Welcome to MariposaIris.com

Satisfaction Guarantee .... If you are not satisfied, just say so.  I'll refund, replace or let you select another introduction .... no questions. 

1. A single offer is 2 rhizomes of the same introduction for $55  (You can't mix and match)

2. You can order as many different introductions as you like, but I must limit customers to a single offer (2 rhizomes) of any one introduction.    (I’m a one-man garden)

3. Direct e-mail: grapeorbit@sti.net

5-13-2018 Regional results held May 11-13 for our iris.  Thank you judges!

Best seedling entry in the flower show: #0601   Best in-region TB: BABY DUCK, 3rd place JELLY BEAN PARADE

Best guest garden seedling: 2nd place #0535 (Mega), 3rd #0577.  Best 2018 intro: 2nd FLORENCE MY PET FLAMINGO, 3rd GLADIATORS GET OUCHIES

5-16-2018 Evidently a lot of iris dealers run out of stock during the ordering season. Consequently, I get a lot of inquires as to availability. My answer is always the same. All of my website offerings are still in stock and are expected to remain that way right up until the season cut-off day.

Last day to order iris from Mariposa Iris is August 1,2018.

5-4-2018 Event Update:

May 11 - 13 Region 14 Spring Trek. I have one of the two guest gardens for those that have registered for this event. The bloom will be somewhat ahead of peak bloom. 

Sunday May 20 from 11 A.M - 4 P.M. Annual iris Fundraiser! I’ve been holding this much-anticipated event since 2000 …. 18 years !

3-7-2018 My 3-page article, “Two Hybridizing Advancements: One Intentional, One Accidental” was published in the Winter 2018 issue of Irises …. Pages 16-18.

My hope is that hybridizers will utilize these two discoveries in their own gardens. The result should be more pods set on the more difficult plants. And the final result of that will be to advance the kingdom of iris with flowers that otherwise would not have been created.

2-8-2018   I have been a bit slow this year, but my two new introductions are finally up on my website. FLORENCE MY PET FLAMINGO and GLADIATORS GET OUCHIES are wonderful flowers. These two bring breeding advancements to the kingdom of iris. And, as you would guess, both have very interesting stories to help explain their unusual names.

12-2-2017 Two nice trophies arrived in the mail today. Thank you region 14!

Cotillion Bowl for 2017: Best 2017 Intro by a R14 Hybridizer … TROPICAL FRUIT SALAD

Knopf Cup for 2017: Best Seedling: #0540 (will be introduced in 2018 as FLORENCE MY PET FLAMINGO)

11-4-2017   If you purchased iris during our annual fundraiser, pick-up week is Tuesday November 7th through Saturday, November 11th. Our hours are 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.

The gardens will also be open so bring your gardening questions and a friend.

8-17-2017 It’s mid-summer in California and we are approximately in the middle of what I call “dust season”. Being from the mid-west (Toledo, Ohio area), my biggest complaint “out here” is the length of “dust season” …. it’s too darn long!

But the bight side of this is that a well established clump of iris DON’T CARE. Iris are EXTREMELY drought tolerant …. far more than the average Irisarians believes. It normally doesn’t rain for 6 months at my location and I virtually never water established clumps. They don’t care. Without water, they just go into a natural summer dormancy. 

7-23-2017   There was a recent, major fire event in the Mariposa area that got national attention. The fire was confined to the south and west portions of the county, while I live on the opposite side of the county. So, MARIPOSA IRIS was relatively un-affected. We did however, receive many positive and appreciated comments from our iris friends. Thanks.

I supervised prisoner firefighting hand crews for 25 years.  So I am very aware of how to fireproof my surroundings ….. which I have done.  If you hear the two key words …. MARIPOSA and FIRE …. in the future, you can be pretty sure that I’ll be just fine.

Superstition Iris Gardens is located close to the southern fire perimeter, but they were also un-affected. Their property is also quite fire safe compared to the average Mariposa address.

7-17-2017 Yes, you are correct. It’s been too long since I have added any new discussion to my web site. I’ll do something fairly quickly. (The Iowa Convention was great fun!)

In the mean time, let me only announce that the last day to order iris is 8-15-2017.

5-23-2017 Both the Annual Iris Fundraiser and Judges Training were big successes this year. Over the 2 day period there were perhaps 200 happy people for both events. The bloom was right at peak.

