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CULT: rollercoaster freeze results, part 3, long

From: Linda Mann <lmann@icx.net>

Well, Rosalie, you may be the only lister who finds this totally
riveting, but here's some more..

After letting a few days of sun and balmy weather cheer up the irises a
bit, many of them look a lot better.  As I posted before, some of them
had already dropped most of their leaves before the really cold weather
hit (some dropped them last summer and are just now starting to grow new
ones).  These appear to be unaffected by the weather.  Add TOLL GATE to
that list.  Some late planted starts of a couple of clones of I.
reichenbachii, MAY have developed some discoloration from damage to the
very tips of the leaves - the leaves are so small (less than 1/2 inch)
that I can't tell if that's minor injury or dead tissue.

There seem to be two strategies that the 'evergreen' ones are using in
response to these alternating spells of 10oF nights/no snow or other
cover/clear sunny days and pouring rain/above freezing nights.  Some of
them seem to be able to cut their losses & abscise outer leaves & leaf
tips, which shrivel and dry, turning more or less greyish white (WHOLE
CLOTH, CAROLINE JANE, NEW SNOW), others kind of rot where injured,
turning black-streaked orange or reddish brown and sogging
(decomposition/rot) (BLUE RHYTHM (very little injury), ROSY WINGS
(zapped pretty hard).  These two patterns match the injury pattern that
I have seen from summer drought followed by deluge on my excessively
well-drained gravel soil - some have leaves that 'die grey/white' during
the drought & are not harmed later by getting 2 or 4 inches of rain,
while others don't exhibit any damage till after the 'flood', at which
point the 'orange scorch' sets in, often followed by soft-rot or other
rot of the rhizome.  If it's dry and the rhizome doesn't rot, the orange
'scorch' eventually results in black (rather than gray white) shriveled
outer leaves which I have used for years in taking notes in other
gardens as an indication of what will probably rot in my garden.

In my observations this winter, these two patterns of behavior don't
seem to correlate well with what these cultivars are doing next - some
of the fans on ones with the 'red scorch' are growing again in the warm
weather like nothing bad has happened to them & some of the ones with
'gray/white' have apparently taken a 'wait and see' attitude.  

These "behaviors" seem to be more clear-cut among the older cultivars -
more of an either/or than in some of the newer ones.

Amongst the newer stuff, Blyth's ELECTRIQUE is showing hardly any
damage, and several others of their introductions are doing almost as
[Speaking of which, for those who are wondering if it's ok to complain
on-list, I got chewed back in the early days for commenting on how
poorly most of Ghio, Keppel, and Blyth TBs do in this general area.  The
chewing out was for mentioning particular hybridizers, which was
perceived as trashing their work, rather than commenting on this
region's difficult growing conditions.  Very frustrating because
pictures of Ghio's intros match my idea of what TB flower form should
look like and Blyth intros have some absolutely gorgeous mixtures of
colors and patterns & I would love to be able to grow some of Keppel's
stuff.  Thanks to my complaint, I've gotten lots of help, especially
from Walter Moores, and some 'try these' from Lowell Baumunk, and now I
have a very healthy looking row of Blyth intros.  And I've also filled
my house with reams of charts of pedigrees trying to figure out which
cultivars I am most likely to succeed with next, regardless of

Other somewhat newer stuff that's either bouncing back from freeze
injury or not being affected much are a couple of intros from Lineberger
in SC (can't remember the names right now).  And the two 1998 intros
from Shriners - COUNTRY CHARM (which has been evergreen and seems unable
to make up its mind whether to go the grey/white or the orange/scorch
route) and TERRA COTTA (which dropped its older leaves in the fall and
now has giant nubbins of new growth that seem totally unaffected by the
cold/wet warm rollercoaster).  So far, Keppel's NIGHT GAME (he sent me a
huge triple-nosed bonus rhizome that I divided and planted in 3
different 'environments') is doing pretty well also (grey/white), both
out in the open gravel ground and in the new raised beds of real soil.

So, that's what the TBs are doing this winter.  Anything else folks
would like me to look at?  Lloyd - you probably already know this, but
IMMORTALITY seems to be pretty much growing every chance it gets, with
repeated gray/white injury to older leaves and leaf tips, while HARVEST
OF MEMORIES has pretty much shut down for the winter.  Both follow the
gray-white pattern of leaf injury.

The best/only way to get listers to change the subject is to change it

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA
perversely planning an order to the Michigan supplier of junk plants &
enjoying watching my plastic-baggie surviving 'mart irises grow

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