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HIST: REB: SPEC: Blooming January 3 in Richmond VA

After unusually low temperatures in the first week of December, terrible  
times, we in Richmond have enjoyed a warm and wet holiday season.  New Year's Day 
brought steady rains to about three inches total,  and daytime temperatures 
have generally been above 50F, even 60F, for some  days. We see this from time 
to time at this season, although rarely for so  sustained a stretch as this; 
accordingly, it is glorious, but rather  unsettling. I wish you could see the 
Like many in this area, I take my exercise on Monument Avenue, a grand  
residential boulevard lined by brick and stone mansions from the turn of  the 
century and punctuated by monumental statues, preponderantly of heroes of  the 
Civil War. A walk from my home and from one end of the historic portion  of the 
promenade to the other is almost exactly three miles. There is a  good deal to 
see, and to think about.   
For some time now on my walk I have been watching a stalk that emerged from  
a streetside planting of bearded iris rhizomes, a planting  overgrown and 
surprisingly ungroomed, frankly, given the ultra posh  locale. The plant is on the 
South side of the street where, in  addition to being peed on by untold 
numbers of dogs, it has  been receiving a great deal of sunlight and reflected  
warmth. Today, the bud began to open and, as I had  surmised, it is clearly Iris 
pallida, or something pretty closely  related. 
Blooming at a height of three feet, on a straight stem with two very  short 
branches, no visible PBF, wholly scarious spathes, the plant has put  forth an 
apparently undamaged lavender blossom with a beard conspicuously tipped  
yellow. There is a mild fragrance of grapes. It is almost  certainly a diploid, 
although, interestingly, the foliage short for  pallida. ...but who is to say 
what is normal in these situations? 
Today the flower was still opening. It will be interesting to see what  it 
looks like when fully expanded. 
Anner Whitehead
Richmond VA USA USDA Zone 7, Urban

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