Now I’m off to Iowa to attend the National Convention to rub elbows with Irisarians from all over the country …. and a few from other countries as well!

5-5-2017  Yes! The annual fundraiser will be Sunday May 21st from 11am to 4pm.  See you then!

4-29-2017 While not yet official, my iris field is telling me that our HIGHLY POPULAR iris fundraiser will most likely be held Sunday May 21st. When the date is set in stone, I will let you know right here.

Also, we are hosting a Region 14 judges training on Saturday May 20th at noon.

4-28-2017 My wife and I just returned from the Region 14 Spring Meeting where we were awarded two firsts and a second place out of 160 iris submitted.

1. TROPICAL FRUIT SALAD …. best 2017 introduction by a Region 14 hybridizer

2. #0540 …… best seedling by a Region 14 hybridizer …. (2018 intro?)

3. JELLY BEAN PARADE …. Second best introduction prior to 2017 by a Region 14 hybridizer.

Many thanks to the judges!!

2-27-2017  At the moment, I have to keep reminding myself that the iris don’t care. As I sit here today, in the middle of a late February afternoon, it’s 30 degrees and dumping snow. We are experiencing a very long, cold, & extremely-wet winter.

But for the serious hybridizer, there is a silver lining to the bad weather …. it sorts out the strong from the weak in the seedling beds. So I find it more correct to say: the good iris don’t care

A good iris will put on a great show …. regardless of the winter weather and I'm thankful for it! 

1-29-2017  In case you didn’t notice, my two new 2017 introductions are now on the web page. TROPICAL FRUIT SALAD and ZEBRA BUTTER are exciting flowers that easily meet my rigid criteria of being 20% Better or 20% Different. Yes, both are also Good Growers and both have a high degree of Curb Appeal.

As usual, there is considerable text for each intro. I always attempt to tell the Irisarians every detail that there is to know about the flower to help take the “guesswork” out of selection. From the numerous comments that I hear, people love the text and love the names that I use. Is there anything else that you like that I do???

10-31-2016 Announcing IRIS PICK-UP WEEK!  If you bought iris during the Spring Fundraiser …. It’s almost time to come and pick up your new iris children.

PICK-UP WEEK starts Monday Nov. 7th and ends Friday Nov. 11th.   Hours are 10AM - 5PM.

10-13-2016   Whenever I see a competitor to any of my proposed introduction seedlings, I always do an extremely careful and intense evaluation to determine WHICH FLOWER is the better.... and by how much. While doing the evaluation, I’m perfectly honest with myself about my own seedlings.   If the other flower is better, I’ll say so, congratulate the hybridizer and then discard or archive my own flower.   I have done this with a few of my re-selects, but so far .... I’ve yet to see any of my own introductions get displaced by a recent and better introduction by another hybridizer ….(which is bound to happen sooner or later.)

Another way of saying this is that I have never introduced a flower that I now regret introducing.

8-17-2016   Digging, dividing and re-planting time is when our industry separates the men from the boys and the dreamers from the realists.  This is when you find out who the “real” iris growers are.  

Almost anyone can entertain visions of becoming an iris grower in the middle of spring bloom season.   But the real work, …. the serious heavy-lifting …..is done in the depth of summer.   This is when your shovel bounces off the bone dry ground, sweat starts to flow into your eyes at 9 a.m. and that “big clump” of one of your favorite iris, is no longer an asset …. but a huge liability.

Spring is enjoyment-season. Summer is work-season. Are you up to it?

7-29-2016 Time to start re-planting my stock so that it will be well sized-up for next year. Can’t have too many operations going on at once. So, the last day to order for 2016 is August 15th. (Yes, I still have everything in stock.)

6-23-2016   It’s time to start thinking about finalizing your iris purchases for this year. “Digging Season” is very soon to come.

6-12-2016 The last time we experienced mail theft was about 10 years ago. Well, everyone in our neighborhood experienced mail theft on June 10th and 11th.

If anyone happened to send in an order in this timeframe, know that I always acknowledge iris orders in one or two days by e-mail (if have your address) or by using conventional mail. So, if you don’t hear from me, I didn’t get it.  Sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused.

6-2-2016 It was a very exciting and splendid year in the new seedling patch! There were many new patterns, colors and color combinations to be seen. Several of the seedlings were more beautiful and interesting than anything that I could imagine.

Where to from here? In the first year, you look for everything that you LIKE about the seedling. In subsequent years, you look for everything that you DON‘T LIKE.

