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Re: CAT: iris addiction

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: CAT: iris addiction
  • From: Henryanner <Henryanner@aol.com>
  • Date: Wed, 27 May 1998 07:13:47 -0600 (MDT)

Tammy King asked:

<<  I do have a question though, for the listers about this. I'm not trying to
be tooo nosy here, but those of you who are just starting out, do you find
yourself with a huge list? Am I one of those "I want it all, and I want it
now" types and alone, or is this normal? >>

I think it is normal, Tammy, but not necessary inevitable, or necessarily the
path to greatest long range enjoyment. 

In the last analysis the things that will determine how many irises you have
in your garden will be your space, your cultural conditions, your pocketbook,
and your sustained level of interest. When the bug hits folks they get crazed
and want everything and lots of it and want it all now. Some folks with the
resources continue to buy in this manner, or mooch in this manner, but for
most of us reality intervenes, or we begin to realize that not all irises are
equally lovely or interesting, and we begin to slow down, and look more
closely, and select more carefully. As in any aesthetic enthusiasm, there is a
period in the life of a novice--hopefully--in  which the eye, and mind, is
being educated and the personal tastes refined. For those of us with smaller
gardens, or other limited resources, the lessons are learned earlier. And this
is a fortunate thing, because we then pass out of the phase where--and I am
going to crib from the late great Henry Mitchell, garden writer of dear
memory--the phase where we feel that life will be nothing but one long agony
if we cannot manage to fit another three hundred irises into the garden right
this very instant.

I would say this to you, because there are plenty of others who will tell you
to just go hog wild and I don't think that is the way that leads to really
deep enjoyment. First, there is a great deal to be said for seeing the iris in
bloom before you add it to your collection. This is not always possible, and
one does like some surprises and some new introductions, and catalog pictures
and copy are seductive, so order some stuff. But realize you don't have to get
them all at once, and, indeed, while you are learning it may be better to move
carefully until you get the hang of actually growing them. And realize that
you can enjoy things without having to grow them all yourself. Visit gardens
and shows and look and be delighted there. And above all, remember that the
season is fairly short, so grow several typs, and never grow more that you can
give your best attention to.You will want to be able to spend some time with
each plant when it is in bloom and enjoy its uniqueness, and you will want to
have only so many as you can care for lovingly and well throught the growing
year. They deserve no less.

I surprise even those who know I have a small space by saying I intend to get
it down to the best and most beautiful three dozen bearded irises, give or
take, not counting some new stuff which will certainly come and go. But this
is true. My garden, you see, would hold more, and lots more if I took
everything else out of it. But not all irises are equal, or necessary to one's
happiness, and pursuing quality not quantity is also a perfectly viable course
for the passionate iris lover to take.

Anner Whitehead, Richmond,VA  USA Zone 7
Henry Hall   Henryanner@aol.com





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