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PCNs & Arils in NM

From: Sharon McAllister <73372.1745@compuserve.com>

Message text written by INTERNET:iris-talk@onelist.com
>       Tenex will grow up in the mountains and does naturally fairly close

to Mt. Rainier. It grows along I-5 in WA State as far north as
then it goes east and west from there. Colin Rigby thinks it has more to do

with the soil than the temp. I live about 60 miles north of there and it 
reseeds readily. Growing from seed does seem to be the most reliable way to

get PCN to grow in unknown or difficult areas. Luella Danialson who lives
New Mexico did grow them in a shaded situation. I don't know if she still 
does but she has also said she has an Aril which even in her high desert 
situation she hangs on the fence during the summer to make sure it stays
and dry enough. Some people will try any type iris just for the trial and 

There's a narrow mountain range between us, but  very little difference in
our climates, so I'm probably the one in the best position to elaborate on
this subject. 

Lu has grown PCNs in a lathe house -- very impressively, in fact.  But to
put this in perspective, a lathe house is  the best way to grow many things
here.    My only successful experiment in producing rebloom on TBs involved
a lathe house AND a position that took advantage of a window left open to
vent an evaporative cooler. Even some of the northern and high-altitude
arils respond favorable to this type of protection.

I don't know of any arils for which we can't provide enough heat <G>, but
some are native to areas with even less annual rainfall than we have, and
none of it during their summer dormancy -- which happens to coincide with
our rainy season.  These are the ones that must be protected from any
summer rain.  Lu hangs them IN THE SHADE to keep them high & dry.    My own
solution has been to grow them in very large pots that can be moved to a
sheltered area for the summer.  

Lu & I are both fascinated by the diversity of the aril species and
committed to maintaining a comprehensive gene pool.  The hybrid vigor that
can be produced by crossing a mountain species with one that's native to
the southern deserts is nothing short of amazing.  That's where good
breeders and, ultimately, gardenable hybrids come from.  

Sharon McAllister

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