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Re: CULT: Ebb and Flow of Fancy

Of course the show auriculas was what I was referring but they did suffer a rather bad decline many years back and are now coming back around. Plant fads change. Iris seemed to have had there glory years in the 1950s into the 1970s.  Of course the die-hard enthusiasts will continue but the general gardening public may have a different view. The average gardener (if there is such a thing) wants something that will grow easily. Even though Cowslips grow easily in England the "improved" plants are not in most gardens.

ChatOWhitehall@aol.com wrote:In a message dated 8/22/05 9:38:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
rpries@sbcglobal.net writes:

<< Through horticultural history there have been many plant specialties that 
have ebbed and waned. Once primroses were really big. But they were so 
exquisitely developed, that they no longer found a place in gardens and the society 

Take heart! The national Auricul and Primrose Society of the UK is thriving. 
See the April 2005 issue of Gardens Illustrated: "The auricula has inspired 
passion and obsession for centuries. From humble beginnings they have been bread 
to perfection." And you should see the pictures! Surely some of the most 
cheerful if odd little posies in the world. It is one of the great sorrows of my 
gardening life that I have not been able to do anything with auriculas. They 
don't care for the climate. I think there may still be a domestic primrose 
society as well.

<< It is not only a matter of their growability, but their place in modern 
garden settings, not just in collections by themselves. >>

I find these two thing tangent. It must be admitted that there is a feeling 
in some quarters, not entirely unjustified, that the larger bearded iris does 
not work and play well with other garden plants from a cultural or an aesthetic 

<< I can remember in my youth, great perennial borders with Iris, peonies, 
poppies, etc. the Iris were magnificent. They were also an integral part of the 
whole display. It seems I rarely see Iris grown this way anymore.>>

Bob, I take your point and I share your pain but are you seeing anything 
grown this way any more? Even in botanical gardens? I see mixed plantings, 
designed to self- maintain, usually heavy on daylilies and butterfly bushes and 
garden ornaments, but not elegant herbaceous borders of the classic style, with or 
without irises. I am sure some of the reasons for this have nothing to do with 
faults of the plant material.


Anner Whitehead
Richmond VA USA

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