Re: eye of the beholder (was TB: Success of Assorted TB in Zone 5b)
I agree with John Reed about SA Irises, and thought he made some good
comments. I know this could get me hung from a tree (or a really tall
modern Iris?), but I feel that way, not only about weird appendages
sticking out of flowers that to me make them look deformed, but I also feel
that way about double flowers, overly ruffly flowers, standards sticking
out to the side like pasted on carbboard, etc. That makes me one of those
oddballs that actually things the old fashioned bearded Iris are (in
general) much prettier than most of the modern ones. It is indeed all "in
the eye of the beholder".
I have a hunch I wouldn't do too well as a hybridizer of bearded Iris these
days, I'm about 70 years behind the times in my tastes. I'm the same with
Daylilies, Peaonies, Roses, and just about everthing else too. But then I
love Pricklypears, so what can I say!
Oh, and on Zone 5 Iris. I grew up in Colorado, mostly in USDA Zone 5 (Ft.
Collins, Berthoud, Loveland, Julesburg, Sterling, Wellington, Walden [zone
3 I think], etc.), and Zone 5 in Colorado is an absolutely ideal climate
for almost all Bulbous, Bearded and Spuria Iris. The few Arils I tried
thrived too, but I don't remember their names. I wasn't very good at
keeping track of things back then. I was just growing neat plants; didn't
care about the names.
I never planted a Bearded, Bulbous, or Spuria that didn't grow, flower and
thrive. I. missouriensis is native, and did well even down on the Plains
in the "hot country", as long as you didn't plant it in sand. My
Grandfather planted a few of the earliest really orange TB's, and they
didn't do very well, but I blamed that on the Iris, not the climate. Even
on rare years when it got to -30 F or colder, not one of the Iris I grew
failed to survive or even to flower the next spring. As for some other
types of Iris, particularly those that like cool days in summer, moist soil
and air, and low PH; well, those were more difficult. However, Louisianas,
Japanese, and most other water Iris, Siberians, Pacific Coast, and I.
missouriensis handled the temperatures there just fine, and most would grow
quite well if you paid attention to their special needs. Regrettably I
don't have notes from back then that will nail down any really super dooper
outstanding cultivars. As for Junos, Crested, and some of the more
tropical groups, I never had experience with them in Colorado.
Down here in New Mexico, it's a bit hotter; I'm no longer in Zone 5; and
some Iris do better, while most stress out in the summer more here. The
rebloomers perform better down here though. I never had an Iris rebloom in
Colorado, not even Eleanor Roosevelt. Of course I never did anything to
encourage it either; didn't know they could do that! I never saw an Iris
flower out of season until I moved to Albuquerque in 1982.
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