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CULT:Survey List - Favorites

From: rdhager@dmv.com

I considered posting a list of favorites, but was finally pushed over
the edge by Anner's chiding. (Thanks, Anner!)

I. ensata. The best things about Japanese irises are WHEN they bloom and
strangely enough, their limited color palette. Their show marks the end
of the spring parade of irises and what a grand finale it is! Putting
together an attractive collection of JI is very easy, because the colors
are limited to red and blue and white PIGMENTS, with just enough yellow
contrast in the signal to make the colors incredibly vibrant. This
results in white, pink, blue, blue-violet and red-violet colors. Two or
more JI planted in close proximity always look good together. The colors
never clash.

My favorite selections of long standing are:
'Iapetus' This selection grows a little shorter than most, so it can fit
well in the mixed border. The depth of its color is almost unbelievable.

'King's Court' This big tall beet red flower with white veining is
unmistakable. It also blooms over a long period.
'Taga Sode' Another red with bold white veins.
'Springtime Snow' This is my first JI to bloom each year and
surprisingly, it has occasionally had bloomstalks as late as 6 weeks
into the bloom season.
'Great White Heron' Perhaps the biggest and droopiest JI that I grow.
Without a doubt, it is the most commanding in the garden, blooming at 5'
or taller with a huge flower that draws you to it.
 'Leave Me Sighing' Just the name is enough to make you fall for this
Payne Award winner. It is a lilac pink self that puts on quite a show.

I. versicolor. I find these plants to be quite forgiving, growing in a
range from standing water to fairly dry garden conditions, but
definitely prefering it a little on the wet side.
'Mysterious Monique' The best photograph cannot capture the beauty of
this little wonder.
'Kermesina' This cultivar is a heavy bloomer, but its color is not as
intense as 'Mysterious Monique'.

Siberians. Culture of siberians is difficult for me because of light
sandy soils, voles and living in Zone 7. There are some that do very
well though.
'Sparkle' This flower is similar to 'Shaker's Prayer', but the
bloomstalk is shorter and it just blooms better for me.
I. sanguinea 'alba'. This is a tenative identification, but the
advantage of this heavy bloomer is that it performs in the southeast. I
got it through We-Du years ago as I. tridentata. Oops. I crossed it with
some other Siberians it this year--should be interesting.
'Teal Velvet' This tetraploid is a great grower for me, though I have it
in a location that one would be more inclined to plant I. laevigata!

I. tectorum. I grow both a blue and white form. The white blooms more
profusely, but the blue is more stunning. Go figure. They require very
little care and I wouldn't want to have to choose between them.

I. cristata. My favorite is a blue, sold by Nancy Godwin before she
closed Montrose Garden as 'dark form'. It is dark--and a wonderful
harbinger of spring, though it doesn't bloom as profusely as the white

Interspecies crosses. It is obvious that some interspecies crosses are
destined to become legends, and rightfully so.
'Paltec' This plant is incredibly easy to grow and quite forgiving. If I
were to have only one historic, this would be it.
'Enfant Prodige' This plant has the heavy branching of the versicolors
and blooms over an incredibly long season.

I. pseudacorus. Common as it may be, this little yellow flower has
played a big role in history. Fortunately, tetraploidy has made it just
a little better. I've posted to this group before about the "little
yellow flower", so I won't bore you with that at this point.
'Beuron' is a large flowered tet, but after the flower has faded, it's
strapping blue foliage commands a presence that surpasses many of the
select ornamental grasses.

Didn't see any TB's on my list? I do grow some, but not a one of them
has ever made me stop to ponder its beauty the way that my these
favorites have.

R. Dennis Hager
on Delmarva

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