site MastheadRoots and Blooms logo

Virginia Home Grown Visits JSRCC

The film crew for WCVE TV’s popular gardening show, “Virginia Home Grown” visited Mike Lockatell’s reblooming iris trial plantings at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Goochland, VA on Thursday morning, October 16th. The taping took place despite considerable rainfall the previous day. Show co-host Amy Williams conducted an on- site interview with guest Mike Lockatell for VHG’s upcoming Tuesday, October 28th broadcast on Richmond, VA’s public broadcasting outlet.

Show director Shawn Freude ably assisted by Mike Rogers and Mark Helfer did a masterful job highlighting varieties in bloom. Some of the stalwarts on the tall bearded side were Pink Attraction (pink), My Friend Jonathan (red), Clarence (white & blue-violet), Over & Over (lavender plicata) and Again & Again (medium yellow). Rogers was able to film the last open bloom on Lockatell’s upcoming 2015 release, Soda Fountain Shuffle. Mike also managed to get sparkling shots on median bearded rebloomers SDB Rosalie Loving (white with a red thumbprint on yellow), MTB Lady Emma (yellow), SDB Baby Blessed (white & yellow) and MDB Trimmed Velvet (deep plum purple). Trimmed Velvet won the Caparne-Welch Medal for Best Miniature Dwarf Bearded Introduction by American Iris Society judges in 2013. One of just a handful of rebloom varieties to win a national AIS award.

The gardening public is still largely unaware bearded irises can bloom multiple times in the same growing season. Rebloom is a recessive genetic trait. Breeding for such a desirable flowering quality takes considerable patience and perseverance to find one worthy seedling to eventually release to the iris marketplace. Micro-climates play an important role in rebloom success or failure. It was a huge relief the JSRCC location supported enough flowering for show taping. As Eastern Director for the Reblooming Iris Society (RIS), Lockatell is grateful to showcase reblooming bearded irises on “Virginia Home Grown.”