Irises: A Gardeners Encyclopedia


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Edmonds, George H. Foster, Sir Michael - Bulbous Irises. Royal Horticultural Society, London, Turnbull, editors - Jean Stevens on Irises. New Zealand Iris Society, Godwit Press, Batsford, NZ, Timber Press, Portland OR, Grey-Wilson, C. Grosvenor, Graeme - Growing Irises. Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, N. Hardy Plant Society, Abocsha, Japan, Lawton, Barbara Perry, Magic of Irises. Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, CO, Lynch, R. Lane, London-New York, Mahan, Clarence E. Kriegar Publishing Co. British Iris Society, Mathew, Brian - The Iris. Second edition, McEwen, Currier - Siberian Irises.

Little, Brown, Boston, MA, Meckenstock, Dan H. McKee, William J.

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This wide-ranging collection illustrates the diversity of this beautiful genus and includes irises with striking foliage, reblooming capability, and scents. It features both historic and modern irises of all sizes from miniature and dwarf varieties to the stately tall beardeds. Also included is cultivation advice, information about the plants' breeding history, and ideas for combination plantings in rock gardens, containers, and perennials beds.

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An indispensable reference for iris fanciers everywhere as well as any gardener who appreciates their beauty and versatility. The broad, soft neutral brown falls are decorated with even white stripes that radiate across the entire petal. The white beards are tipped with orange. Height: 89 cm in.

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Bloom: mid to late season. Hager A gently. Some problems were immediately obvious. One such problem was alluded to above: Iris lutescens being considered a dwarf, but the very similar SDBs being considered medians. Both produced similar progeny when crossed with arils, which would sometimes be classed as ABDs and sometimes ABMs, a meaningless distinction.

Other problematic examples of this sort arise: is Iris aphylla a dwarf or median? How much dwarf ancestry has to be present for it to count? Complex breeding projects have been undertaken for smaller arilbreds and many continue today. Its descendants are farther removed from the original dwarf parent but otherwise similar.

Use of Iris aphylla and tetraploid MTBs also promises fertile arilbreds, although such work is still in its infancy. Increasing fertility in IBs in recent years means these will likely become involved in ABM breeding, with uncertain consequence. There is no way for an ancestrybased system to gracefully accommodate all of this variety in breeding, and this is a situation that will become more prevalent in the future, not less.

On the other hand, the arbitrary nature of line-drawing in a height-based system becomes more acute with the arilbreds, since there are many arilbreds with no dwarf or median ancestry that are smaller than TBs; in fact, many are shorter than 24 inches. The classification of bearded irises, of course, faces similar problems of overlap, but they are less frequent and less likely to be contentious.

I actually see some advantage in classifying the smallest ABs from TB breeding as arilbred medians, since many of these are fertile and present a new avenue for creating fertile arilbred medians, should their potential in this regard be recognized. Because 50 years or so has elapsed since the need for arilbred median categories became apparent, there have been conflicting definitions used and little consistency in how these irises have been described, promoted, and noted in registration data.

I believe that the arilbred dwarfs from SDB x aril breeding and from other crosses resulting in similar plants are sufficiently distinctive to warrant their own class. This is not the case—those classes each arise from particular types of breeding that were undertaken in the bearded irises. The types of breeding used to create arilbreds are different, and there are no actual analogs to each of the bearded classes. The upper height limit of the ABM class also needs to be set with. When studying the question of height limits, it is convenient to refer to the different types of crosses by chromosome configuration, as introduced earlier in this article.

The data is summarized in the graph below. I have binned the raw data into 2-inch bins. For some reason, hybridizers seem to strongly prefer even heights to odd heights, creating a sawtooth pattern in the data that needlessly distracts. The Y axis shows the percentage of irises of the given type that fall in each height bin. These curves cross at around 13 inches, and this seems the obvious dividing line.

