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Bad form (was "Colonies" vs. "Little England")

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Bad form (was "Colonies" vs. "Little England")
  • From: bills@tiger.hsc.edu (Bill Shear)
  • Date: Tue, 25 Feb 1997 09:55:06 -0700 (MST)

I, too am a fan of somewhat smaller flowers with better garden qualities.
But it does seem to me that in America at least, what the major growers are
selling is the size and color of the individual flower.  If one looks
through a Schreiners or Cooleys catalog, one sees only "mug shots"  of
individual flowers, almost never a view of how the plant would look in the
garden (many years ago Schreiners at least would have some photos of

One of the great dangers presently is of TB iris becoming only collector's
items, rather than plants the "ordinary" gardener would want.

To some extent, I think this is built in to the TB gene pool.  My
impression is that the TB species are mostly what we would consider "late
pioneer" species ecologically, that are invaders of somewhat disturbed
habitats (hence their need to be divided  and reset frequently in gardens).
They may generally disappear from mature environments like a closed-canopy
deciduous forest.  Hence they do not respond well in gardens to crowding
(pioneers are not good competitors in a crowded environment) and rapidly
decline if they are not dug and reset every few years (the equivalent of
entering a new disturbed environment).  All ths is perfectly speculative of
course since I have no real data on the ecology of the species!

Best wishes, Bill
William A. Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943 USA
phone (804) 223-6172
FAX (804) 223-6374

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