The serious “evaluation period” now starts as I look for the inferior qualities that were minimized in selecting the maiden seedling. If the past is a guide, many won’t make it to the final finish line. But those that do will be deserving of eventual introduction as yet another Iris From The Future.

5-9-2016 We had a very large turnout for both the Judges Training and the Iris Fundraiser. With the flowers in peak bloom, there were smiles and flowers everywhere in abundance. Thank you to everyone that came and especially my garden volunteers.

5-6-2016 The weather is plenty good enough and the bloom is spectacular. So YES on the May 7th Judges Training. And YES on the Iris Fundraiser May 8th.

4-1-2016  Hey! The day that several have been anxiously waiting for has finally arrived. As of today, all of my introductions are now available for ordering including TIJUANA TAXI and WHY COWS GOSSIP  (Why do they gossip?)  Click on the flower and then read the text.

3-14-2016 The weather has been good and my iris are now sending up plenty of increase. Consequently, the SOLD OUT signs will be removed from TIJUANA TAXI and WHY COWS GOSSIP on April 1,2016 (a little more than two weeks from now.)

There has been a great deal of interest in these two stellar Iris From The Future. They were the two big, TB, Out Of Region winners at Portland last year and each deservingly got several mentions in our fall and winter Irises Bulletin.

3-2-2016  NOW IS THE TIME …. To pull back mulch, weed and fertilize your iris. (Actually it’s a little on the “late” side for the warmer climatic zones.) I create a 6 or 8 inch wide “no mans land” around each plant. The trick is to do the above just a little BEFORE the new, tender spring growth (increase) begins to emerge. This new growth is what will develop into your bloom stalks and increase. So you need to be extra careful not to injure these particular, tender parts of the plant.

Doing the above in February-March when cold, frosts and snow are still yet to come, will seem way too early. Well, it’s not! And that is from the voice of experience.

1-21-2016   It’s done!   My website has recently been updated for 2016.   I will be offering two remarkable TB’s this year.   BIG HAT NO COWS (improved Edith Wolford colors) and BABY DUCK (second best seedling at Portland).

I had expected to introduce a third iris TB.  Everything about it seemed to be a go, but then it failed it's final test.  An extremely colorful flower, #0467 performed below my expectations in the Portland convention gardens. Too bad, I even had a special name reserved. But then again, my commitment to quality won out …. as it should! 

Sales for TUJUANA TAXI and WHY COWS GOSSIP will resume on 4-1-2016.   Everything else can be ordered at any time.  

12-22-2015   Our 4 years of EXTREME drought my have ended with a 4 inch rainfall received yesterday. Sure hope so. What have I learned? 

During the rain-sparse winter of 2014-2015, the moisture level never penetrated any deeper than about 6 inches.  Below that, it was dust!  The only iris that I watered for the past 4 years of drought were new seedlings.   Established clumps of all categories of bearded iris were NEVER watered.  Yet the only negative that I noticed was somewhat smaller rhizomes and fewer “takes” while hybridizing.

What was done to preserve moisture?  Two things.   Established iris clumps are heavily mulched right up to base of the plants except when it is pulled back from February to late May …. the rot prone period.   Second, I keep the iris field free of moisture robbing weeds.  Conclusion?  I’m quite sure that iris are FAR more drought tolerant than almost everyone currently believes! 

11-13-2015   The two important numbers for this year are 131 and 1711. 

131 is the number of different, successful crosses that I ended up with this year. Heaven knows how many I actually attempted, but didn’t “take”. I doubt if one-in-four of my attempts results in seed. But then again, I always attempt wide, wild crosses that are more prone to failure because I’m only looking for flowers that are representative of Iris From The Future. It took the better part of two days to plant the 2015 seed and left-over seed from 2014 when germination did not succeed. The percent that actually make it through germination is always a coin toss.

1711 is the number of different crosses that have produced seed over the years. The number is actually larger, but I didn’t keep records from the earliest years. I’m extremely critical, so the result of all this work will only result in two TB intro’s for 2016. Both are outstanding!  You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a princess or two.  Because of my love for iris, I never find myself growing weary of the hybridizing challenge. 

9-18-2015  I contend that there are 3 classifications of gardeners, and 2 of them are un-happy. 

