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Species irises


In reply to the request for species irises that are easy to grow, I thought 
that a response from Ottawa might be of interest as the climate here is 
somewhat more severe than in most of N.Am., excluding of course Alberta 
which has been at about -43C for the last couple of weeks!  I am unsure if 
Ottawa is at the bottom end of zone 4 or the top end of zone 3, probably the 
former but it depends where one is as the microclimates in the region are 
quite different.  I am sure that if it grows here it will grow anywhere in 
almost any of the cold regions.  

The following species have all flowered for me and that almost all of them 
have been grown from seed.  The success rate when one starts from seeds is 
much higher than when starting from plants.

Successes       versicolor (an abundant local species)
                pumila
                lutescens
                reichenbachii
                pseudocorus 
                variegata (and the violet/white form)
                ensata
                laevigata
                virginica (known to grow within a 100 miles)
                cristata (grows well once established)
                tectorum (grows very well, never flowers, but flowers
                                        for a friend ten miles away!!)
                spuria

        and from bulb not seed
                reticulata 
                danfordiae
                bucharica 

I have also grown a lot of other species from seed but they have not yet 
reached the flowering stage.  It is taking me about 4 years from planting to 
flowering. 

I really enjoyed Tom Dillard's account of cristata.  It was excellent. I 
should note, however, that his story of a trip to the woods (in which 
country, Turkey?) with a young girl was probably to collect reticulata not 
danfordiae, that is, if his memory of the species was a blue not yellow 
flower.  Knowing the state that I was in when I went collecting with young 
girls, I would imagine that the colour could have been confused. As an 
example, on a first date, I took a first year Engish major university 
collecting for animals from the mud of a local river.  She ended up wet and 
covered in mud, her pants badly torn, and not in the best of humour!  The 
final outcome was that we have been married now for 37 years!   


               
Ian E. Efford
avocet@worldlink.ca
Ottawa zone 3






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