Irises forum: A Record Year

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Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
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Australis
Dec 29, 2017 9:15 PM CST

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Brad, that is devastating - especially to lose so many at once. I am glad you had a few elsewhere so that not everything was lost, but still, it must be heartbreaking to have so much work wiped out in one go.
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The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
Name: Brad
iowa (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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ARUBA1334
Dec 29, 2017 11:25 PM CST
Thank You everyone for the kind words!! It was tough to look at hopefully will never have to go through it again the past couple years have been rough here. I got my Iris fix in Santa Cruz and Salem and I really enjoyed myself on the West Coast this year probably more then previous trips. I walked the rows a little slower and took more time to study the seedlings and put my nose in them Smiling because I knew there wasn't going to be much at home.. I think the worst of it was losing all the 2015 seedlings it's one thing to cross 2 named plants together and get something good out of someone else 's work but it's special to get 2 of your own seedlings that are unique and start to work towards a certain project, very tough to watch them grow so well and then loose so many in one season. I suppose there is a lesson in it season's like these teach us to slow down during bloom and enjoy it because none of it is guaranteed tomorrow Smiling

I did have somewhat of a back up plan and have been stashing bulbs at Dad's for years for emergency Pollen Smiling his garden always starts blooming a week or so before mine so it's awesome to be able to go to his house and pollen daub.. especially the past couple years Smiling between myself and him we ended up with about 100 pots of seedlings. Our short bloom season ran late this year and with the convention I didn't get the new seedlings in the ground until the 3rd week of June and of course typical Iowa midwest weather it turned Hot and dry Rolling my eyes. we had upper 90's and 100's through July here and nothing grows well in that heat..I couldn't keep enough water on some of them they just burned up in the heat the majority of the plants just sat there until about mid August and then they slowly took off and exploded in September.. Here is a timeline of how they grew always find it fascinating how fast some of them can grow when there happy from a seed in January and in 8 months mature with multiple increases Smiling While I always expect some winter losses they all went to sleep with no marks on the leaves and still very green a good sign Smiling and should see a lot of bloom.

My wife loves the Tropicals so our garden is full of Annuals and Bulbs that are dug and replanted every year. I was very happy with the gardens around the house things grew really well this year. I also decided to plant some of the favorite seedlings around the house the goal was to give myself the same look as the old home and keep the brand new ones close to the house for winter protection not ideal for long term but made it work this year.

There were some challenges D'Oh!

The next issue was space for the new seedlings and where to put them this year I wanted to run them all the way around both berms but after paying a small fortune to have the back yard hydro seeded I didn't want ruts from big trucks so decided on planting everything on the backside of the berms, the grade was perfect for drainage and would be easy to have dirt trucked in and dumped. The dirt went really smooth I had a guy there with a skid loader the whole time to move it and smooth it out as it got dumped worked out perfect.

The next day I ordered 2 truck loads about 30 tons of some aged compost with directions dump 2 piles on each end of the berms so It can be raked into the middle and tilled in. I got home from work and guess what they dumped both loads in one berm Crying I thought no problem will have to get a skid loader over again to move it, I called 20 different people and everyone had the same story were swamped and can't get to you for a week. Grumbling I spent the next couple weekends moving it with a shovel and learned another lesson never let anyone on to your property with loads of dirt unless you are there to watch them because they may put it in the wrong spot.

I finally was able to plant the seedlings and that night I turned the sprinklers on for hours and gave them a really good soaking.. the next morning I came out on the deck Glare and found 200 head of cattle standing in my backyard some in the berms and some in the field guess where they went Sighing! D'Oh! Grumbling The farmer behind me left his gate open and of course they found it.. Thank goodness we were home and found them when I did or we would have really had a mess, they trampled all the new seedlings, sunk 2 feet deep in the new dirt cause it was wet and added Fertilizer everywhere Smiling somehow I came out of it with very little damage besides missing seedlings that got ate or smashed but could of been so much worse. My wife made a video with her phone of me shoeing them out of the yard but the video will not load here but you can imagine the shock of finding a herd of cattle in your back yard.. My Kids said Dad only in Iowa Rolling on the floor laughing

I am a determined person but was starting to think someone is sending me a message Rolling on the floor laughing and I'm fighting a losing battle.. Here are some pictures of my mess and then how the berms turned out you can see how well things grew once the temp's came down here and we kept the animals out of there.
June 21st
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The Berms
July 1st
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Aug 6th
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Sept 20th
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Nov 12th
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The Gardens around the house growth pictures

July 12th
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Sept 20th
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Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
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evelyninthegarden
Dec 30, 2017 12:18 AM CST
Brad ~ That is amazing! What a lot of work that you put into this iris project and your tropical plants. Where do you put your tropicals in the winter? Do you have a greenhouse?
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
Dec 30, 2017 12:49 AM CST
Brad, Absolutely beautiful!!! I can't even imagine how much work it is to have to dig up the tropical plants before winter and replant them in the spring. Thank you so much for posting your pictures. I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Dec 30, 2017 12:56 AM CST
Good grief - those cows! What a story! Blinking And having to hand shovel all of that dirt?! D'Oh!