The first classification is the beginner. They have discovered gardening but are un-happy because they still don’t have “enough”. The second classification has the perfect balance between space for their plants and time to take care of them. They have reached “the happy medium.” The third classification has over-expanded to a point of now having too much to do and not enough time to do it. The way that most people cope with this it to just give up. But that doesn’t have to be the outcome.

The solution? DOWNSIZE or as my wife prefers, RIGHTSIZE until your garden is once again both manageable and fun.

8-26-2015  As a recent attendee and contributing hybridizer to the latest AIS convention held in Portland, I think I can make a couple of observations. 

It’s very obvious that it takes a well-organized army of competent people to put on one of these stellar events. At every turn and everywhere you look, there seems to be someone performing an official function or attending to some important detail that contributes to the overall success of the event.

Actually if the truth be told, I think that the hybridizers are a bit too overrated at these events while “the silent army” is vastly underrated and under appreciated …. But not by me. It’s not possible to individually thank everyone of you for your contributions. So, I too-simple “THANK YOU” from myself will have to do.

8-1-2015 LAST CALL! It’s still not too late to order. Orders will be accepted until August 15th.   NO WAITING. Orders will be immediately shipped.

7-26-2015 They’re reblooming, but why? Perhaps 10% of my iris started blooming 3 weeks earlier than normal, and just kept on blooming and blooming! None of the “peculiar ones” are listed as RE, nor have they done this in the past.

Two possibilities come to mind. We have been in EXTREME drought. So soil moisture could be a factor. Second, even though I live in Zone 7, we did not have a winter. Aside from 2 days last November and two days in March, it was a “shirtsleeve” non-winter.

My hunch is that the non-winter was responsible for the unusual, much-extended bloom cycle. I think it would be a mistake to think that this group are RE.  If you experienced something similar, this was a false RE signal and should just be ignored.

6-18-2015 Our Portland results: Best “Out of Region”, SWANS IN FLIGHT, Siberian, 68 votes. First runner up, our TIJUANA TAXI, TB, 61 votes

Tie for second runner up: GOLDEN SNITCH TB and our WHY COWS GOSSIP TB

Best Seedling: First, ROYSTON RUBIES TB 36 votes. Second place, tie, w/22 votes each, RUBICON Species X & our yellow & orange, line & speckle seedling #0439 (Which will be named and introduced in 2016).  We were tickled to have 3 in this elite group.

6-19-2015 Website “Contact” link has now been repaired! For some unknown reason, the “Contact” function had ceased to work on my website. My Webmaster has repaired the problem, so once again, feel free to contact me with your iris concerns.

What are a couple of things that you liked the most about the recent Portland AIS Convention? What were some of your bigger surprises?

5-25-2015 Sold Out: TIJUANA TAXI and WHY COWS GOSSIP. These two were overwhelmingly popular and officially recognized at the 2015 Portland Iris Convention. Like flashlight sales after a major weather disaster, the unanticipated level of demand quickly outstripped supply.

What then is the most prudent thing to do? Promptly put up the “Sold Out” sign so that in 2016, I will have a multiple of today’s stock. And in so doing, will have fewer disappointed Irisarians in the end. As of today, I still have a substantial supply of my remaining 18 introductions.

2016 sales for TUJUANA TAXI and WHY COWS GOSSIP will resume on 4-1-2016. This is the best and fairest thing that I know to do.

This episode has been a bit like the high school boy that is first tied up and then passionately kissed by 20 beautiful women …. a truly elating experience …. but not a situation that he can do very much about.

5-24-2015  If I heard the award announcements correctly at the recent American Iris Society national convention, this was the result of the voting for the Franklin Cook Memorial Cup for best “Out Of Region” flower. Our iris, TIJUANA TAXI tied for 2nd place. And, WHY COWS GOSSIP tied for 3rd place for the same award.

Additionally, our yellow-orange blended flower, #0439 was voted 2nd runner up for the Lloyd Zurbrigg -- Clarence Mahn Award for “Best Seedling“. I had only sent this seedling to 3 of the 6 guest gardens so you have to wonder what might have happened if 2 more rhizomes had been put into play.

For this and similar events, it’s important to remember that many high-quality iris may have peak-bloomed a few days before or after the scheduled event.

Several hundred iris had been entered, so this was like winning the lottery 3 times in the space of a couple of days! Thanks to everyone that voted for our beautiful flowers.

4-28-2015  The fundraiser was a huge success!  The garden was filled with happy visitors (and iris shoppers) all day long. 

