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Re: CULT: non-performers

  • Subject: Re: [iris-photos] CULT: non-performers
  • From: "J. Griffin Crump" <jgcrump@erols.com>
  • Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2004 14:57:40 -0500

EEE-yuk!  The central fan on both SOCIAL GRACES and GOOD DAY OREGON rotted over the winter, and another west coastie looks like it's going the same way.  (I don't want to name it until I'm sure.)  These were among several acquired and planted in September.  And DYNAMITE bloomed once here, looked glorious, resisted crossing, and hasn't bloomed again the last 2 years-- may even have disappeared along with its tag.  A mild winter here with no snow cover and several hard, prolonged rains.   And something I've never seen before  --  a seedling plot that's been planted for 3 years, and whole rows of plants heaved out of the ground, standing on their roots.  This has happened to me with newly-planted beds, but never with long-established plants.  Discouraging, to be sure.  And here is the bedeviling mystery:  This heaving has occurred in beds planted about 4 miles from my house and constructed in the same way as the beds at the house.  The only difference I can see is that the home beds are a mixture of turned lawn and imported topsoil, whereas the other beds are a mixture of longtime garden soil and imported topsoil.  Could it be that a heavier clay content in the home beds makes the difference?  --  Griff
zone 7 in Virginia
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2004 6:45 AM
Subject: [iris-photos] CULT: non-performers

I'm sure glad people speak up and say "it just melts away" or "I've had it three years and one...[less than decent] stalk..."
I know these aren't quotes--but I'm really glad to see remarks like these, especially from folks who are good, knowledgable growers and caretakers.  Always before, when an iris didn't do well for me, I was assuming there was something wrong with *me.*  It never occured to me that maybe the variety itself was mal-adapted to my climate, or didn't have the innerds and muscles to compete with aphids and moles, let alone excess rain or none at all, or whatever else it ran into.  Or just melted away for no reason at all.  This is year three for DYNAMITE, and in that time I've had one stalk that tried to bloom but froze, and one increase.  That one went to middle TN to see if Abby could grow it better.  Mine just sits there.  One fan.  No bloom.  No increase.
Some old diploids, Blue Rhythm and Wabash seem to thrive everywhere.  Why many others aren't like them says something about the way we go about selecting things to name and introduce, let alone to what we vote top awards.  We all agree these need to change.  They don't.
I've been hearing this same complaint for over fifty years.  There've been miffy performers ever since I first remember.  Then there were some that grew like pigweed everywhere I've been.  I think I can safely assume it wasn't *my* growing, it was the iris, AM or DM or not.
About half my new seedlings last year died during the deluge from just plain rotting off at ground level.  Linda Mann tells me the weather did me a favor--it weeded out the weak ones before I saw them bloom.  I sure hope she's right.  The ones left are a tattered remnant of my hope.  It's a short distance to the compost pile if they fall short now.
I think I'll make some crosses this year from Blue Rhythm.  I've been threatening to do this for several years and just never followed through. 
Fifty years from now my grandchildren are going to be looking at FOGBOUND growing in some corner and thinking the same thing.  "This year, I'm gonna make some crosses from Foggy."  But they won't.  They'll use the latest fat and sassy ones that are being introduced at $250 each and think they're worth it.  I suppose they will be.  At least if they survive to bloom.
Neil Mogensen  z 7 western NC in the world's second worst climate for TB's (Linda Mann has number one).
Boy! Did I ever get up on the wrong side of the bed.  Maybe I better go back and try it again.  At least this time I've got the coffee hot.....beautiful photos, Bill.  More!  More!

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