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Re: NEW IRIS, WINNERS


In a message dated 96-07-15 13:11:53 EDT, you write:

>I have a number of irises in my new yard which put up plenty of nice green 
>leaves this year but had no flowers at all.
>
>

Depending on the area, climate, amount of sun and water, and time of
planting, sometimes irises will not bloom the first year after
planting...there is nothing to be alarmed about such an occurence.  Bearded
irises are normally strong bloomers, however, and cultivars which like your
soil and climate will, if planted in full sun, bloom well.

Sometimes certain iris cultivars will not produce a lot of bloom stalks...and
this is a fault if it is their general characteristic.  Judges will (should)
penalize such cultivars severely when assessing them. 

 There are other iris cultivars that are just not meant to be grown in
certain climates.  One of these irises is an historic cultivar (once regarded
as a separate species) called Iris cypriana.  This iris was one of tetraploid
irises collected in the Mediterranian area (in this case Cyprus), and used by
turn of the century iris breeders.  This is what the great Wm R. Dykes wrote
about this iris, and its close allies: "...they often suffer by reason of
their habit of beginning to grow in the autumn, only to have the growths
battered and broken, if not destroyed , by rough weather in the winter.  The
plants are then too feeble to flower in spring."

Fortunately, most of the offspring of I. cypriana and I. mesapotamica which
acted as Dykes described never got very far in the iris world.  However,
there is one class of irises which behaves just as Dykes described...and this
is the so called "warm weather" rebloomers.  Most of the cold weather
reblooming TBs have a strong heritage from  Iris trojana or the cultivar
"Amas" rather than from Ii. cypriana or mesapotamica.  The "cold weather"
rebloomers do wonderfully here in northern VA...but the "warm weather"
rebloomers are a major disaster. 

 Two good examples of "warm weather" rebloomers are JAUNTY TEXAN and CHIEF
HEMATITE.  When I try to grow them they behave just like Iris cypriana
behaved for Dykes.  They try to rebloom in the fall or early winter (but too
late...like late Nov or Dec).  They are in terrible shape come spring and do
not bloom.  Then next fall, the same cycle again!  Now these two irises do
fine in coastal California, and in areas that have warm and dry winters.  But
not here.

I'm sure I've told you much more than you wanted to know...and for that I
apologize...but you did ask!  :)  But keep in mind that most bearded irises
will bloom wonderfully for you...and the odds are great that if your
plantings get a lot of sun, they will do fine next year.  Clarence Mahan in
VA





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