Monday, April 30, 2018

Quest for Pink I. ensata


by Chad Harris

The quest for a strong pink Iris ensata has been a breeding goal for many modern hybridizers. The Iris ensata pink is a pastel violet as there are only three colors found with this iris to work with; violet-blue, violet-red, and Alba (white). This color is most notable in the iris garden when compared to a true pink rose seen side by side with the iris.


Many problems with this color line are plaguing us due to previous breeding’s in Japan; most evident is from the Ise line. This line of breeding has given us good clear pastel pink tones. However, the plants were bred to be shorter with their blooms lower than the foliage height. The flower form of the Ise style also is problematic with drooping falls found normally with very little substance.

A row of seedlings all blooming down in the foliage

 
A more modern hybridizer of Japan that worked with pinks gave us some bright colored flowers with substance. However his selection of plants has given us a stumbling block of poor plant performance, by purposely selecting weaker plants. As there were no records kept, no one knows why he did this.

Many hybridizers in the United States have recently introduced clearer pinks with strong growth habits, displaying the blooms above the foliage. I regret not showing photos of these at this time as they are still in the American Iris Society’s award system.

The following are some older pink iris’ that can be readily found on the open market for your garden.  Many are the same that I started with in my own breeding program over thirty-five years ago with a quest for pink. Which is your favorite?

 'Coho' (Harris 2005)

 'Dirigo Pink Milestone' (White 2000)

 'Geishunka' (Mitsuda Reg. by SJI 1995)

 'Hime Kagami' (Hirao 1976)

 'Honour' (McEwen 2001)

 'Joy Peters' (Ackerman1990)

'Joy Peters' (Ackerman1990)

'Pink Dimity' (Reid 1987)

 'Pinkerton' (Bauer-Coble 1999)

 'Reisyun' (Shimizu 1996)

 'Saigyozakura' (Mitsuda 1986)

Satozakura (Kamo 1993)

All images by Chad Harris

1 comment:

  1. I like Coho and Joy Peters the best, but I also love the super fluffy ones.

    ReplyDelete

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