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Garden Chit-Chat


 With another year behind us we reflect on how quickly time passes.  This is the 37th issue of the Mid-America catalogue and my 24th year since joining the business.  I would like to acknowledge Paul Black for his years of work producing and laying out the catalogue.  He retired from Mid-America Garden in 2011 but continued to produce the catalogue until last year.  This is the first issue that Mirena Oberg and I have worked on together.   We hope you like some of the minor changes we have made.   I would like to thank all of our loyal customers for your continued support.  It is that support that has allowed me to express my passion for plants and more particularly the hybridizing of iris.  Thank-you.

2017 will mark 25 years of hybridizing for me.  It is hard to believe from those first crosses made in Canada in 1993 that a quarter century later I would still be as enthusiastic about seeing my iris babies bloom each spring.  There is just no feeling like watching a new seedling in bud, waiting with anticipation for it to open.  I have to admit there are times when that first flower opens with torn petals from my lack of patience.  If you haven’t given hybridizing a try, give it a go, it can be very rewarding and addicting. 

 Last year we asked your opinion on Mid-America going on line only and doing away with the printed catalogue.  Most said they would miss the printed catalogue but would understand if we transitioned to a website only.  Although we are sure that one day it may come to that, we have decided to continue with the print catalogue, at least for the time being.  In the end it will eventually come down to the cost and time involved in producing a printed catalogue. 

2016 was a very good year for Mid-America introductions in the American Iris Society awards system.  Paul Black won the Sass Medal (IB) for his wonderful Star in the Night.  He was also awarded the Cook-Douglas (SDB) for Open your Eyes, and the William Mohr (AB) for Brash and Bold.  His Award of Merits included: Dipped in Dots, Wicked Good, My Cher, Outspoken, Keep Off, and Flecks and Specks.  He was also very happy when he won the Franklin Cook Cup at the Newark, NJ American Iris Society national convention for his small flowered TB Three Part Harmony.  I too was delighted to win the top Wister Medal for Sharp Dressed Man and The Walther cup (top HM over all categories) with Good Morning Sunshine.  My Award of Merits included: Insaniac, (tied for top TB) Daring Deception, Note to God, Catwalk Queen, Toronto, Golden Compass and Parable. 


It is always hard to learn of the closing of an Iris nursery.  After more than four decades of putting out an iris catalogue, Tempo Two Nursery in Australia has decided to close their doors in June of 2017.   Its owners Barry and Lesley Blyth have decided it is time to retire and enjoy life without the daily grind and stress involved with running a nursery.  Anyone who has run an Iris nursery knows that it is not an easy job and is quite physically demanding.  It is a profession that only someone that is truly passionate about plants would choose.  Barry and Lesley both fall into that category.  For many years I have made an annual trip to Tempo Two during their bloom season.  Staying there at the nursery with Lesley and Heidi and walking the seedling rows with Barry everyday has been a major highlight of my life and a trip I look forward to making each year.  It is hard to express the gratitude and admiration  I have for them.  Their support and guidance to me over the years has been incredible.  They truly are my Australian family and I wish them the greatest of happiness in their retirement.  I will miss Tempo Two but its legacy and influence on the iris world will continue for years to come. 

I feel quite honored and humbled that Barry has chosen me to continue with his work through his seedling selections.  Over the next several years Mid-America will introduce the rest of Barry’s introductions and we will grow, select and continue to hybridize with his reselect seedlings here in Oregon.  With his direction and guidance we hope to carry the torch forward. 


Happy Irising,


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