4-25-2015 2:30 PM  Yes, the fundraiser is still on   ,,,, expecting nice weather on Sunday the 26th

3-26-2015 Iris Crash Dummies? I only want to introduce the very best iris possible. Therefore I am constantly thinking up new ways to evaluate and test my seedlings.

Since I don’t get the intense spring rains and thunderstorms that others get, I came up with what I call my “Rainbird“ or “Crash Dummy” test. To simulate a severe thunderstorm, I run a rainbird all night long on my re-select beds. A few stalks will always fall over, but if too many stalks are on the ground from a prospective cultivar, those Crash Dummies are rejected as introductions.... no matter how pretty or otherwise perfect the flower.

I came up with this test after visiting a big Oregon field in 2013. There, I noticed that several introduced varieties had 100% of their stalks on the ground after only a moderate rain. Under reasonable growing conditions, people shouldn’t have to stake their flowers to keep them off the ground.

2-17-2015 Well the new children have finally been released: PHASERS ON STUN, QUEEN OF EVERYTHING and WHY COWS GOSSIP. Along with the great pictures of these 3 TB’s are the usual interesting write-ups on each flower. Among other things, you can find out the story behind the name for …. WHY COWS GOSSIP.

It’s fun writing the stories. I hope you enjoy them. If you do, don’t just sit there, send me a comment!

Along with the 3 new intro’s is a bit of good news for you. All of my iris are now priced the same … $55 for two rhizomes of the same variety. And I remain the only one in the business to offer a full satisfaction guarantee. How about that? See you in Portland.

12-11-2014  The promise of the future is now in the ground. This year, I planted seed from about 200 crosses. Thanksgiving is the usual time when the 4“pots are planted using commercial potting soil. Because of my cold wet winters, I don’t have to “soak” or “chill” the seed …. Nature does it for me. 

Would you rather look at 10 seedlings from 10 different crosses or 100 seeds from only 1 cross? If it took you a long time to answer that question, we need to have a long talk. 

One of my tricks is to only plant a maximum of 16 seeds of any one cross. With other hybridizers, I have seen more than 200 “children” from the same cross, and not a single one of them was worth a second look. I figure that if the cross is good, the odds are that I’ll see the evidence in the first 16 children. From my experience, planting a ton of seed from the same cross is a waste of time, energy and garden space. 

What if I get something special among the 16? I simply go back to the original seed envelope and plant more at the next Thanksgiving!

8-11-2014  If you want to discover something brand new to mankind, you can:

#1  Go to the moon ….. Bring back a different type of moon rock and put it on display.

#2  Take a trip to the bottom of the ocean ….. Observe and photograph a life form that no one has previously seen.

#3   Breed an iris ….Since no two offspring are identical…everything you produce will be A NEW CREATION to the world. How cool is that?

Hint:  For those of you that don't like to fly or can't hold your breath, #3 is your best choice!

7-2-2014 Well, how does iris breeding season pan-out when you get almost no rain and unusually high bloom-season temps?  I'm currently mid-way in the "pod-harvest" and "pod count" of down considerably from years past.

So the bad news is that there will be less seed to plant his November. But the GOOD NEWS is that I got almost all of the important crosses to "take" that I really wanted! Yippee! I’m happy …. And will have a little less work come Fall.

5-22-2014   A milestone in iris history may have been made today.  I have concluded that the single best way to extend the iris bloom season is to put more buds on a stalk …. especially when the extra buds are added to a single location.  A triple socketed bud will usually last 3 time longer than 3 single buds in 3 different locations.

For the past few years, I have been observing and line-breeding to seedlings that have given me quadruple socketed buds in the hope of getting a reasonably reliable quadruple budded introduction.  Most generally, a quadruple bud will occur in the Terminal position at the top of the stalk.  But, more recently, I have been getting a few with quads on side branches as well.

Well today, I got my first QUINTUPLE socketed bud. That’s right …. 5 buds at the same position on the stalk . I’ve never seen or heard of a this before!   And oh yes, all 5 buds open sequentially …. one-at-a-time over a very long period of time.  Since this is a first year seedling, it’s too early to tell if there will be a repeat performance. Stay tuned.

5-12-2014 Our annual fundraised was a great success!  Many thanks to every one that attended this year.

4-28-2014  The weather looks excellent for the May 4th fundraiser.  Come and have a splendid day!

