In 1996, I did my first hybridizing. Choosing iris plants that I felt were durable, well branched, and had blooms of substance and beauty I made my first crosses. By the late fall of '96 I planted 35 seeds in good quality potting soil in two wooden window boxes facing north. Germination and growth followed from spring to the fall of 1997 Several applications of half-strength fertilizer were made and shade cloth was used through the summer.
On July 4th of '98, the young irises were planted in rows in an amended clay soil. Our summer monsoon coupled with regular irrigation resulted in no losses. Spring bloom of '99 was gratifying, especially with crosses of Inaugural Ball and Skating Party. These were very vigorous plants with the earliest blooms.
The next year, 2000, eighty percent bloomed. That year a well-branched yellow with purple beards and a lacy pink were favorites; the pink being awarded best seedling in our local iris show. Despite our hot desert conditions these plants increased impressively and 90% bloomed in 2001. Transplanting divisions will take place this fall.
Reports from friends who were kind enough to grow some of my stock since the fall of 1999, are favorable. Registering and introducing these "iris children" is in the not too distant future. My cross of the arilbred, Esther the Queen and the TB, Shoot the Moon, did not produce satisfactory plants. Next year I will try arilbred, Kiosk, with TB, Codicil, and several others to satisfy my curiosity.
To see Melania's seedling pictures click here.