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Hybridizer Anna Mae Miller

Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

By Anna Mae Miller, February 1, 2014:

I grew up on a cattle farm near Liberty, MO. We grew a vegetable garden as well as flowers. We had fairly up to date irises for the '30's-'40's but so much change was made in the mid '50's when Ronald and I began gardening. I had majored in Chemistry so that training made me want to experiment with plants and I chose Irises. I was interested in the wonderful colors that were being developed in the '60's with David Hall's pinks, Nate Rudolph's ruffling and Orville Fay's tetraploid conversions of the TB Irises. I decided to work with the Siberians and Japanese Irises as I had seen that they extended the bloom season. A friend had given me some of the newer Siberians and we had joined AIS. I had attended a couple of conventions and seen current work and met a few hybridizers and was in the round robin letters.

I began hybridizing in the late '60s. I had several mentors: Bee Warburton, Dr. Currier McEwen, Dr. William McGarvey and Dr. Robert Hollingworth. I did not have a genetic training and felt the pink Siberians needed to be pink rather than lavender-pinks. However, I feel mine are pinker it was a very difficult task without much change until Marty Schafer/Jan Sacks happened to use the other white I. siberica alba, Snow Prince which Sarah Tiffney felt was a different white than the I. sanguinea alba, Snow Queen which is what the McGarvey pinks were derived from. Most of my crosses were planned. The most seedlings I lined out were 2000. I believe that Esther C.D.M. is a good parent which introduced stippling and glaucous upright foliage which I consider a wonderful trait. Ensata Gardens still list some and Don Sorensen has all but one.

I had the good luck to have several seedlings at the AIS 1985 convention which is the first 'unofficial' Siberian Convention as they outperformed the TB's in Washington, D.C.

I also introduced 7 Japanese Irises. I am a charter member of SJI and Arthur Hazzard was a very good friend. I was lucky to get to visit Arley Payne's garden in Terre Haute, IN when the Japanese Irises were over 5' tall.

I served as President of the Society for Siberians and our garden was on the first Siberian Convention in 1993. I was very instrumental in the beginning of the Japanese Iris Conventions after several Japanese Iris Weekends and guest gardens for them. Our local Southwestern Michigan Iris Society has been very active and has many members who have much knowledge and have been active in AIS.

Registrations/Introductions:

Japanese: 'Gala Performance', 'Kimiko', 'Michio', 'Raspberry Gem', 'Rose Frappe', 'Shingo', 'Sylvia's Masquerade'.

Siberian: 'Almost A Melody', 'Aqua Whispers', 'Charming Darlene', 'Cheery Lyn', 'Dancing Nanou', 'Dancing Shadows', 'Fattaneh', 'Forever Remembered', 'Frosted Cranberry', 'Genteel Grayce', 'Glow Of Happiness', 'Lavender Stipples', 'Liberty Hills', 'Lilting Laura', 'Mary Louise Michie', 'Purple Sand', 'Rosebud Melody', 'Slightly Envious', 'Swirling Lavender'.

-- AdamCordes - 2010-12-12
Topic revision: r24 - 04 Jan 2015, Betsy881
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