4-20-2014  My annual Iris Fundraiser has been set for Sunday May 4th at 11 AM to 4 pm,  See you then!

4-13-2014  A year never goes by where I don’t learn something.  Last year was no different.

My favorite weeding tool in the iris patch is what I would describe as an "Australian Steak Knife."   It is nothing more than a wide-bladed, serrated-edge, stainless steel knife that was sold at most Dollar Stores.  The knife works especially well in and around the iris rhizomes where tools like a hoe are just to big and destructive.

Anyhow, what I learned last year is that it’s just not a good idea to try to duck-under a livestock “hot wire” with one of these metal knives sticking up out of your back pocket like a TV antenna.   I’m sure that you get the picture and understand the problem that this can cause.

2-9-2014 Announcement!!!!   Effective January 1, 2014, I will now be sending two rhizomes of each introduction for the price of the single rhizome. (Single rhizomes can’t be ordered for a reduced price.)   I'm finding that the majority of my customers are Seniors. With double the rhizome count:

1. The odds of a first year bloom go way up

2. A clump will establish twice as fast

3. Customers can "team up" with other aficionado's and effective cut the price in half

4. Should a rhizome perish, you will already have a back-up

1-21-2014  For the hybridizer, most breeding goals are attained by either making a single cross of two key parents OR by making a series of crosses (SOC). 

In the case of SOC, selecting which seedlings to save and then incorporate in a breeding program is a bit like trying to cross a shallow stream by walking on the tops of the exposed rocks. You want to get to the other side (your hybridizing goal) by taking as few steps as possible …. While avoiding the missteps. Fewer steps naturally means less wasted time and effort.

How do you know which are the best steps to take? Herein lies the mystery! Why? Because there are no clear-cut answers. The solution lies somewhere between the cosmic boundaries of HARD SCIENCE on the left and the SPIRITUAL REALM on the right. Like the pioneering journey across virgin North America by Lewis & Clark; you just take the first step and at some point thereafter, you’ll know when you finally get there!

12-1-2013  What would you guess is significant about the number 1,465 for me? It’s a pretty big number. If you counted one number at a time, it would take quite a long while to get there.

If you were an iris breeder and only kept track of the successful crosses that you grew and evaluated….. that process would also take a very long time.

So you’ve guessed it. 1,465 is currently the number of successful crosses that I’ve made and evaluated since the year 2000. Just for the record, I actually made my first cross in 1996, but, like most beginners, I didn’t keep official records for the first 4 years.

11-9-2013  For the hybridizer, you would think that just IDENTIFYING “the next promising flower ” among the many ho-hum seedlings that he sees, is the holy grail to fame and fortune.  Not so fast! In my experience, another factor is of even greater importance and has to do with SELECTION.

I somewhat modified this statement by Phil Williams in the Fall 2012 issue of Tall Talk.  “Selecting which seedlings to save as possible breeders and which to save for possible introductions is one of the great “secrets” to success as a hybridizer.”

From personal experience, it’s actually a much easier task to IDENTIFY “the next promising flower” than to SELECT the really special ones to keep for either breeding or actual introduction purposes.  Almost anyone can pick out the prettiest new face from a group of a dozen seedlings……even a novice!  But selecting which of the chosen group to incorporate in a breeding program or to finally introduce, is where the multiple determinations of the individual hybridizer really comes into play.  I can assure you that at Mariposa Iris, I both anguish and delight over this highly important task.

10-6-2013  For the serious iris grower or breeder, there is ALWAYS something to do in your world of iris.  If you ever think that your have finally “caught up”, you just haven’t looked hard enough for what needs doin’.

To have Iris From The Future, you have to constantly think about the future.  For the hybridizer, the dog days of summer and early days of fall are the ideal time to turn-in your paperwork to the AIS Registrar, John Jones, to secure the names for next year’s introductions.

I recently completed this process and secured these three names for my 2014 introductions: CHOCOLATE SOUP, JELLY BEAN PARADE and TIJUANA TAXI.  And what do these name-inspiring children look like?  I’m not tellin’!  You’ll just have to wait until early 2014 to find out.

9-6-2013  I maintain two distinctly different iris plantings; a COMMERICAL field and a SEEDLING field.  In the commercial field, I keep the max number right at about 320 ….as that is what I can comfortably take care of.  So if I add 30 new faces per year, I also discard 30.  Works for me.

