RE:Re: CULT: Helpful Hints for Sure-Fire Bloom
Your geography is off a bit. Riverview Iris, west of Caldwell ID is next to
the Oregon border, not the Washington. For a short time in history the entire
three state area was ALL "Washington" but that was a very long time ago.
The Boise Valley, where Riverview is located, is similar in climate but milder
and warmer in winter than the Columbia basin in Eastern Washington, even
though considerably higher elevations present than those along the Columbia.
Geothermal heat deep underground contributes to the mild climate.
Riverview is about 2300' (or perhaps a hundred feet higher) and can have
temps about once in twenty years or so of 110 to 115 in the summer, and
perhaps somewhat more rarely, 25-28 below zero in the winter. Most years are
a lot milder than that, however. The recent decades, have seen some very
intense droughts that have cut the availability of irrigation water. No
mountain snow makes for very, very low rivers in the summer.
The lower Snake River area has some seven rivers of sorts flowing into it and
together before the Snake heads north to Lewiston and outward to the Columbia
near Pasco, WN. Three come down out of Idaho mountains, another smaller three
come down from lower Eastern Oregon and Idaho/Nevada OWYHEE country. Burnt
River, the northern most of the seven, enters the Snake from Oregon in the
most southern end of Hell's Canyon and is included in the count more by
courtesy than by water content. You could wade it most years.....
The entire area grows fabulous lime-loving or tolerant iris if they survive
the winter bane of Botrytis. Increase is rapid, and rhizome size depends on
the irrigation and fertilizer. The soils are marvelously fertile loams and
loess with a fair sprinkling of lava ash that has drifted over the area from
Cascade volcanos every few millenia. Just don't bother planting JI's unless
you are willing to go to an awful lot of extra work. There are a few areas of
exception, but not many. Just plain forget PCI's exist. Pure oncos don't
usually survive the winter, but RC's, OG's (if you keep the summer water off)
and the hybrids love the climate and soils and grow like weeds.
There are some tulip-like native bulbs called "Sego Lilies" in the deserts
around the irrigated valleys. They are exquisitely beautiful. The only
native iris is missouriensis, which grows usually at the higher, more moist,
elevations, but colonies can be found in pastures near the Payette River about
20 miles north of Riverview's location. They are not easily transplanted, I
found. They grow readily from seed if you want to bother. Missouriensis is
more pest than purty. Kinda fun tho.
Neil Mogensen now near Asheville, NC
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