Renee suggested that I might share some of this year's surprises.
The biggest and best surprise was recovery of an introduced variety that I thought had been lost. Two years ago, I dug and lined out La Cumparsita, introducing it in 2013. Luckily, before I sold any of it, it bloomed in two convention gardens and wasn't the right flower. I saw photos and was mystified until some of the lined-out plants bloomed in my own garden and also were the same nondescript purple seen in the photos. Clearly, the marker had been switched before the digging, probably during weeding, and an adjacent clump had been dug. I was tempted to rip out the whole planting, but, since some of the lined-out clumps hadn't bloomed, I tossed only those that had bloomed and left the rest in place. This spring, two of those which had been spared bloomed and were La Cumparsita! It will take a couple of years to build up stock again, but I said to some of my fellow irisarians that if nothing else good happened this year, it was still a good year!
Other surprises were winning Best Seedling of Show at the Fredericksburg Area Iris Society's spring show, the Chesapeake and Potomac Iris Society's spring show and the Region 4 spring show at Timonium, Maryland.
The winner at Fredericksburg was tall bearded 062D1:
and at Chesapeake and Potomac, standard dwarf seedling 092B4:
At the Regional show at Timonium, I counted on the judges adhering to the judges' handbook, which requires only one bloom to be open on a seedling. Although I must admit that I was surprised by my wins at Fredericksburg and Winchester, I felt that my entry at Timonium was a real winner, but would the judges vote for an entry which had only one last bloom and the shriveled remains of the other eight buds drooping from its branches? Yes! They went by the book and chose it.
This is a product of Coffee Whispers X Blackbeard's Daughter. It's a dramatic introduceable, and I'm looking forward to good things following from it.
Another very pleasant surprise was the appearance of a first-year seedling, 13P20, which displayed a remarkable progression of blossom form, opening to resemble an iris of many decades ago:
But, as a day passes, a later-in-time form develops:
Finally, a modern form is achieved. At the right moment, all three forms are displayed on the branches.
If this seedling prospers and blooms true to its initial performance, it will be quite interesting.