012:  Sdlg 05I1 (since introduced as "Lezghinka") X Sdlg 01S2:
Broad, Velvety Falls 



01S2 is gorgeous, in my not-so-humble opinion, but it and its near-twin, 01S3, inherited the short stature of their pod parent, "Aura Light", and their very large flowers work against symmetry, so they won't be introduced.  However, by crossing them with "Lezghinka" as the pod parent--which is very tall and well-branched-- I hope to get the best features of both, including broad, velvety mahogany-red falls.

2012:  "Minneola" X Sdlg 082Y1: REDDER!



082Y1 has both pink and strong velvet parentage in its background.  I'm hoping the anthocyanin, when mixed with "Minneola's" brilliant orange, will advance to a redder offspring.  (Or it could look like a mud blossom . . .)

2011:  Wearing Rubies X Sdlg 072N6:  Reblooming Rich Velvety Reds

 "Wearing Rubies"


Sdlg 072N6 resulted from a cross of "Wearing Rubies" X Sdlg 01J4, which stemmed from "Romantic Evening", "Champagne Elegance" and "Lady Friend".  072N6 reblooms.  So, this is a back-cross, looking to see if I can get more rebloomers with rich reds and velvets.

2011:  Sdlg 052M1 (since introduced as "Csardas Princess") X Sdlg 07U8 (since introduced as "Poise Aplenty"):  Blend of forms

"Csardas Princess"

"Poise Aplenty"

I'm satisfied with "Csardas Princess" as the sturdy, well-branched upright flower that she is, but couldn't help wondering what might happen if I crossed that pretty thing with "Poise Aplenty", which produces 10-12 buds on slender S-curved stems.  Unfortunately, the germination rate in 2012 was miserable, but we'll see what the survivors look like, hopefully, this year.

Sdlg 082L13 X Sdlg 01S3:  SURPRISE!



I confess I have no rationale for this cross except to say that I couldn't resist it!

 2011:  "Faerie Court" X 05R2 (since introduced as "Bright Sprite"): Intermediate Luminosity

"Faerie Court"

"Bright Sprite" (05R2)

"Faerie Court" is one of my earliest registered irises, and I've never known quite what to do with it.  The question always in my mind was what could it be matched with that wouldn't overpower that delicate pearly lustre in its falls. Finally, I think I've found the right candidate in "Bright Sprite".  "Bright Sprite" has two doses of "Lumalite" in it, which I think may possibly even enhance "Faerie Court's" hues. "Bright Sprite" is a standard dwarf, whereas "Faerie Court" is a slender, mid-sized tall bearded.  I'd be delighted to get a good-looking intermediate as a result.

So, these are a few ventures whose outcomes I'm looking forward to (apologies to Winston Churchill).  I hope to share the results in a future posting. 

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