There are still a number of APTs taller than this, including a curious peak around 20 inches. Finding the best dividing line between the ABM class and the remaining tall arilbreds which I shall call ABT for the sake of clarity here is a more involved task. These curves do not cross clearly at a single point but rather are quite similar throughout the 20—22 inch range. The rationale used is to minimize the probability that an iris will be placed in a class that is counterintuitive with respect to its chromosome configuration.

The table below shows how the rate of misplacement changes with the height limit chosen. If the boundary is set either between 22 inches and 23 inches or between 23 inches and 24 inches the. At These percentages are reversed at In a height-based system, they are not wrongly classified, they are just classified in the appropriate height class. Three factors.

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This inconsistency introduced a small bias toward a lower height limit. In particular, the median height of APTT irises has increased slightly. In contrast, it seemed worthwhile to extend the ABD category into this realm, as a few have been produced in this range that are three-quarters aril and one-quarter I. The diagram below shows how the bearded irises and arilbreds can be sorted based on height and aril content. The result of all this philosophical rumination and painstaking data analysis is the following proposed definitions:.

Many of these irises are small in height, not because of their bearded ancestry, but because the aril irises themselves tend to be small in stature, and these arilbreds are mostly aril.


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It would be a mistake to place them in the ABM category when their affinity is more with the pure arils, both in ancestry and in garden effect, than it is with the medians. Therefore, the ABM category is best limited to irises of one-half aril complement or less. The terminology defined above makes this explicit. It is my conviction that these definitions, although not without some drawbacks, represent the best possible solution to the problem of classifying the.

They are based on a clear line of reasoning and factual data about the plants themselves. The ASI has included them in its proposed revision to the aril and arilbred chapter of the AIS Judges Handbook, not as official categories for registration and awards, but as useful terminology for understanding the types and variations of arilbred irises. It is hoped that hybridizers, commercial growers, and the public will also find these definitions helpful and embrace their use. It is important that we come to a common terminology. This article is intended to explain the rationale and honestly present both its virtues and its shortcomings.

Although I believe a height-based system is best suited to cope with the present realities and potential future developments of the smaller arilbreds, I appreciate that it will present some initial discomfort for those accustomed to thinking in terms of parentage alone. I draw attention back to the classification system for median irises, which can produce similar discomfort.

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We should also remember that the gardening public cannot be expected to care about parentage or the technicalities of hybridizing. Rather, their need is for terms that reflect the differences one actually sees in living plants in the garden. I encourage everyone interested in these irises to avail themselves of the Checklist of Arilbred Dwarfs and Medians, which I maintain and make available on my website. This is an important resource for understanding how these definitions are applied in practice to specific irises. The scope of that work is intentionally wide; it includes not only irises that meet the proposed definitions above, but all arilbreds with dwarf or median ancestry, and even irises with aril ancestry that were registered in the dwarf or median classes rather than as arilbreds.

Although no change to the official classification system for arilbreds is proposed at this time, it is hoped that the promotion of a uniform terminology for discussing the smaller arilbreds will result in an enhanced appreciation of their distinctive qualities and promote a wider recognition of their value and potential as garden subjects. Aril Society, Registrations and Introductions, American Iris Society, annually through Let the editor know what is on your mind.


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Can you write about irises? Do you have pictures you can send us? This is your chance to be published!

How to Grow Irises | Gardener's Supply

Choose a topic that interests you, and grab a pen, PC, or laptop. Send it to the editor and you may be reading YOUR article in the next issue. Cleaning more than irises for the sale is a lot of work—but many hands do make light work. Plus, this is a good time for gossiping. Members work on the Big Dig about six hours each day. Lunch is provided and in the past this included home-grilled hamburgers, purchased pizza, and pot luck.

Irises: A Gardeners Encyclopedia Irises: A Gardeners Encyclopedia
Irises: A Gardeners Encyclopedia Irises: A Gardeners Encyclopedia
Irises: A Gardeners Encyclopedia Irises: A Gardeners Encyclopedia
Irises: A Gardeners Encyclopedia Irises: A Gardeners Encyclopedia
Irises: A Gardeners Encyclopedia Irises: A Gardeners Encyclopedia

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