Monday, July 11, 2016

Late Stalks: Rebloom Breeding in zone 6A

By Betty Wilkerson

Welcome to my garden.  I'm in Kentucky, zone 6.  Once again, it's been a crazy, crazy spring.  We had some really nice days during the last half of winter.  Good days to clean the iris beds and get ready for spring.  This is when it started getting crazy!  I suspect it was Mother Nature in stress mode, but maybe it was just the irises acting weird.  

Just a few days into the bloom season, it looked like a lot of the early things would not bloom!  Then, stalks started to spring up, or so it seemed, on the ones that should have bloomed earlier.  Everything was out of sequence.  However, it did make rebloom crossing easier because more flowers were blooming at the same time.  

At the end of bloom season, the inevitable depression set in.  It's generally over for another year (except for rebloom). Then I noticed extra stalks showing up. There were a couple on some of the new reblooming seedlings, and one on a slightly older seedling from rebloom breeding lines!

There's one on 'Cameo Blush,' and one on 'Over and Over.' 'Silver Dividends' also put up a stalk but with only two blooms.  (No other introduced irises bloomed at this time.)

'Cameo Blush' (Weiler by Friendship 1998)

'Over & Over' (Innerst 2003)  

Two of the seedlings from 'Tara's Choice' X 'Again & Again' put up stalks. The yellow one, 2152-02re, has cycle  rebloomed in the past and is in my older reselect bed with 2 stalks up.  2152-03 is from my previous "baby" bed and was not seen before.  It wasn't great.  No, I don't always plant all of a given cross at the same time. It depends on space and time, and what I want to see, but these were pretty and several rebloomed, so I planted all of them.

One of my disappointments has been 2527, a cross with 'All Revved Up' & X 'Lunar Whitewash.' 'All Revved Up' can bloom all summer and 'Lunar Whitewash' is a good cycle rebloomer, so I'd hoped for some type of rebloom, with good form.  I got form but none have rebloomed, yet. It was a bit surprising when some of these seedlings started putting up late stalks.

2527-05 ('All Revved Up' X 'Lunar Whitewash') 

2527-01 ('All Revved Up' X 'Lunar Whitewash)

2527-05 ('All Revved Up' x 'Lunar Whitewash')

 The latest developing stalks were 2145-01 ('Pure as Gold' X 'Summer Radiance') and 2603-04, a dark one from ('Lunar Whitewash' X Romantic Evening') X 'Over and Over.' A large group of 2145-01 crosses bloomed and were photographed in the spring, while 2603-04 did not bloom in the spring and this is my first time to see it.

2145-01 ('Pure as Gold' X 'Summer Radiance')

2603-04 (('Lunar Whitewash' x 'Romantic Evening') X 'Over and Over')

With three exceptions, all of the surprise reblooming has been on my seedlings which have at least one rebloom parent. My theory, and it's just a theory, is that I should take this as a signal that, if not rebloom, they have some type of "loosy-goosy" genes that allows later bloom.  One thing for sure, they don't put up these late stalks every year. Come to me, my favored children!

You've had another peek into the strange habits of mother nature as she works in and around Bridge In Time Iris Gardens.  For further reading about reblooming irises, visit the Reblooming Iris Society site  or subscribe to "The Recorder" through the website.

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