Re: HIST: Polling for Survivors
The yellow might be 'Alta California', but I haven't been able to do a good
comparison yet. I don't know 'Chenedolle'. I think I got photos of the
plant in flower this year, so maybe I do a photo comparison. It is similar
anyway. There are at least a few clumps around Albuquerque of what might
be 'Antigone' or similar too, but they are in carefully tended yards
(though I suspect they are hand-me-downs and not purchased).
The 'Albicans' in Colorado/Nebraska would have survived in USDA Zone 5, and
would have survived on at least a few occasions temperatures as low as -35
F, at least one time -45F. This is a sunnier, drier, and probably more
hospitable climate for such dry and heat loving Iris than are most USDA
Zone 5 area further east. Since I didn't actually pay that much attention
back then, I don't know if it ever suffered cold damage, but I do know it
didn't go away. When I moved to Albuquerque in 1982, it followed me, but I
have no idea who or where I first got it from. When I was a kid, it was
scattered around in old farmyards on the plains. Of course I didn't know
what "Albicans" was until a few years back when (with the help of this
group) I finally got sorted out in my head which were 'Albicans', which
were 'Florentina', which were "other" white germanicas, and which were
white I. pallida. [at least until somebody pointed out that the "original"
'Florentina' was really 'Albicans' - yikes!]. What really caused me
confusion a few years back was probably due to me mixing up new planting.
I bought 'Albicans' and 'Florentina' to see which they would be from
nurseries, and some of the 'Florentina' bloomed as what I later learned is
'Albicans', and some bloomed as true 'Florentina'. What I thought I
received as 'Albicans' turned out to be plants of the same old white
pallida that I already had (or at least so it seemed). This all really
stirred up my degree of uncertainty. Now I think the white pallida was
mixed up with 'Albicans' by yours truly in bad garden mapping, because the
last two springs a surprise clump of really 'Albicans' flowered right next
to the pallida, and about 2 ft from where I thought I had planted it. I
still don't know how the pallida got there though; maybe I dropped some
there in the new bed when I was dividing a nearby clump (or maybe it was a
seedling and is a new clone - if so - yahoo, but how to tell?).
As for 'Albicans' growing around New Mexico, I'm sure it must be here, but
I have yet to see one, except for the ones I grow, or in a couple of other
collector's gardens. It loves the climate here, so I really don't get it.
As for the boneyards, there aren't many untended ones that an Iris could
survive in for many years (mostly too dry even for I. pallida or I.
albicans). There may be some in the north or mountainous parts of the
state. Most cemeteries in New Mexico now are mowed and cleaned, and have
strict rules about planting flowers around graves (it ain't allowed!). If
something does pop up, it is promptly mowed, removed, or otherwise
destroyed. At least that's my experience. Not many treasure troves in the
bone yards here.
I should add that we found a little pet cemetery near Santa Fe out in the
middle of nowhere several years ago. Probably was on a private ranch once
upon a time, but it was beside a shooting range when we found it. There
were about a half a dozen animals buried there, and it was really charming.
It had head stones, and there were clumps of Iris. I think this is where I
got my first 'Miss California' look-alike, and what I'm pretty sure is 'New
Snow' (I forgot to put that one on the list, but it seems to be common here
too). 'New Snow' or what I think is it anyway is another that has popped
up from New Mexico to North Carolina, and I've brought it home several
times. I think I had it from an abandoned farm near Big Springs Nebraska
The cemetery is gone now, instead there is a four lane bypass there.
I have no record for when and where I got most of my hand-me-downs, and
many of them might qualify for this discussion. They would have been from
Front Range or Great Plains in Colorado or Nebraska. However, in the list
I sent, I only included those I see around the area I live in now, or that
I remember very clearly from the past. Most of my hand-me-downs were
obtained either sometime between 1965 and 1982 in Colorado and Nebraska or
during 1982-83 in the Albuquerque area, but I have gotten plants now and
then from all over the country. When I was a kid, I used to dig them off
of abandoned farms and from the roadsides, and I got a lot from neighbors
and relatives, or neighbors of relatives (I wasn't shy about asking back
then - kids can get away with being precocious where adults might get shot
After about 1983 or 1984 (don't remember exactly) I sort of quit with the
Iris other than taking care of what I already had, that is until something
like five or six years back when I got really hooked again. In that first
20 or so years of Iris collecting I had no idea what I had, nor did I care
or keep track. I just liked them, they were easy to grow, and that was
enough. They were just a sideline, and my real interests were elsewhere.
Can't help wondering how many great ones I had and lost over the years
(I'll never know). I do remember clearly a few that I loved and lost (I
was a strange teen, it was plants instead of women). Some of those I've
been able to reclaim through mail-order (when I bump into one again, it is
always a thrill).
I checked photos of 'Snow Flurry' and 'Great Lakes' against my memory of
the "very tall white" and "very tall blue", and they might be matches. I
need to do real comparisons though. I've never tried to figure these two
out, so far. I thought the white might be 'Purissima', because it can be
over 4 ft tall (and that is way tall for an little-watered Iris in central
NM). I never checked that idea out either.
As for the "pink" pallida, 'Thais' doesn't seem to match, but it's similar.
I think mine might be a tad less blue, and mine has a hint of ruffling that
I don't remember in 'Thais'. Anyway, in a direct comparison I made a
couple years ago, 'Thais' wasn't it. I've still got a few possible names
that I haven't been able to compare yet (one is 'Pink' something or other -
I don't have the list here right now). Could be I'll never find out.
Several years back the same pink pallida from NM was used as an example of
how to describe unidentified plants in an issue of HIPS, but no
identification was ever supplied (not that I saw).
I think that's enough rambling for now.
Good subject (of course I sort of stretched the boundaries a bit there).
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