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!  Haven’t we all been fooled by that beautiful, new introduction that aside from being wonderfully beautiful, also refuses to grow, doesn’t increase or has a low bud count? When you’re knee-deep in the Spring, seedling patch, it’s quite easy to become mesmerized by a spectacular, new color-break. But when your mind is temporarily turned to “iris love”, it’s easier to overlook other important qualities like branching, substance, stem strength, fragrance and aging problems to name a few.

Personally, I never want to introduce an iris that has a major flaw or serious problem; no matter how “special” it might otherwise be. I’m not just everyday critical; I’m extremely critical! I’m critical to a point of being called Mr. Perfect by some. But I take that nickname as a compliment. Not a criticism.

Here’s what I’ve come up with. I developed a detailed, full-page, “Seedling Evaluation” form. Thoroughly filling out, the form actually forces me to look at each and every single characteristic that every really “good iris” should have. There’s more than 50 different evaluations that I make, plus room for additional comments and special observations.

It’s a process. No, I don’t expect to fill out the entire form the first time I spot a new face in garden. Things like re-bloom dates, did I go to a Convention and its performance in another garden, will take time to evaluate. But I always at least, “start” a form, for each and every seedling that I decide to keep for at least one more season. The longer the seedling stays in the garden, the more “blanks” I will fill in. If a seedling ever gets to the introduction stage, you can bet that nothing important was overlooked along the way.

Works’ for me ….And it might work for you!!