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Re: HYB:Rebloomers

Mike and all-

I never meant to imply your growing conditions were easy, just different and more favorable for the
goal of rebloom than those here.

The things that make your climate as well as the southern CA climate better are the sun intensity and the length of growing season. We get light frost here sometimes in mid-September that will not destroy a formed bud but may abort stalk production. Our average first *killing* frost is mid-October, sometimes later. We also have been known to get damaging frost as late as Memorial Day, which is TB peak bloom here.

We are zone 5b on the edge of 6a, for what zones are worth. That is an average minimum low between -5F and -15F. That number is deceptive-the real tale is the average low by month--January had an average nightly low of 21F and an average high of 38F with almost constant cloud cover...you have to understand why all of California seems sunny to us :) Between January 19 and 25, our nightly lows were single digit. The way weather systems move around the Great Lakes region makes for very fast and dramatic changes, as much as a 60 degree swing in under 24 hours. "Zones" also do not take into account length of growing season.

Not all iris growers are as conscientious as you are about listing rebloom reliability. I have seen a catalog or two which simply has a blurb about "rebloom means they will bloom more than once a season" and go on to * most of what was offered as reblooming.

----- Original Message ----- From: "sutton's iris gardens" <info@suttoniris.com>

Just to clear up a few things.....our summers are hot and dry, upwards of 110 degrees F at times. We usually have our first frost anywhere from the first of Oct. to the first of Nov. (Lately been in early Oct.) Last frost will be in March, once in a while, April. Lows can hit the high teens. Spring will see very fast warming, probably the reason why our peak TB bloom season is towards the end of April. We aren't in "Sunny" southern CA, but in the middle of CA in a much tougher climate. People in Southern Ca have rebloom year-round, we don't except for Low Ho Silver which only seems to need 2 frost free weeks to bloom here. Our soil is nuetral to slightly alkaline. Our zone is officially USDA zone 8b but it is so much on the edge that I prefer to call it 9a. Soil and days of sun seem to be the main rebloom contributors we have. We irrigate in the summer and our plants never stay in the ground for more than 2 years. Crop rotation keeps the soil fresh. When we have the opportunity to plant in virgin (to iris) ground rebloom occurrence increases by over 25%, which indicates (to me) that nutrients, soil health and steady moisture in the summer are *extremely* important to rebloom. We like to let customers know that our iris that are labeled rebloomers have rebloomed in our garden. in addition, we have a rebloom reliability chart in the back of our catalog. Thinking of adding more specific info about where rebloom actually has occurred, not just the coldest zone of reported rebloom. Victoria Falls doesn't rebloom here, Immortality and Champagne Elegance rarely rebloom here. Besides some of our rebloomers, Autumn Tryst, Blatant, Clarence, Feed Back, and Renown are multiple and reliable rebloomers here, there are many more but this is getting long already. More observations to chew on.
Mike Sutton
Last weekend we had sleet, hail and some snow flurries, Return Of Innocence was reblooming through it all, even survived the hail.

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