Schreiner's Iris Gardens began as a hobby
during World War I when Francis Xavier Schreiner started growing
irises in St. Paul, Minnesota; a testament to the fact that bearded
irises will grow in a variety of climates. Upon his death in
1931, Francis' children continued the business and moved the
gardens to the Keizer area north of Salem, Oregon.
....Our goals in breeding irises
are to develop new color patterns, improve colors and flower
form from what is already developed, and live up to the standards
that everyone looks for in growth and disease resistance.
....I started crossing with my dad,
Bernard (more commonly known as "Gus") in 1971. Dad
would lay out the crosses and I, along with several others, would
make the actual crosses. I also worked with Dad during the selection
process, watching to see what he looked for, and the results
of his crosses. This continued until my father's death in 1981.
During those years, Dad taught me just about everything I know.
....Since then, I primarily make
the crosses, with input from my cousin Dave Schreiner, and other
family members involved in our operation. I am always ready to
listen to any ideas.
....When I select a seedling, I
look for new color patterns: something different and pleasing.
Some things are very different, but not pleasing in color. After
color, I look at the shape of the flower: breadth at the haft
and the form. If the flower doesn't have those two qualities,
no matter how different the color, I don't consider it as introduction
material. I don't necessarily look for size, but rather, good
proportion. Bud count is also important. If a seedling has the
best flower, but only five buds, I'll cross it with something
with more buds and hope to improve on it.
....Working with so many colors
it is difficult to say which color pattern I favor. When I work
with a color, I envision what I will be getting, and at the moment
I like that color best. They are all my favorites. Plicatas,
blues, reds, darks or yellows-mix up the patterns and you're
hooked! The possibilities are endless. Imagine a black with a
pure white beard, or a deep maroon with a blue beard.
....I see the future of irises as
wide open. The sky is the limit: different patterns, more buds,
longer bloom periods,and repeat bloomers. What about the possibilities
with the foliage? We have variegated foliage. What about extending
the purple hue at the base all the way to the tip? What a contrast!
You could have color all year-round. Only time will tell.
- Material was obtained from an article which appeared in The
Canadian Iris Society Bulletin in - with permission from editor
In addition to their many Award of Merit Awards over the years,
Schreiners have been awarded nine Dykes Medals, as follows:
1958 BLUE SAPPHIRE, 1963 AMETHYST FLAME, 1968 STEPPING OUT, 1984
VICTORIA FALLS, 1988 TITAN'S GLORY, 1992 DUSKY CHALLENGER, 1994
SILVERADO, 1995 HONKY TONK BLUES, 1999 HELLO DARKNESS.
Ray Schreiner is an AIS Active Master Judge, and has been the
primary hybridizer at Schreiners since 1982.
- Terry Aitken.................Back
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