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Re: SPEC: OT: reticulata and the sequence

  • Subject: Re: SPEC: OT: reticulata and the sequence
  • From: "Dennis Kramb" <dkramb@tso.cin.ix.net>
  • Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 13:02:56 -0500

From: "Dennis Kramb" <dkramb@tso.cin.ix.net>

>Donald Eaves asked about I. reticulata and culture/persistance.  The
>first year of irislist there was a LOT of discussion about reticulata
>and danfordiae, including what the native habitat was/is, and how the
>growers manage to mass produce them and yet many of us can't get them to
>live for more than one bloom season. There was speculation that they
>need moist, but well-drained, fertile sandy soil.
>I have three 'clumps' of reticulata that have been alive for more than 5
>yrs and bloom every spring.  The dont' multiply, but are still there.  I
>experimented year before last with some raised beds and a 5 gallon tub
>filled with mostly fine creek sand and silt, well-fertilized and kept
>watered, planted with both reticulata and danfordiae.  From the local
>'mart.  They were pretty spectacular the first year and pretty pathetic
>this year.  At least one of the danfordiae returned.  I don't remember
>seeing any bloom in the big tub, & I'd guess half in the raised bed
>didn't return.
>Do the bushytailed rats eat them?  If so, that may be where some of them
>went - they were rooting around all thru that bed burying digging up

Dear Linda, what a great email about danfordiae and reticulatas!  I wanted
to throw in my two cents, where appropriate.

I don't know the full natural habitat range of these bulbous irises, but I
know that they are generally found in southwest Asia in places like Turkey,
and that they come from the mountains.  So you are right in that they need
fast draining soil, but they also require a constant supply of moisture. 
Your description in your top paragraph was right on the money.

Apparently these things can be planted anywhere from a depth of 2" to 8". 
When planted shallow, they tend to divide into many bulblets and so you will
get increases quickly, but these increases can take years to bloom again. 
When planted deeply, for some unknown reason, they tend not to divide. 
Therefore you get no increases, but you retain mature bulbs that will bloom
year after year.

There's a guy up in Canada, Al McCurtrie (spelling?), who I corresponded
with at great length a few months ago.  He hybridizes these types of irises
and is the best "expert" on them that I know of.  If you'd like to get in
contact with him, email me off-list, and I'll let you know how.  Oh, by the
way, he also sells his creations and puts out a new catalog each year.

OH!  And I almost forgot.......bushy tailed rats do not eat mine.  But then,
they've never eaten my tulips before either, and I know for a fact that
tulip bulbs are gourmet squirrel food.  Best to plant them deeply if your
squirrels are a big problem.

Dennis Kramb (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, USDA Zone 6)
Irises & Native Wildflowers URL:  http://home.fuse.net/dkramb/home.html

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