The commercial field represents two things: First, it is a my private collection of the best of the best.  If a new color or pattern comes along that is superior to what I already have, ..... out with the old and in with the new.  So the collection is constantly being 'upgraded'.  Second, the commercial field is a pollen reservoir for my meticulous breeding program.

But in truth, pollen from my own introductions seem to be producing the very best seedlings ……so I really don't use pollen from the commercial field all that often ..... perhaps 20% of the time.  For example, ROYAL JAMMIES and SAMBO'S TIGER BUTTER have no commercial competition.  BUNNY BREATH is still the very best mid-yellow ‘self’ iris that I have ever seen.  SHRIMP ONDA BARBIE is the most different orange iris on the market and is giving me babies like nothing I have ever seen elsewhere.  I could go on and on, but you get my point.

If you want to breed Iris From The Future, using parents that are both UNIQUE and GREAT GROWERS is the simplest formula.... but it all starts with having the correct pollen to work with! 

8-14-2013  August is ORDER DIGGING MONTH for me.  If you have your eye on something, now is the time to move.  As I frequently tell my wife, “I can’t read your mind.”  So, if inclined, I need to hear from you so that you can get your rhizomes established before the seasons change for the worse. 

One of my more pleasurable iris chores was finally completed in the first week of August.  I finally collected my last seed pod.  A month ago, the tags were still flapping in the breeze like a poorly decorated, Charlie Brown Christmas tree…..now they’ve all been harvested, shelled, identified and packaged.  This season’s count was around 116 different crosses that produced seed.  I kiss a lot of frogs to find the rare princess.   

No two breeding seasons are the same.  This year was one of extremes.  Due to peak bloom being 3-weeks early, (for the first time ever), the EARLY and the LATE crosses “took.”  But the MID-season crosses did not!  Also, because of the unusual temperatures, most pods had a lower than normal seed counts.  Several only contained a single seed.  This always happens, but not as often as was observed this year.  Yes, these “only-child” seeds will be treasured and cared for exactly like all the others.  You never know where the next great Iris From The Future will come from.

8-2-2013  The future of iris is largely determined by two things. You’d guess the first …. New colors and pattern development from the breeders. The second is much less obvious. The actual "selection process” by the hybridizer of what to introduce…and what NOT to introduce.

In the April 2012 issue of the AIS Bulletin, Kelly Norris quoted plant expert Michael Dirr as saying, “In plant breeding, good is the enemy of great.” When I first reading those five, simple, underlined words, I nearly jumped out of my chair in absolute agreement!  Why?  Because those 5 profound words convey exactly what Mariposa Iris is all about!

As a hybridizer, I’ve found that it’s not what you do with the POOR flowers, it’s what you do with the GOOD flowers that count.  I see a lot of flowers that are 5,10, or sometimes even 15% better than what is currently on the market….. They’re really GOOD flowers.  But my personal standard is that it must be at least 20% better or different to even be considered for introduction.  It’s got to be a GREAT flower, not just a GOOD flower.  I’d rather see the world of iris STEP forward rather than just SLOG forward.

7-15-2013  Every year in my iris garden of more than 300 varieties, a limited group of cultivars seem to stand above all others by putting on a particularly spectacular, all-around performance. Then, the next year, the list of top performers will often change. Contributing factors might have been the weather, soil conditions, plant placement or nothing more than changing personal preferences.

The three that looking particularly splendid this year to the many garden visitors were: LIFE BEHIND BARS …. with it’s eye arresting “bar” pattern, SHRIMP ONDA BARBIE ….. which always finishes out the season with a flourish instead of a whimper, and finally SINGS WITH FROGS …. a 2013 Mariposa Iris intro which refreshes the iris soul because it is so different yet so good in every other way.

6-27-2013 For the hybridizer, if you want to have a good show next spring and have the majority of your seedlings put up a maiden stalk, you have to get your seedlings in the ground early and then give them optimal growing conditions for the ENTIRE year.  Optimal growing conditions include the right PH, ample fertilizer and never letting them dry out or otherwise get drought stressed in the summer heat.

Yes, all of this takes extra work and diligence.  But the reward is getting a stalk on a one-year old plant INSTEAD of having to wait until year two or three.  Waiting time is wasted time!

6-14-2013  At least ever other year, I make a special trip to visit all of the major iris gardens in the Salem, Oregon area.  This is in addition to the annual trips that I make in the central California area.  The main purpose of my trip is to see what patterns and colors are in the introduction pipeline.  What I am hoping NOT to see are iris that are similar to the lines that I am working on.

