Monday, December 21, 2015

Working With Selfs-Reblooming Iris Program-Ky Zone 6

by Betty Wilkerson

Once again I've found an article to wrap around 'Summer Radiance.'  I'll never forget the first time I saw it bloom.  I was coming home from a Region 7 spring meeting.  The first stalk of what was to become 'Summer Radiance' was showing lots of bright yellow when I left for the meeting.  When I arrived back home, I dropped my suitcase on the back path and tore off down the hill to the bed by the pond.  I was thrilled with the blooms and have found more things to love about it in the 20 years since its introduction!

I was just as thrilled six weeks later when it put up a summer stalk.  That sealed its fate!  It would be with me forever! Twenty years after its introduction, I'm still using it in breeding.  I've done the research and know it does not produce plicatas.  A part of that research was growing nearly 200 seedlings from 'Summer Radiance' X 'All Revved Up.' Not a plicata in the bunch. This makes me happy, since I'm not fond of haft marks.

When breeding with pastels, this is one of my top contenders.  I can also use it when I want to inject some yellow into another line, with full understanding that I may get all kinds of rebloom, too.  I still want to turn the beard red, but I haven't decided what to use it with, yet.  'Summer Radiance' is from 'Lemon Reflection' X 'Hindenburg,' so it's only one step away from a red beard.  I would already have some results of breeding for red beards,  but I lost all of the seedlings from 2013. Maybe next spring.    

As 'Summer Radiance' grew in other climates, we discovered that it can fall or cycle bloom. It bloomed here in early July as repeat bloom.  Then, it bloomed early fall further north.  In Virginia, Mike Lockatell reports that it reblooms often and well, which is simply proof that you should never give up on a reblooming iris.  

When crossed with 'Radiant Bliss,' it gave 'Summer Honey' which can bloom from spring through fall frost. So, all told, 'Summer Radiance' is a pretty special reblooming iris.  It has probably taught me more about rebloom than any of my other seedlings.  

Hope your new year is filled with many gorgeous iris blooms.  Merry Christmas to all.  To all good iris dreams!

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