APRON STRINGS (Kanarowski 2019), TB, M, 38”


One of my darker jokes goes something like this.  “Once you have finally learned everything that there is to know about life …. YOU DIE.” (So try not to learn everything.)   Actually, I’m not trying to sound morbid.  Rather I’m just attempting to interject a little humor into the obvious: Great knowledge about life often comes with great age, and unfortunately age does comes with …. The End.


There seems to be 3 separate avenues by which we acquire knowledge:  Intuitively, Scholastically and Experientially.

Put a cluster of grapes in front of an infant.  Come back in 10 minutes and most of them will be gone. The child will have intuitively figured out that eating them is good.  Intuitive Knowledge is automatic learning.

Scholastic Knowledge is just a fancy name for “book learning”.  Somewhere very far back in my elementary school years, I was taught the majority of my basic math skills.  On day one, our teacher, Mrs. Armstrong, led the class through solving a basic math problem.  Then on day two, she taught us a slightly more advanced skill built upon the lesson learned from day one.  And so on and so forth ….

At one point, I realized that the teacher was just teaching us what was already on the next page of my math book.  Once I figured out this pattern, I thought to myself, “Why not just turn the page …. read the instructions …. and attempt to teach myself?”  This “second grader” couldn’t predict the outcome of my planned experiment.  But with nothing to lose, I made a conscious decision to take that bold step.  Voila!  It worked! 

Looking back, the success of this singular math experiment blew open the doors of an entirely new world that would then become a permanent part of my life.  With few exceptions, I could teach myself!  Now, I could learn to make my own grape juice from a cluster of grapes.


Experiential Knowledge is the knowledge that can only be acquired by actual hands-on experience over time.  Think of two words merged into one concept:  experience and experiment ….simple as that.  Ride a bicycle or try to ski downhill or on water …. these skills require experience that can’t be found in a book.

Fact is, the more experiences that you encounter, the more experiential knowledge you will acquire. While Scholastic and Intuitive learning may naturally wane with age,  I’m finding that my Experiential Knowledge is doing the opposite.  It’s increasing with age!  Since retirement, I finally have the leisure-time for more experiences.  For example, last year I spent 7 full days exploring 7 different iris farms in the Salem area.  Un-rushed, I had a full day in each garden to soak-up breeding inspirations for my next Iris From The Future.

Come to think of it, is it any wonder why a teenager can think that they know everything …. but don‘t? In truth, they are armed with only Intuitive and Scholastic Knowledge …. but have very little exposure to the world of Experiential Knowledge that only comes with the passage of time.  So they can’t know what they don’t know.  Time is the essential ingredient to turn grape juice into wine.

TALK IS CHEAP …. So what have I learned by way of Experiential Knowledge?

Later, I’ll give you a partial list.  But for now, here’s one of the more mundane things that time and experience have taught my best friend and wife.  When the cooking is going to get serious,the APRON STRINGS get tied in place …. otherwise you can ruin your clothes.  Note the remarkably high number of APRON STRINGS that make up this strikingly beautiful flower …. the fine, attention-grabbing, grape-violet veins radiating out from its beard.

BROAD VEINS …. common, FINE VEINS ….un-common

Veined iris have been around for years.  Rather than “getting old”, their popularity has grown along with their quality.  Yet most Irisarians don’t realize that veined iris actually come in two different configurations …. giving us two distinct looks.   Broad, bold veins like those observed in HAUNTED HEART (2018 Dykes Medal), or CIRCUS STRIPES (Plough 1975), are the most common.  But fine veins types, as observed in ANYTHING GOES (Hager 95), DARE ME (Black 2013), and now, APRON STRINGS, are relatively rare in the breeding patch. 

It appears as though the fine veined varieties give you exactly double the vein count.  (A new vein appears in the gap between two broad veins.) But when the vein count is doubled, the flower can often look “too busy”.   Let the customer be the judge, but in my opinion, the vein presentation in APRON STRINGS is not overdone whatsoever.  The vein complexity harmonizes nicely with the remaining elements of the flower.


TB, 38”, Midseason

STANDARDS:  white, slightly tinges blue-violet

STYLE ARMS:  white

FALLS:  white ground overlaid with wide, dark grape-violet-blue band and extra fine veined sunburst, narrow cream-white edge, wire rim

BEARD:  red-tangerine over a white base


  • Colors are basically the much sought-after patriotic combination of red, white and blue

  • Original field notes: “Best fine (small) veined flower to date.”

  • Triple socketed makes for a long bloom sequence; pronounced “irisy” or musky fragrance

  • Narrow white edge and wire rim, brings attention and compliments the fine veins

  • Expansive sunburst highlights the un-common fine veined presentation

  • Sizeable and conspicuous red-tangerine beard makes a good flower become a spectacular flower

  • Vibrant, crisp colors change very little with age; good branching and plant habit

  • Average stem-to-increase ratio: 1 - 5 so no chance of bloom-out; blooms well above foliage

  • Touching falls and modern, orbicular form; good stem strength and proportions

  • Serrated edges with moderate ruffling; breeds both ways but is more inclined to set seed

  • Nothing else like it in the fine veined class ….distinctive; no major problems noted


Here is a partial list of some of the Experiential Knowledge that I have acquired over the years.  If you’re inclined, I would be interested is seeing some of the things on your list:   grapeorbit@sti.net

Never make a big decision quickly unless you have no other choice.

You do not need to expose yourself to un-due risks because you will get plenty of un-wanted close calls throughout your life all on their own.

The 3 “C” words are a lot less commonly found in humans than one would expect:  courage, creativity, and commonsense.

If you think that you really know someone, be prepared to be surprised in two areas of life; sex and money.

Put your glasses on first if the diaper cream tube looks like the toothpaste.

Take something when you go. You will ultimately accomplish more with less effort.

Sympathy and Empathy are medicine and you don’t need a license to dispense them.   Similarly, Kindness and Compassion have healing powers that we can all administer.

There are people that can dream-up new ideas and there are people than can execute new ideas.  But very few people can do both.

My 2% rule says this: If a crowd witnesses a public presentation of any kind that is particularly good, only 2% of the people will come forward and say anything positive.  Be in that 2% minority!  You will make someone’s day and possibly help shape their future.

If you work or are closely associated with any form of hierarchy, learn to “lower you expectations” because the overall organization is almost certain to fall short of your own.

If you discover a wonderful place to visit, don’t try to do everything there is to do.  Thus you will have provided yourself with a great reason to return.

Fellas, if you are married to a prudent, stay-at-home wife, give here a no-strings-attached allowance.

Don’t attempt to duck-under an electric livestock fence with a long metal knife in your back pocket.

Both parties will bring at least some negative baggage into a marriage.  If you know what the other party is bringing and can accept it, plus 10% for the unknowns, the odds of success go way up.

Lastly, don’t forget, when the cooking gets serious, the APRON STRINGS get tied in place.  Yet another superior …. Iris From The Future.


All of the pictures of APRON STRINGS are quite accurate.  What you see is what your will most likely get.  BTW, this sweetheart loves to be photographed!

Seedling #0612:  Pop Idol X Zesting Lemons

Two rhizomes:  $60

Updates:  This amazing flower will very frequently send up 2 - 3 bloom stalks on a single fall planted rhizome .... and yet the number of increase is still in the ideal 3 - 5 range.  The effect is a LOT of flowers.