CHINESE LANTERN FACTORY (Kanarowski 2020), TB, M-L, 36”

CHINESE LANTERN FACTORY (Kanarowski 2020), TB, M-L, 36”


NOW WHERE SHOULD I PUT THIS POLLEN …. decisions, decisions


Whenever I’m standing in my iris field with a pollen filled anther in my hand, the time has arrived to make a fateful decision.  Sounding like a small thing, it’s a decision that could actually impact the future of iris. There are two different paths that I can take.  The first is the path of chance.  “I’ll cross two that I like, and see what I get.”  The second path is the path of intentions.  “I’m really pleased with the results that I got with that flower, so I think that I’ll try for something more.”


LIT-WITHIN …. trying for something more


One of our more noteworthy and awarded introductions to date has been JELLY BEAN PARADE as she earned the Award of Merit in her first year of eligibility. And she was also voted the top, outside-of-region 15 flower (second best in Region 14).  This gorgeous iris was my first introduction into the sparsely-populated, luminous, color class of ris that I named “Lit-Within”. 


In layman’s language, Lit-Within is when the color yellow is observed within the heart of the flower, resulting in a “lighted-within” or luminous effect as is observed in many of those wonderful Thomas Kinkade paintings.  Just like leaving the lights on in a house, the lighted core strongly suggests that there is life inside.  “The fire’s lit, the lights are turned on, so somebody must be home!” The effect always adds an exciting and an enlivening feature to even the most ordinary flower.


In my book, to qualify as a Lit-Within, an otherwise non-yellow flower has to have a readily observable yellow zone at the base of the standards, on the style arms and in the shoulder area of the fall.  The depth of the yellow can be anywhere from deep, yellow-gold to light yellow cream.




So either the pollen that I’m holding goes on JELLYBEAN PARADE or its pollen is taken to another flower.  With fingers crossed and a prayer spoken, I’ll end up with an array of seedlings that display the same Lit-Within color pattern.  Simple as that!


Actually, successful hybridizing is nowhere near as simple as that.  In actual practice, predictable results are not really very predictable. Predictability will greatly depend on how “wide” the cross is.  If the parents are quite similar, you will usually get a higher percentage of the offspring that resemble the parents.  But if the parents are dis-similar (a wide cross), predictability may approach zero.  But at Mariposa Iris, that’s where I like to play the most! 


NOW THAT I’VE GOT A POD …. let the excitement begin


Remember, my hope is that I will get another Lit-Within flower that is both different and hopefully even better than its popular parent.  I’m not for wasting perfectly good wishes, so why not wish big?


There’s nothing in the world that is quite like the experience of walking out into your own seedling beds and seeing a newly created flower for the very first time. Scientifically and technically speaking, you’re seeing a creation that has never before appeared on earth. That’s profound.  Quite truthfully, for my wife and I, this is high on our list of one of the most exciting and rewarding things that we have ever done together.  But when you find a seedling that has the precise characteristics that you aimed for …. its even better.  Such was the discovery of CHINESE LANTERN FACTORY.  Just what I wanted …. only better.


How much better was it?  I now rank CHINESE LANTERN FACTORY as the second most beautiful flower that I have ever seen!  It’s entirely spectacular.  In fact, it’s GORGEOUS!!  My top iris favorite is still ARIZONA CAVE PAINTING, but CHINESE LANTERN FACTORY is a close second.  Some of my knowledgeable garden visitors like it even more.  You decide.  Either way, it’s a very tough choice. 




But here’s the surprise that you never expected.  The seed for CHINESE LANTERN FACTORY and ARIZONA CAVE PAINTING came from the very same pod!  That’s right, they’re full sibs …. same parents, same pod.


In the world of iris hybridizing, the best tend to reproduce the best.  And second place flowers tend to just produce more second place flowers. So if you want to increase your chances of big success, confine most of your work to the best flowers that you can get you hands on.


The national color of China is red.  So it was the reddish tones and the lantern-like appearance of CHINESE LANTERN FACTORY that suggested its name.




TB, 37”, Mid-Late

STANDARDS: white blends to pure golden-yellow in midrib and base

STYLE ARMS: golden-yellow

FALLS:  blended yellow to cream ground, wide red-violet band and sunburst, quarter inch pale blue-vio rim, deep red-vio wire rim.

BEARD: marigold-orange, brilliant and large


 AND THAT’S NOT ALL…. more good stuff


Four Beautifiers: Lit-Within pattern, striking pale blue-violet rim, precise color separation, and showy marigold-orange beards

Correct plant proportions and robust stem strength for its size;  Good branching

Double socketed makes for a long lasting bloom sequence; Highest bud count 8

Fall planted rhizome will average 1 stalks and 3.5 increase 

Easy breeder both ways, but shows a preference for being the pod parent

Colors are sharp, clean, clear, and vibrant, they change very little with age; Standard sized flowers

Touching shoulders and modern orbicular falls; Moderately ruffled; Heat tolerant,

Similar to no other iris that I can name;  Attention getting beauty


“FROM MY HYBRIDIZING NOTES” …. what was I thinking at the time


Seedling #0610:  “Much better form, contrast, colors and clarity than its parent.”




This truly exciting color class has just been waiting for the right flower to come along and raise the bar a couple more notches.  And in case I haven’t made it clear, CHINESE LANTERN FACTORY does exactly that!


CHINESE LANTERN FACTORY …. A strong advancement in a limited and exciting color class…. another  Iris From The Future.




While the color of the pictures are quite accurate, it’s a bit beyond the camera’s ability to convey the inner-warmth and cozy-feeling that a Lit-Within flower naturally possesses. So, yes, the flower is at least 25% better than its pictures.   This is one of those rare iris where every single bloom seem to be picture perfect.


Seedling #0610:  Pop Idol X Jelly Bean Parade

Two rhizomes:  $60