SUSANNE HOLLAND SPICKER
Polish iris expert and hybridizer, Robert Piatek, shares the process of his exciting, new plicata hybridizing program. Thank you, Robert, for sharing your passion with us!
by Robert Piątek
The plicata pattern displayed on bearded irises is spectacular and every grower aspires to create a plicata pattern that does not yet exist.
The most distinguished grower of this group of irises is Keith Keppel. His work is unsurpassed. He is always one step ahead of his contemporaries.
My strategy was never to grow just one group of iris. That is why my seedlings are diverse. But I digress. Back to plicatas!
I created my first plicatas in 2007 by crossing 'RUSTLER' with 'ACOMA':
I immediately recognised the quality of this seedling and I registered it in 2010 in AIS as the QUEEN OF DEW. It is a flower of warm colours with standards like dark honey and perfectly white falls, with a pale plicata pattern of honey coloured freckles. The plant is robust but not too many shoots are produced each year.
|QUEEN OF DEW|
Two years later, in 2009, I crossed 'SLOVAK PRINCE' with 'BLACKBERRY TEASE':
From this crossing I had a dozen or so seedlings but only three were plicatas. 'D' was not nice and I discarded it. The next two were okay, but 'A' grabbed my attention. The uprights are lavender with a light brown rim. The rim comprises of a number of brown lines that constitute the plicata pattern. The seedlings grow slowly but are quite prolific with 4 to 6 new shoots each year.
|'A' from the SLOVAK PRINCE and BLACKBERRY THEASE cross.|
From this cross I like only ‘A’ with its unique shape of flower and dark burgundy colour. The plicata pattern is quite typical but on the uprights you can see a light brown rim.
|'A' from 'KRAKOWIANKA' and 'WHISPERING SPIRITS' cross.|
|'B' from 'KRAKOWIANKA' and 'WHISPERING SPIRITS' cross.|
These are all my plicatas that I have created in the last four years but I still have 1,500 seedlings that are yet to flower. In pots I have 7,000 seeds resulting from many different crossings. I think in a year or two you could see my next plicatas. Maybe among them is something of a similar quality to 'QUEEN OF DEW'.