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Northern/cold weather hardiness (Chuck)

  • Subject: Northern/cold weather hardiness (Chuck)
  • From: "SandraB" <bardraj2003@yahoo.ca>
  • Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 11:22:03 -0500

Chuck that list of plants provided in the AIS bulletin was I believe taken from people who grow those irises in their cold climate gardens.  I personally don't believe in providing people
a list of 'cold hardy' irises and because of that I didn't provide a list to Kate of irises that are cold hardy.  I actually didn't agree with much of that article myself based on my fifteen years experience
growing TB's iris in my garden.   Like I said previously I have very little problems with TB irises surviving the winter if they are planted early enough.  In addition, once they survive that first winter then they rarely have a survival problem after.  If you are talking about irises that continue to grow and increase in later years then I don't believe you are necessarily talking about cold hardiness, but rather irises that
aren't vigorous and that is not necessarily specific to cold climates.  There are certain irises that may just do better with certain soils, a certain climate during the growing season (e.g. hot summers, dry vs wet, etc.) and certain management practises.
For instance, Romantic Evening, that iris, is the worse grower/increaser I have.  It has bloomed the majority of years I have had it (I think over four winters now and I moved it once in that time), but it barely increases and it always blooms on short stalks with misshappen flowers.  Now I could say that iris isn't cold hardy, but is it actually a good grower anywhere ?  
As for blooming consistently, I have learned from Linda in US Zone 7, that it is the fluctations in temperature in the spring that often kill the bloom on the iris and I believe Donald has also mentioned the same
thing  - so are we going to say irises that don't bloom consistently aren't cold hardy when they do the same sort of thing in Texas ?  I actually think for your climate Chuck, Linda would be able to help you more
than for someone in a real cold climate for genetics that are less s
Also, I would like to make a comment about medians, especially dwarf bearded irises.  In the past five years I have purchased a lot of SDB irises (because they take up less space) and I have probably lost just as many of them in portion to the numbers I have purchased as I do TB's.  So does that mean the SDB are now getting less cold hardy (there are some of them that are sure a lot less vigorous) ?
I recall talking to you about Rhonda Fleming - that iris did well for me.  I believe it would meet your five year trial definition, but your experience with that iris was that it was tender - so I think other factors are
involved here.
> I like to hear of what survives cold climate conditions, but only after
> it has passed a five year trial, and still blooms well and increases
> well. That is a good consistent bloomer , with good increase. If any
> cold climate growers have this type of  information of this type,
> please forward it to me.

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