It seems that each year the BBG (Brooklyn Botanical Gardens) gives
over more and more of their already inadequately sized Iris garden to
peonies. I also noticed some mention of peony flowers on this list. How did
this association of Iris and Peony come about? There also seems to be a tie
in with daylilies among some quarters of this list.
For many years I didn't know about any other kind of Iris other than the UPI
(ubiquitous purple Iris) that many Brooklynites think are very pretty weeds.
The BBG's Iris garden changed that for me and for a few years between 1988
and 1992 I learned to time the arrival of the Iris. I did not visit the park
any other time. There were no peonies then but over time they have come to
dominance and I did not visit the Iris garden this year, not that I don't
like the Peonies I am slowly warming to them but...
Anyway, I wish to submit for your consideration as a possible companion
plant (if indeed any is needed) to Iris, a plant I have just discovered last
week. It is growing and blooming in a front yard in the neighborhood to
which I have just moved. I have tried to inquire of the homeowners what kind
of plant it is but have yet to find anyone at home. I have described it at
length to a friend and he believes I have discovered Hollyhock. Rodale's
encyclopedia describes Hollyhock pretty much as I have seen it but alas no
illustration. Elsewhere on the Net I have seen references to Alcea rosacea
but without illustration or illustrations of the flowers only, which are in
fact rather Peony-like in the double flower varieties. However they take up
less than 1/5 of the space a peony needs. They are vertical bloomers, like
I would like to "talk further" about Hollyhock to anyone who might know
something about them. Most likely by private e-mail. I would also like to
know if anyone thinks BBG could be influenced to (re)expand their Iris
collection, perhaps by relocating the present Iris garden.
Howard A. Ashley