Monday, February 24, 2014

Strong Reblooming Irises Hybridized by Sterling Innerst-2

by Betty Wilkerson

Over and Over

What can I say about 'Over and Over?'  In my zone 6b garden, nothing is as dependable for rebloom. In a good year I will get multiple stalks of 'Over and Over' from July through the first hard fall freeze. Although it must be planted in a new bed or fertilized to bloom this well, in an old bed that hasn't been fertilized for a couple of years it will still put up a few stalks. (First picture is not mine.  It was sent by another grower, but I've forgotten just who.  Sorry!)
'Over and Over' (Innerst 2001) 
One of my favorite places to use it is behind 'Star Gate.'  They create a very interesting play of light and dark. Both irises are good about giving good fall bloom in my garden and bloom at the same time.

'Star Gate' (Wilkerson 2005)
'Over and Over' (Innerst 2001) 
Most often, in my garden, the blooms will look like these below.  The bloom often droops, not having the good lift of the picture at the top of the page.  This could easily be the result of my hot late summer days, or it could be the lack of proper fertilization. But even in new beds, I've not seen the good substance that I see in photographs.

'Over and Over' (Innerst 2001)
What is the value of 'Over and Over' in our breeding programs?  It should be a good breeder for rebloom.  Although it not happen instantly, I believe that with a large measure of patience, and a few generations of both outbreeding and inbreeding, it will give us a path to tall, well-branched rebloomers with good substance in the colder climates.

For those of you who are not genetic experts, it is important to know that plicatas like 'Over and Over' crossed to other plicatas will give more plicatas.  There will be occasional selfs (solid colored irises), but most will be similiar to 'Over and Over.' A plicata crossed to a self can give selfs, bitones, or variegatas (irises with yellow standards and red falls).  Color must exist in the genetic family to be produced in the children, so my guess is that variegatas will be rare in these crosses.  

I've had one reblooming seedling from a cross of one of my older, but weaker, rebloomers by 'Over and Over', and there are several more crosses in the seedling beds that contain 'Over and Over.'  Stay tuned for the results.  Even better, try some crosses of your own with 'Over and Over!'  Have fun!  

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