One would guess that I see a lot of iris that are similar to my own. When I first started making these trips several years ago, I would have guessed the same.  But in actual practice, I’m observing that no more than ONE in FIVE lines are similar.  Which is to say that FOUR out of FIVE of the lines that I am working on are not being seeing in the garden’s of the other hybridizers.  From my own experience I can tell you that we are nowhere near to seeing the end of iris color and pattern possibilities!  I know because I’ve been looking at Iris From The Future.

6-7-2013 On the very heals of the spring iris display, is seedling planting time. I just finished planting this year’s crop of 1,000 seedlings from more than 140 different crosses. You sometimes have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a cute prince or princess. Even if you have done everything right, there are times when you will only get a single seed in a pod or only one seed has germinated from a given planting. That’s just the way it is in the world of hybridizing.

As a rule, I usually make the same cross multiple times to get a good supply of seed. However, come planting time, I don’t plant any more than 16 seeds from any one cross. Here’s the logic. Would you rather look at 10 seedlings from 20 different crosses (10 X 20 = 200) or 100 seedlings from only two crosses (100 X 2 = 200)? The theory is that with 16 seedlings to look at, you have a pretty good idea if you are on to something good or not. If something remarkable turns up, I usually go back to my seed bank and plant more seed from the successful cross. If the all 16 look like dogs, the extra seed is just kept into storage.

In my travels to the various hybridizer gardens, I’ve seen as many as 200 seedling planted from the same cross. In some cases, there was not a single seedling worth keeping. In my book, that’s a tremendous amount of space, time, and energy that has gone to waste. I can handle 16 dogs, but the thought of having to contend at 200 dogs would be quite discouraging….. Especially when you are the one doing all the work!

5-30-2013   Yes, I always look forward to it, but I’m always glad when it is over ….. Spring Madness. There is even an iris by that name and every serious hybridizer knows exactly what I’m talking about.  I couldn’t begin to tell you what MUST be done over a 30 day period.  The list of priorities would either bore you due to it’s length or you’d suspect too much embellishment.  No, just take my word for it, it’s MADDNESS….. but the fun kind!  I can’t believe the number of wonderful and different seedlings that put on their first show for me this year …. lots of potential Iris From The Future….. colors and patterns that are well beyond even my vivid imagination.

Now that Spring Madness has drawn to a close, it’s time to finalize your purchase orders because many growers must impose strict time limitations.

5-1-2013 Just enough time for two quick points:

#1. I’m currently getting the best spring bloom ever …. Even though my iris bloom is a full 3-weeks early!  So, at the moment, I’m knee-deep in evaluating the new seedlings and making crosses.  I love it!!!

#2. My annual iris fundraiser is this Sunday, May 5th … from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M.  We are preparing everything for your arrival and it promises to be a spectacular day.  Nothing great, just spectacular!

4-18-2013 Ouch! With Spring well-started, two days ago we were treated to a surprise afternoon snowfall. The same night it dipped to 26 degrees. What would become of the Spring bloom? Well, after monitoring the situation for the past 48 hours, the garden seems to be un-affected! Actually, there were only a handful of bloom stalks pushing up as most of the iris were still in the stage of waking up from their Winter nap. So, what looked like a spring disaster, turned out to be a non-event. Life is good and we feel blessed.





Iris From the Future……
Our 3 rigid tests

  • 20% better or 20% different
  • Good growers
  • Strong curb appeal  more...  

signed …Douglas Kanarowski     

New Offerings for 2018

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  • About Us Already accomplished vegetable gardeners, my wife and I were forever corrupted by the iris bug some 25 years ago. The hybridizing bug struck shortly thereafter. Early on, two relatively small, but nonetheless life changing events took place that strongly shaped many of those interim years. more...
  • Location Don’t be fooled by my California address. Our mountainous, pine-forested location, with Yosemite National Park practically in my backyard, comes with the GOOD and the BAD. more..
  • Pictures Can fib…. But they can also understate. I’ll tell you which it is. more...
  • Gifts Sorry, no-can-do per our business accountant more...
  • Seedling Evaluation Form I’m extremely critical of my own seedlings. Using a Seedling Evaluation Form prevents me from being tricked. And, it might help you too! more... Actual Form
  • Hybridizing Which theory do you use? more...

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