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Re: siberians - questions

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: siberians - questions
  • From: CEMahan@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 15:36:52 -0700 (MST)

In a message dated 97-02-21 11:56:06 EST, you write:

<< Some that are close to being compost
 here are Lydia Winter, Gull's Way, Harbor Mist, King of Kings, and Wizard.
  Could the zone 4 shortened growth season affect these plants?  We are late
 to start and have killing frosts mid-September.   It is a rare year w/o a
 frost through October.
 Does Reprise really bloom for 7-8 weeks >>
Several people have responded to your message, Claire, so I shall try not to
be redundant.  About REPRISE and "preferential repeat bloom"---note the term.
 There are no true reblooming Siberians to date, and Dr. McEwen uses the term
"preferential repeat bloom" to describe the habit of some Siberian and
Japanese cultivars to put up a second crop of bloom stalks soon after the
first rush of bloom is finished.  Sometimes one may get one or more bloom
stalks a bit latter, and even from time to time in late summer or fall---but
don't expect this.  As a rule, the colder the climate the more likely you are
to get "preferential repeat bloom" on those cultivars that are prone to do

In northern Virginia, preferential repeat bloom on Siberians is "iffy" at
best.  The most likely  cultivar to expect it from is REPRISE.  I often get
it from REPRISE, but only two or three stalks.  The most likely Siberian
cultivar to get one or two late summer stalks from is the old but exquisite
MY LOVE (Many of McEwen's introduction have this iris in their
pedigrees---Currier used it heavily in breeding).  Preferential repeat bloom
is definitely climate related.  The coloder the area, the more likely one is
to get it on the cultivars which do it. 

Of the cultivars you listed as ready to throw out, there is only one that I
would try to stop you from pitching.   KING OF KINGS is a great white
Siberian, and really good grower, increaser and performer.  

HARBOR MIST, a lovely light blue, can do nicely but does not grow
consistently.  I find it more difficult to get rid of Siberian irises than
any other type, but I finally got tired of its inconsistent perfomance and
growth.  I pitched it. In the same color, ILLINI STARDUST is 100 percent
better to my way of thinking.

LYDIA WINTER I have never grown myself.  Have seen it growing and blooming,
but there are so many much nicer.  Why bother? My suggestion is to give its
space to something nicer. ILLINI FLIRT (or even the ubiquitous and I think
over-rated DANCE BALLERINA DANCE) are better in the pinkish amoena color

WIZARDRY is very, very beautiful, and Carol Warner seems to get it to do
fairly well.  I have had less than glorious success with it.  It has a
reputation of being a less than reliable grower and performer, and that is my
experience.  I have pitched it.  I much prefer SHIRLEY POPE (the iris and the
lady) which has a smaller flower but same garden effect re color.  

Now last, and most definitely least, GULLS WAY.  I bought it the year it was
introduced (so you know I paid a nice penny).  The man who introduced it
later said it might really be the wonderful, glorious ESTHER CDM, also a
McGarvey white.  (Dr. McGarvey was dead when GULL'S WAY was introduced, by
the way).  Well, the plant that was sent me was definitely not ESTHER CDM, or
even close.  Whether there is even a true GULL'S WAY seems questionable.  I
have now seen different irises growing under the name GULL'S WAY, and I think
the man who sold this iris originally  may have sent out different cultivars
under the same name---not one of the plants I have seen with the name GULL'S
WAY attached can come close to ESTHER CDM or KING OF KINGS in quality--so my
advice is to throw it out and get a good replacement.  
Clarence Mahan in VA, whose favorite Siberian iris is HIGH STANDARDS---the
best landscaping Siberian iris since CAEZARS BROTHER.

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