Tuesday, October 18, at 6:30, come hear Doug Kanarowski of Mariposa Iris.
Originally from Michigan, Doug met and married his wife to be in Mariposa, California, a small, sparsely populated community on the edge of Yosemite National Park. Both gardeners from a very young age, Diane was the “flower person” while Doug’s priority was growing all of the family fruits and vegetables. “They’re pretty but you can’t eat them.” But that is not how this story will end.
Around 1995, three pivotal events took place in fairly rapid succession. First, Diane got a bit overwhelmed with the upkeep of her flowers. As an act of kindness, Doug volunteered to help her with part of her flower work. So she delegated the growing of her iris to him. Second, during one of their joint visits to Superstition Iris Gardens, Rick Tasco showed him how to breed an iris. “At that moment, I felt like the recipient of the secret recipe for Coca-Cola,” and clearly remember practically shouting out loud, “Do you have any idea of what you’ve just done?”
The third event occurred during a trip to the nursery of a world-renown rose breeder, Ralph Moore. Moore shared that of the hundreds of promising seedlings that he gets each year, he would only introduce a rose that was either 20% different or 20% better than what was already on the market. To Doug, that made perfect sense.
Doug is hypercritical of his own seedlings and therefore only introduces an average of three irises per year. As an aid, he has designed his own seedling evaluation form that reminds him to look at more than 50 different aspects. While minor faults can be tolerated, a major fault will always result in a one-way trip to the compost pile. “My goal is to advance the iris world.”
We are the Oregon Trail Iris Society and we meet monthly in the Salem area. Each meeting has a new and fun topic. You don’t need to be a member to join us.