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Dear List,
          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

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