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Re: CULT: Best plant in the Garden

For a lover of historic iris like myself, it's virtually impossible to
pick just one - here are a few of my favorites.

Indian Chief (Ayres 1929) - beautiful crimson bitone. Grows and
blooms like a weed.

Speaking of weed-like behavior, nothing beats Crimson King (Barr 1893)
around here - lots of rebloom, and it'll take over a hillside if you let it.
Note that despite its name it's not crimson, but a wine-tinged purple.

Another purple I really like is Souvenir de Madame Gaudicheau (pardon
if I mangle the spelling, don't have a checklist with me). Good grower,
and the stalks have had a bud count as high as 13 for us.

I second Dorothy's appreciation of Moonlit Sea - one of the first
luminatas, and still one of the most beautiful. For us it is also
only an average grower.

I collect Lloyd Austin cultivars. My favorite horned variety is
Horned Flamingo (1963). Nice flamingo pink/orange, and unlike
many Austin space-agers it's an excellent grower and bloomer.
I also have a number of Austin rebloomers - Dark Mystery (1962)
is a cut above in terms of growability and rebloom. It's a dark
crimson bitone.

There are a lot of great suppliers of historic iris - our favorites
are Superstition, Bluebird Haven, and Argyle Acres. Also, to blow
my HIPS horn a bit, the HIPS rhizome sale is a good source of
good-growing historics (those are the ones we have the most of :-)

SF bay area, zone 9

Irisman-n-TN wrote:

After my first fascination with modern bearded irises, 22 years ago, the
last thing I would have thought you would catch me doing was growing a 60
year old iris introduction.  However, 3 yrs ago, I decided that I wanted to
see what a couple of older cultivars looked like for real and if and how
they would grow for me.  So, as part of a larger order, I purchased GREAT
LAKES and SNOW FLURRY.  To my surprise, SNOW FLURRY bloomed and grew well
enough and continues so.  GREAT LAKES, on the other hand, has taken over its
garden spot and has some of the healthiest, greenest foliage I see, and
seems to be the most productive plant in the garden.

Soooo, with many folks barely into bloom season, what is your favorite
historic and why?

As always, iris growing is never dull or boring.

Gary Sides
Nashville, TN zone 6a on a south facing protected city slope.
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