Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cross-Pollinated Iris Update

I was asked about how well my cross-pollinated Iris were doing. In 2011 I had finally successfully cross-pollinated a purple iris with a black iris, and vice versa. Tons of them germinated in January of 2012 during the mild winter, a lot more than I ever expected because I was told that it's very difficult to get them to germinate.

For a quick refresher on what the parents looked like; Purple on left, Black on right. I know it doesn't look anything black but that's the name that was told to me - probably because when the flowers are emerging, they appear very black before it opens.

The bed above contains "Purple Mom / Black Dad" iris. Very bad angle, I know. I found that the seedlings from this batch of seeds grew very big. A good number of them have started setting off new rhizomes.

This batch above, outlined with black border, is the "Black Mom / Purple Dad" batch. The seedlings from this batch are much smaller and I'm not sure they're being as prolific with rhizomes.

It sort of surprises me on how genetics play a part. The black iris is very quick to grow new rhizomes and bloom a lot. The purple iris seems to be very slow in wanting to grow new rhizomes and don't bloom as often. So it seems the fathers are influencing the seedlings very much...

There's no flowers yet. Last year I reached out to a guy who crossed irises and he warned me that if any pops up this spring, not to get attached to the flower as it meant that it focused on developing a bloom instead of forming new rhizomes. He did warn me that there will be blooms, though.

Anything's possible. Ever since the seedlings popped up last year, they've been growing since. The 2012/2013 winter was not cold enough to kill them down so they're still going ever since they popped up.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Winter's here and still lingering!

It's funny. We barely had winter during winter, and now winter is clinging after spring arrived. What's up with that?
03/26/13 - Koda by the birdbath

The greenhouse looks pretty sad, I know. We're expecting a week of really cold temperatures at night. It's quite odd. The lows are like 37, 38, 35? But when I wake up in the morning, everything's frosted over and water has frozen to ice. We didn't bother with putting the plastic on the greenhouse this winter because we barely had freezes - but it seems spring is a little odd this year. The heater has been turned on for a total of 5 times thus far? Also, the annoying thing is that a little bird moved in so I had to leave a little hole at the top for the bird to fly in and out. The tarps are temporary and I usually open it up for the sun before closing it up for the night when temps drop low again.

Also, before I forget - I believe I may have roses growing from a discarded bouquet. My father bought my mother a valentine's day bouquet and after she finished enjoying the flowers, she tossed them over the porch. I gathered the roses and stuck them in a neat little row in my bed. I totally forgot about them until it was pointed out to me that some of them were growing. Totally surprised me because I figured that after a few freezes since then, that the roses must be long gone. I'm trying to ignore the roses, except to water them here and there, because I don't want to invest any 'emotions' into them. I hate it when something shows a little sign of life and I get excited and then it keels over. It looks like three or four of them have shown signs of life.

I can not teach Koda to stay off the beds. It was fine at first because I figure once everything grows in, he won't be able to run up and down the beds. Then he resorted to digging holes in a couple of the beds so I had to slap up a bunch of fences to keep him off them. Ugh.

I miss when winter used to be winter. When winter came around, everything died down. Then when spring was coming, all you had to do was rake junk off the beds to make everything look fresh again. Instead it's just chilly with a frost once in a blue moon. The weeds are frost resistant (some with thorns!) and the amaryllis - the poor amaryllis - keep trying to grow. This spring, they've been stung down by the frost over and over. They're going to look pitiful once warm temperatures are on the way. I already lost one flower bud that was coming up. I just worry that some of my seed-grown bulbs might have a maiden bloom trying to come up and that the frost destroyed it.