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Re: SIB: Sources

From: GWhite & LRader <bentfork@navix.net>

Hello Janet,

The siberian iris "AUGURY"  is a lovely little thing indeed.  Its also one
of my favorites.  It, however, was hybridized by Dr. William McGarvey not by
Steve Varner.  "Augury" was registered and introduced in 1973, so its got a
few years on it but is certainly a keeper.  It also won the Morgan Award in
1979.  The Morgan Award was the highest award a siberian could attain at
that time (except for the Dykes Medal - which in the US has never been won
by a siberian iris).  The late Dr. McGarvey had about 30 siberians to his
credit.  In addition to Augury, I also grow Dewful, Maggie Smith, Gull's
Wing,  Pink Haze, Super Ego, and Wing On Wing by Dr. McGarvey and would
recommend all of them.

Steve Varner has also introduced a large number of siberians (I counted 57
registered by him as listed in the 1997 cumulative check list of Siberian
Irises).  I grow a number of Varner siberians and they are all very nice
irises.   Dance Ballerina Dance, Demure Illini, Dutch, King of Kings,
Maranatha, Pirate Prince, and Steve are some Varner siberians that I grow
and would highly recommend.  Some of these have also won the Morgan-Wood
Medal (the highest sectional award for siberians since 1985).  Both Dance
Ballerina Dance and King of Kings won this award and both are wonderful
irises IMHO.

As to sources of siberians, there are many good choices out there.  I have
sometimes bought directly from the hybridizer.  For instance Steve Varner, I
believe, still sells his irises by mailorder.  I ordered some from him in
the past and was well pleased.  Many other hybridizers offer their
introductions by mail also (Schaffer/Sacks   Joe Pye Weeds Garden is another
example).  I also have ordered from Draycott Gardens and from Iris City
Gardens among others and was very pleased with the plants I received.  I
have found that most growers of siberian irises give nice divisions and work
hard to keep your business and make you happy.

As to Klehm Nursery, I have also ordered from them, but not irises.  Its
been a few years since I ordered from them, however.  As others have
mentiioned, Klehm Nursery is a very large and well known perennial nursery
in Illinois.  Their strong specialty is peonies and they are very well known
and respected in the peony world.  The nursery has been in business for well
over 100 years (since 1852) and is known internationally for their fine
peony creations.  This is not to say, however, that peonies are all that
they do.  They also introduced daylilies and hostas and offered a large
selection of these in their big colorful catalog along with the outstanding
peonies that they are most known for.  I believe they introduced daylilies
by Brother Carl Rekamp and by James Marsh from the Chicago area.  In
addition to these, they offered a nice collection of siberian irises as well
as some tall beardeds and some other companion perennial plants in the past
(My last catalog is a few years old also).  I have ordered both peonies and
daylilies from them and was very impressed by the plants that they sent and
also by the bonuses included.    As others have noted, however, their iris
prices were elevated somewhat, and there are much better sources for irises.

I agree with Anner on peonies.  I have 25 peony cultivars (mostly older
ones, - but then, who doesn't have older peony varieties?) and would have
many more if I had the space.  ....And peonies are superb companion plants
to siberian irises.

It sounds as though you have been bitten by the siberian iris bug and I
would encourage you to also try some of the other varieties that are
available.  Some of the new creations by Bob Hollingworth or Schaefer/Sacks
or others are very beautiful and are showing us a hint of what is to come in
siberians in the future as well.  One of my favorites is Roaring Jelly by
Schefer/Sacks.  It is a big prolific red/purple/maroon dappled siberian that
is magnificent in a large clump.

Gary White
Lincoln, Nebraska where there's still a couple of JI blooming and the
daylilies are putting on a pretty spectacular show.

Janet Yang wrote:

>     I should have gone back to the tried-and-true plants
> favored by my neighbors, but it was too late. One of the
> nurseries, Klehm, had sent a free plant with my order: Iris
> 'Augury' by Steve Varden. I'd never seen an iris cultivar up
> close, but in subtlety and beauty this one beat ordinary
> SIberian irises all to bits. I was hooked.
>     Hello, my name is Janet, and I'm a plant collector.
> Janet
> P.S. What do you think of Klehm Nursery's irises?
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