I admire your perseverance. Thankfully it sounds like you did not lose too many of those seedlings (though of course losing any after the previous losses is salt on an open wound).

I hope that they all come through the winter okay, and that there will be no more cows dancing through them!
Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
Name: Brad
iowa (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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ARUBA1334
Dec 30, 2017 12:57 AM CST
Paul.. Thank You !! glad you like some of them. The West Coast gardens I visited were all at peak bloom lot's of new patterns and beautiful new seedlings to look at.

Debra.. That Magical seedling was a real treat this year those pictures were taken at Dad's it did not bloom at home for me but was very happy to find it at his house. I only got to see 1 flower last year but this year
it put on a show Smiling

Jan.. Thanks !! I wish I had more to share..

Greg ..the shrub is pretty much as you described it with the exception of the Red Branches in Winter maybe as it matures ? I have the tree form also both grow quickly and are beautiful in May.

Barbara.. Thank You !! Which seedling do you like out of the bunch ?

Les.. It was my favorite this year when I made that cross was hoping for a pure white with all the ruffles and while it has a little violet on the falls when it 1st opens it is really nice.. and after a day it looks bright white it may end up being a BB the past couple years has been short and in that class. I liked the yellow one too from HH also looking forward to it next year Smiling hoping it will have a bigger flower. The Terra-cotta Bay seedling is very pretty but so far lacks buds..

Bonnie.. Hey Smiling Group hug I didn't want to make you sad wish I had better news about the season but it was pretty miserable here.. I only have a few that are getting close enough to do anything with my 12-12 cross those plants are diehards they seem to live through anything here, the rest are basically new seedlings all over again. I planted 1 start back from them and while some grow well it will be a while before I had enough stock to do anything commercially. I'm looking forward to sharing some of these with you as they progress.

Elsa.. Thank you for the compliments on our home it has been wonderful here Smiling was a lot of work but well worth it for peace and quiet in the country.

Rob.. I'm due for a good bloom season at home my friend

Daphne.. Sorry don't mean to dishearten it has been a rough couple years here but wanted to share what I was looking at this spring it's hard to imagine that much gone until you see a picture of it .. I'm glad you like the seedlings and Crossing Fingers! I get to see them all again in May.

Poly.. Thank You and your right it was especially tough with all those people coming wish I could of given them a show but Shrug! did the best I could with what I was left with. It sounds like the other gardens on the tour were excellent so hopefully know one left Iowa disappointed.

Pam.. If I was a farmer we would of starved this year Sad but when there grown just for enjoyment I guess all we can do is make the best out of it and try to learn so it doesn't happen again Smiling

Joshua .. A very numbing feeling walked around that field trying to find a way to fix it, it took a week or so for it to set in before I realized I Lost..next year will be better.
(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
Dec 30, 2017 1:02 AM CST
The cows! D'Oh! Dirt in the wrong spot! D'Oh! So happy to see and hear a happy ending to this story. That garden is beautiful!
Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
Dec 30, 2017 2:01 AM CST
ARUBA1334 said: Here are some pictures of favorite Seedlings from this year that bloomed got to see very little of some of them as the hail and wind broke some of them off but Thankful I still had some of my own to enjoy and work with Smiling

(Double Platinum x Pagan Knight) 13-63A
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(Just Witchery X Magical) 13-50A
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B..
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(Just Witchery X My Beloved) 13-49
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B.
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C.
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(Terracotta Bay X Raging Tide) 12-20
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(Terracotta Bay X Bejeweled) 12-17
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Brad, all of them are stunning, but the above are doubly stunning. Out of these I think I would have to pick these two. The first one would beat out the second one, but not by much!
(Just Witchery X My Beloved) 13-49
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B.
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• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Dec 30, 2017 4:35 AM CST
This first is maybe my favorite of them all, because of that bit of blue (or lavender?) in the center of the falls:

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However, for some odd reason I also keep looking at this seedling:

(Double Platinum x Pagan Knight) 13-63A
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I don't understand it, because I'm not entirely sure that I like bright bold golden yellows on irises and that is my initial response to this seedling (but then, I like 'That's All Folks' so who knows). Maybe it's the softer yellow in the standards, in combination with the bit of pink? And that orange beard, tipped violet? Nicely put together, a subtle symphony as it were, definitely an attractive iris. Thumbs up (I am a bit confused though...the second image looks different from the first, wrt the standards. Are they the same seedling? The standards on the first image look like they are pink with pale yellow edges, whereas on the second image they look yellow with white edges. The first image is the attention grabber for me, the second one not particularly.)

This one is also nice:

(Terracotta Bay X Bejeweled) 12-17
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Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Dec 30, 2017 5:46 AM CST
I think I would have stocked my freezer with fresh beef! What I wouldn't give to see that video of you chasing the cattle out of your garden. One might be able to laugh about it now, but at the time I'd bet your blood pressure was up there. I hope they didn't mess up your markers so you have a lot of unknown seedlings. But I guess a nice one that is unknown is better then a dead one that you know the parents to.
You sure are a good sport to go through all that this year, and can still be optimistic about next year's bloom. Good for you. Angel But I'm betting you aren't going to feel bad about this year coming to an end as far as gardening goes.

