Re Queen off Hearts iris
I have noticed several comments of this iris and problems in growing it
and as it is one I have grown successfully for many years - I got it soon
after it was introduced - I thought I might throw in my two cents worth tooo.
As usual I planted it in the rows in the field with many others. It
barely survived the winter and only once in later years gave a small bloom
on an 8" stalk before it died. A year or two later our President, Jack
taylor , brought some pieces back from California and raved about its
beauty. he gave one for a draw and I won it. Other pieces got around to
otHer gardens as well. The result was the same in all cases, even Jack
himself called it a dud. So much for growing it outside in Canada.
Considering my own experience I put my win in the unheated plastic
greenhouse. Its still there and I have lost count of the years but every
year it blooms perfecctively about three weeks before show time and every
year I dig up several rhizomes for the CIS auction. I had about six bloom
stalks on it this year, some with three flowers out and a bud near ready to
burst. So never once did it ever get to the show bench and few of my
outside iris either as they blomed 10 days after show time. We are on the
"Mountain" here which is the Niagara escarpment and quite flat but 300'
above the RBG gardens and miles further from Lake Ontario or Erie, hence a
bit cooler in spring.
So if you want to grow this iris the key to success is to avoid freezing
of the rhizomes in winter - I cover in the greenhouse with a foot of dry
leaves and the ground never freezes. On a cold sunny day in Feb.it can get
to 90F and I open the vents - and down to below freezing in the night.
While I have your attention I would like to inform you southerners some
of the facts about the climate in southern Ontario. Like the rest of Canada
(and a good chunk of the U.S. too) it is a land of snow -sometimes. I
haven't needed my snowplough in our 600' driveway for the last three winters
and last year it was mighty cold too. The area of Ontario along Lake Erie
and a strip about 100 miles wide is known as the Carolina Forest Region.
That means it has (or had) the same native trees and vegetation as the
uplands of the state of Carolina in the U.S. (not the land near the ocean
and its further moderating effect or its hurricanes either). Buffalo is
another story where it amy be mild but gets snowed in from the wind driving
donw the open waters of Lake Erie picking up moisture and dumping in the
first handy place on land, that is all one the U.S. side, When Cleveland got
two feet of snow a month ago and more the next day we had about an inch
here. The right side of the border oviously. One last consolation before I
close. I have some forest land 200 miles north of here in the cottage
country - the near north - and it normally get to -40 (either C or F) but
ggrows great Hard sugar maple.
Bruce Richardson (near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.