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RE: Re: CULT: my favorites

From: "Title, CDR Lynn A." <titlel@spawar.navy.mil>

Well, I live in a suburb of Washington DC, famed for its hot, muggy summers;
it's supposed to be Zone 6A. My own microclimate gets less actual rainfall
than many areas around, but that doesn't cut the fug.  Therefore I'm always
fighting rot. The soil is acid clay, so I've built raised beds enriched with
horsemanure, rabbit feed, bonemeal and sand. But that doesn't get the plants
more sun; my house is called 'Squirrelheim' for the many tall oaks that
shade it -- most of my garden is shadebeds and even the irises and antique
roses, which argue over the best placements, get no more than half-day
afternoon sun.

  Under these less-than-ideal conditions for irises, and with little sunny
space available, I go for rebloomers as much as possible, to get more bang
for the buck. Here's what has worked for me -- remembering that I've only
been growing irises here for about four years. Enough caveats?

1.  EARL OF ESSEX (TB/RE) - vivid ruffled orchid plicata, reliable bloomer
spring and fall, grows like a fiend.  Five stalks up right now.

2)  GARDEN GRACE (TB/RE) - deep maroon plicata, also reblooms (but not yet
this year) also spreads like a weed. Elegant tailored blooms, with a simpler
form than many; I have it next to CRINOLINE which out-ruffles it by a
longshot, but isn't nearly so reliable. Wish CRINOLINE rebloomed for me - it
apparently does elsewhere.

3) CHILLED WINE (SIB) - tricolor blossoms just keep coming - wine with blue
and white flashing. Clarence Mahan gave me my cutting when I joined AIS four
years ago.

4) EWEN (SIB) - Rose and blue ruffles in a huge clump. Late bloomer, too, so
a season stretcher.

5) ELEANOR ROOSEVELT (BB/RE) - plum with bronze markings, also consistent

6) DUSKY CHALLENGER (TB) What can I say?

7) QUEEN IN CALICO (TB) - lovely and a little different; tea and maroon
plicata. I have this and ROCK STAR(TB/SA/RE) (similar, but horned) planted
with PRESTIGE ITEM between and a CORDELIA rosebush behind, all backed by a
red-brick wall, and the soft rose-tones echo beautifully.  	
8) SUMMER HOLIDAYS (TB/RE) - A continual parade of blue-violet ruffles -
only two years old, but rebloomed in September.

9) GRAPE ADVENTURE (TB/RE) - Deep violet with white eyezone. Crisp and

10) CRIMSON TIDE (TB)- Crown rosy-white laced lilac; velvety deep-plum falls
with lilac rim. Spicy-sweet scent. People come up to my desk to touch this
one to make sure it's not fake -- a gorgeous, decadent flower. 

That's all I can really recommend for the moment, though there are several
others I'm watching to see how well they withstand our on-again-off-again
winters (70 degrees one day, thirty the next):

- RONEY'S ENCORE (TB/RE) - rich yellow, peach flush on shoulders, red beard,
from Ginny & Don Spoon. Another spicy-scented bloom; a single stalk perfumed
my whole house.  Fell in love with it at last fall's rebloomer show; too
soon to see how well it does for me.

- MASTER TOUCH - dark purple with blue streak on haft.

- MARANATHA; TEMPER TANTRUM - two SIBs that come well-recommended, both deep
violets. Both have produced good-sized clumps in one summer -- let's see how
they bloom next Spring.

  This was fun! Hope it helps...


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