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Re: Bulb type iris

Chris writes

:Autumn is here!!! Time to plant for the early spring bloom.
:At present I've been planning a couple of new plantings of the very,
:very early blooming bulb type iris. Some Iris reticulata, Iris
:danfordiae. While at the store I came across a couple of types of what
:looked very much like variations of Iris reticulata. One was just
:labeled Harmony the other Violet Beauty.  Just wondering if anybody
:could tell me more about these two and/or others. Are there others?

Yes, Harmony and Violet Beauty are reticulata-type irises. Harmony is
my all-time favorite in this category: gorgeous wide petals and a
magnificent shade of spectrum blue. Early blooming, too. I recommend it
highly! Violet Beauty is later and darker, almost wine-colored. There
are perhaps a dozen different reticulata cultivars readily available
in commerce. Most bulb catalogs offer 5 or 6 at most, but the selection
varies from catalog to catalog. Park Seed, Van Bourgondien, Van Engelen,
and Dutch Gardens all offer some.

At my web site, you can see a picture of Violet Beauty blooming through
the snow, and there is also a picture of Joyce, which is almost identical
to Harmony but blooms later.

On a related subject, Kim Hawbaker wrote

:Also, what is the difference between dwarf iris that come in a
:bulb form and dwarf iris which come in a rhizome form?  Are they
:actually the same thing?

No, they are different. The ones from bulbs are reticulata irises,
which Chris referred to above. They bloom *very* early, along with
the crocuses, and come mostly in violet shades. The ones from rhizomes
are dwarf bearded iris (MDB or SDB), which bloom later in the spring
(perhaps a month before the TBs). This group is much more developed,
with literally hundreds of hybrids in commerce, all colors and patterns.

You can find pictures of both sorts at my gardening web site at
http://www.rt66.com/~telp/garden.htm (click on "Irises" and go from
there). There was also some good discussion of reticulatas in the
primordial days of Iris-L. Check the archives for February and March.

Cheers, Tom.

(who just planted 150 reticulata bulbs and 100 Dutch irises this


Tom Tadfor Little         tlittle@lanl.gov  -or-  telp@Rt66.com
technical writer/editor   Los Alamos National Laboratory
Telperion Productions     http://www.rt66.com/~telp/

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