Those new seedlings sure did take off once the weather cooled off. I think sometimes when they look bad on top, they're putting down deep roots that help them out later.

As usual, I'd be hard pressed to pick just one favorite from the seedlings that survived. You have some really nice form going on, and I don't think I'd kick any of them out to the compost pile. Whistling
Voltaire: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,"
Name: Lilli
Lundby, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
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IrisLilli
Dec 30, 2017 7:11 AM CST
Brad! Group hug

So happy you, your family and at least some of your seedlings survived through all the hardships!
I hope 2018 will be a fantastic year for you. Crossing Fingers! Crossing Fingers! Crossing Fingers!
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
Dec 30, 2017 7:18 AM CST
When I look at those seedlings I see near perfection in form. There are probably other places to go in color patterns, bud count, branching, plant vigor etc. but how can form get any better?
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Sweden
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William
Dec 30, 2017 8:12 AM CST
Brad, I understand that growing iris on this scale must be very hard work, but it should never be this brutal. What you have achieved here under very hard circumstances is phenomenal. Creating a wonderful home and a beautiful iris garden among all the havoc and destruction, is no doubt a testimony for the deep love you must feel, both for your family and irises.

I would very much like to join in on the best wishes for you in the new year to come!


On to my top 3 among your seedlings:

(Double Platinum x Pagan Knight) 13-63A
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Wonderful warm yellow tone. Perfection for this pattern and color.

(Friendly Advice X Ride The Waves) 13-102A
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A very majestic looking flower. Every iris lover needs a few in this classic color. Your version is extremely beautiful and also - being a survivor - hopefully a very strong one.

(Terracotta Bay X Raging Tide) 12-20
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Superb tone and my favorite. Reminds me a little bit of Rhinelander (which I bought for its color), but yours is prettier. I like that it is even enough in color to look impressive from afar, yet has enough of a pattern in the falls to be really interesting up close.

Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
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grannysgarden
Dec 30, 2017 8:20 AM CST
My sentiments exactly Paul. Brad's seedlings, just judging the blooms, Lovey dubby are much lovlier and more desirable than a lot of blooms I see in iris catalogs. I can't wait til some are marketed. !!! I look at them and lean into the computer screen to see the throat or shoulders..... Or smell the fragrance. *Blush*
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
Name: Lilli
Lundby, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
Dec 30, 2017 8:41 AM CST
William said:
[...]

(Terracotta Bay X Raging Tide) 12-20
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Superb tone and my favorite. Reminds me a little bit of Rhinelander (which I bought for its color), but yours is prettier. I like that it is even enough in color to look impressive from afar, yet has enough of a pattern in the falls to be really interesting up close.



I agree This is my favorite too for the very same reasons! Lovey dubby

You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
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Deebie
Dec 30, 2017 9:45 AM CST
Brad, I'm so sorry for the bad year that you had. Group hug Group hug But impressed how you pulled through it all and just keep pressing forward. I agree That's some kind of dedication, as mentioned:

William said:Brad, I understand that growing iris on this scale must be very hard work, but it should never be this brutal. What you have achieved here under very hard circumstances is phenomenal. Creating a wonderful home and a beautiful iris garden among all the havoc and destruction, is no doubt a testimony for the deep love you must feel, both for your family and irises.


I love all of the seedlings posted, but especially the ones William mentioned.

(Double Platinum x Pagan Knight) 13-63A
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I absolutely Lovey dubby love the deep colors of the last two. Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Drooling

(Friendly Advice X Ride The Waves) 13-102A
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(Terracotta Bay X Raging Tide) 12-20
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I can't wait to see the blooms to come. nodding Best wishes for a successful gardening season in 2018.
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a semi-retired studio potter.
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janwax
Dec 30, 2017 11:09 AM CST
Brad I'm struck by all the pluses in your life! The first that comes to mind is the iris bond you have with your Dad. To hear that you had some pollen saved with him must be a relief. You're blessed to have this good parent! Second, you share a love of plants with your wife. You are blessed to have a good sharing. relationship with your mate! And lastly, (I'm sure there are many more!) you are the best darn iris photographer I've ever seen!!
I love your spirit! Happy New Year!
A garden is fundamentally a process—there is change, and sometimes it is dying, and sometimes it is hibernating,” Tom Stuart-Smith
Name: Lilli
Lundby, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
Dec 30, 2017 11:23 AM CST
I agree Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
Dec 30, 2017 12:27 PM CST
Very well said, Jan
I agree too!
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
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evelyninthegarden
Dec 30, 2017 12:35 PM CST
Brad ~ My favorites were Friendly Advice X Ride the Waves, and the pink seedling "B".

Having pollen and plants at your father's house was a very smart move. Your true good fortune is having a father that loves irises, along with the love that you share with your wife of gardening. I admire your spirit and determination in the face of adversity, and yes, the cows were the epitome of a rough year, I want to thank you for sharing your story with all of us here on the iris forum. I have been enjoying your superb photography for quite a while now, and your breeding skills are quite exceptional.

My sincere good wishes for a truly wonderful upcoming year for you and your family. Group hug
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson

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