In a message dated 4/20/2010 6:02:21 AM Mountain Daylight Time, email@example.com writes:
Thanks for the info, Sharon. Any suggestions re the AB's that bloomed, then died the next season? Should I have transplanted and/or divided them right after bloom?
Or perhaps it was just too rainy and cool those years. It was a bad few years for iris here. Some iris started to rot after bloom, when I hadn't expected it, nor checked diligently for it like I do in early spring.
As for getting AB's any earlier than mid August, perhaps I'll have to pot those, and overwinter them in the house, although I don't usually have great luck doing that.
My only other thought was to try to get my hands on some seeds and give that a try.
As I obviously can't perform an onsite post-mortem, I'll just offer a few possibilities:
If iris are crowded -- whether with increase, by the incursion of neighbors, or competition of ground cover -- they benefit from being moved. I have found that arilbreds tend to be less tolerant of crowded conditions than other types.
If all or part of a planting is dwindling instead of increasing normally, digging all clumps in that area may reveal an otherwise unknown probem -- like competition from tree roots, compacted or depleted soil. (I'm sure you already know that if a bed doesn't support a healthy growth of weeds, it's not going to support iris!)
If the problem is bloomout, digging and potting in sand may stimulate growth of increase.
If the medians and TBs are suffering from rot, ABs are apt to be afflicted as well.
I used to ship to northern customers in July. I know that Malevil starts shipping the first of July and am confident there are others who can handle requests for early shipments as well. I had the opposite problem with planting imports. I'd pot the rhizomes and grow them under lights until after Labor Day when it was cool enough to plant outside. By then, they'd have a well-established root system and settle into the garden quite nicely.
Growing from seeds is certainly an option. How about getting your hands on some arilbred pollen to use on your TBs & medians?