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Re: CULT: southern survival (was Trial garden form

<< The World of Iris warns that bearded iris will <not> live in a zone
                   far south of where I am. >>

Took me awhile to dig out the info - it's in Garden Irises, by Randolph,
1959, not in the more recent World of Iris.

"The southern extremity of the area in which bearded irises may be grown
most successfully is ...east to west.. from Montgomery, Alabama, thru
Jackson MS ...to Dallas TX".

I'm not sure why the line starts in Alabama and not on the east
coast....Looking at a USDA zone map, there is a comparable climate band
from Dallas thru Birmingham & Atlanta, reaching the Atlantic along the
eastern coast of NC.

They go on to give caveats to the effect that some cultivars do well in
that zone and even farther south, with hope for more in the future.
There are several contributors to this discussion forum who successfully
grow a <lot> of bearded iris cultivars in that southernmost zone.

So I exaggerated in saying that is a death zone, but a lot of cultivars
don't make it there.

Articles in Randolph's book talk a lot about the need for more cold
hardiness in irises.  I have the impression a lot of attention has been
paid since then to cold hardiness, including the Loomis test garden, but
not as much to southeastern climate tolerance.  The combination of
constant high humidity, high temperatures, and alternating heavy rains
and drought during summer leads to high disease incidence and/or greater
severity of damage from disease in this region.

Far enough south, we don't have borers, but disease pressure is heavy.
Can you imagine west coast hybridizers sending their introductions to
Atlanta to a trial garden?  Turnover would be very high - much more
difficult growing conditions there (and here) than in Memphis.

< Not live, or not bloom well, Linda?

                   The traditional eastern states dividing line of which
I am aware for reliable
                   bloom in the larger bearded irises is old Route 20,
which runs through
                   Jackson, Mississippi and Shreveport, Louisiana.
.....       Anner Whitehead>

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8
East Tennessee Iris Society <http://www.korrnet.org/etis>
American Iris Society web site <http://www.irises.org>
talk archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-talk/>
photos archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-photos/>
online R&I <http://www.irisregister.com>

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