Discussions and Q and A about hybridizing irises forum: Questions from Beginning "Crossers"

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bonjon
Feb 25, 2010 7:02 PM CST
Name: Bonita (Bonnie) Masteller
Raleigh NC
Hey there. Since Polly encouraged this, I'd like a thread specifically for me to easily ask crossing questions to these experts.

Dee, almost half the time when I'm I try to apply pollen, the lip splits down the middle (vertically). It's almost crisp, like celery, and they are fragile. The lip, by the time I can get my stamins in there, can't take the stress of being bent back to accommodate my fat fingers.

Suggestions? Am I doing something wrong? (again)

I've tried the tweezers method, which results with most of my stamens on the wet ground. The orange stick method works better, i.e. fewer stamens on the ground. But I've noted a reduction in seed count per pod with this. And with both, I break almost as many.

since I have poorer growing conditions, and fewer stalks, this is a problem. It's so frustrating to NOT show a stalk, so it can be crossed, only to have it ruined for both crossing and showing.

Now I'm spreading my clumps out for more room to maneuver inbetween stalks. This year I'm still going to be precariously balancing on a wet slope between incredibly tight rows. Big butt me will slip, fall, bend over, and step on just as many stalks as I cross, and half the ones I'll try will split. Grumbling
zacattack
Feb 26, 2010 1:06 AM CST
Name: Dan Holt
North Central Texas
Sometimes the standards get in the way, and trying to maneuver a stamen past them can be a problem for folks like me with hands that are not so nimble any longer. If the cross is a higher priority than the bloom, try snapping the standards off, falls too if needed. You can then get to the stigmatic lip quite easily. Be sure to apply pollen as soon as possible after a flower opens. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish a newly opened flower on a plant with many blooms. One way to combat this is to remove the stamens from all flowers on the plant late in the day, the day before you plan to pollinate. The next morning you will know that all flowers with stamens are fresh. I hope this helps... Good Luck.
bonjon
Feb 27, 2010 7:58 AM CST
Name: Bonita (Bonnie) Masteller
Raleigh NC
hmmm.

Dee taught me to strip the flower, and Dave Niswonger said it helps the cross to take to do so. So I already do. It really helps - you can see the ones you've crossed, in case you're like me and bend down to pick up more pollen from my collection box and then forget which bloom I was working on!

But that idea of removing stamens late in the day is a great one. I always remove stamens from any flower I'm crossing anyway. But I've noticed fresh flowers seldom have the pollen totally ready and open. that takes a day or so - no wonder so few bee pods form!

Still, I then break the exposed arms all the faster!
Imageirisarian
Feb 28, 2010 10:38 PM CST
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA
irises
We use locking forcepts since I was liable to drop the anthers with regular tweezers. We store pollen in the frig.
bonjon
Mar 1, 2010 6:47 AM CST
Name: Bonita (Bonnie) Masteller
Raleigh NC
like, medical tools? not a bad idea.

I thought mold from the fruits and veggies would hard it?
Imageirisarian
Mar 1, 2010 9:17 AM CST
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA
irises
Exactly medical. Use alcohol to clean tweezers between uses. You can carry wipes with you. Our 'hybridizing kit' tags, envelopes, pencil, pens notebks etc. is in a small wicker basket which came as a fruit present container from a friend. every thing is in it & we just pick et up & carry it with us. I have been know to use apron pockets when I have a particular cross in mind.
Imageirisloverdee
Mar 1, 2010 9:47 AM CST
Name: Dee Stewart
Willamette Valley OR
Snowpeak Iris
4 pocket apron I made, top pens and pencils, tweezer on string around neck so I will stop loosing them, and it works, left is the tags, center envelopes, right is notepad and tubes

D
Denise Stewart
541-259-2343
Snowpeak http://snowpeakiris.com

Imageirisarian
Mar 1, 2010 9:50 AM CST
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA
irises
Great, leaves your hands free. Do you remember where you put everything? Sometimes I forget which pocket when I use my apron. You will find that very short memory goes when you reach 70. Glare
Imageirisloverdee
Mar 1, 2010 11:59 AM CST
Name: Dee Stewart
Willamette Valley OR
Snowpeak Iris
just the right and left LOL, otherwise got the upper one and the middle figured out...LOL

D
Denise Stewart
541-259-2343
Snowpeak http://snowpeakiris.com

bonjon
Mar 1, 2010 6:27 PM CST
Name: Bonita (Bonnie) Masteller
Raleigh NC
I've personally seen that apron in action. I works very very well. Before I thought to make my own, I went to HD and bought one of their handyman aprons to use. unfortunately, it doesn't work so well - half the time I'm bent over at the waist, dumping everything out of the pockets! LOL

I bought a plastic box, about 12x15, with a snap lock lid. so often in our spring, I'll be out trying to collect pollen, or make crosses, and a little shower will come up. All my envelopes would get damp. so now I protect them. Found it in San Antonio at a big store for storage items.

Nice thing is, the plastic is perfect surface to write the tags on.
Imageirisarian
Mar 1, 2010 6:40 PM CST
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA
irises
Bee Warburton's remark was 'that you can write a lot of tags sitting down', so I do.

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