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Re: Bloom Report from West Virginia

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Bloom Report from West Virginia
  • From: Daryl/Kathy Haggstrom <hagg@alaska.net>
  • Date: Wed, 20 May 1998 13:14:13 -0600 (MDT)

Bill Shear wrote:
> My experience has been that regularly
> being moved is good for bearded irises, perhaps reflecting their heritage
> as plants that occur in earlier stages of succession in nature.  In other
> words, our favorite flower is just a bit weedy, and doesn't take well to
> competition!

Good Morning -

Just caught the above note re: plant succession. Is this the common
niche for all species of iris? I. setosa seems to be strongly this way.
In the wild they exist in areas that are one stage up from perennially
wet, but cannot withstand the competition of aggressive plants. In a
northern bog, when it begins to fill in, if an iris has established some
foothold, it will exist only until the grass smothers it (the common
tall Johnson's Grass), as the grass competes very aggressively in any
cleared or non-treed area with any type of plant. Setosa dwindles
rapidly in competition with trees, especially birch. They co-exist very

I didn't realize beardeds also occupied this niche. I have heard that
several species are woodland plants, coexisting with old growth trees,
etc. Is this true, or is the race basically an early succession plant?

Spring has blossomed here. The luckiest of the setosa around town are
6-8". I am looking for the first bloom in 10-15 days. I am finally
selling my first iris through a local greenhouse. It is very odd to see
them sitting there groomed in their pots at the nursery, each with
little tags and the big bright sign I made for display, with as big a
glowing picture as I could get on 8-1/2 by 11' behind them. It almost
makes them appear that their heritage is fancier than what it is. I did
not have as many for sale as I hoped, as my cranberry irises (my most
special) were hard hit by being inadvertantly "flash frozen" last
winter. Half of them made it, but some seem to have suffered root
damage, as the leaves have been standing at the same height for two
weeks - usually indicative of trauma. They may or may not make it, so I
am reserving those. And, my mother wants one, as also my sisters, my
daughter, my mother-in-law, my best friend and my neighbor. I MAY have
four to sell :-D. When I brought them into the nursery a week ago I felt
like I was selling my children. As I was leaving, I could almost hear
them saying "Kathy, where are you going? You aren't going to leave us
here are you?" I couldn't believe I was feeling guilty.

I plant my vegetable garden here when the birch leaves are as big as
squirrel's ears - that will be Memorial Weekend. So everything is on
schedule, no apparent El Nino effects it seems.

I flew over the wild iris flats in my area yesterday. There is driftwood
from the winter storms littering the place I land, so I'll have to go
over by boat just to clear the area, so I can land later. It'll be
pretty there no matter what my transportation - it's just comfier in the
plane, you understand. I don't have to cross the open inlet, which is
not quite as cozy by boat sometimes, because all I have is an open dory,
so it's just you and Mother Nature, however she is feeling that day :-)

Anyway, this is too long, and getting O.T.

Kathy Haggstrom
Anchorage, Alaska USA

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