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Re: Higher elevations

S&RWilliams wrote:
> I'm curious as to what irises are successful at higher elevations -
> 7,000, 8,000, 9,000. Any ideas?
> Sheryl in Delta Co 5,100 ft.

Hi, Sheryl:

I'm just outside Evergreen, alt. 7,400'. All sizes & types of bearded 
irises grow & bloom well here &, in my personal experience, in 
Georgetown at 8,619' -- don't know what the "upper limits" might be. 
Evergreen is Zone 4, Georgetown is 3 & has an official growing season of 
only 88 days! I have seen blooming TBs in Leadville, which I think is 
about 9,000' -- the flowers don't come til July there, as I recall.

Siberians also do well here tho I have yet to have any flower myself -- 
I planted a bunch late last summer & more in mid-summer this year. The 
clumps all appear happy & healthy but haven't decided that flowering is 
the thing to do. I'm hopeful for spring/summer '98. I've seen Siberians 
blooming heartily in the local area (inc. a large clump in a 
long-abandoned garden just down the road from me) & they seem undaunted 
by high alt. as long as they get plenty of sun, sufficient moisture & 
decent drainage -- I'm giving the Sibs somewhat more water than the TBs, 
MBs & SDBs but otherwise treating them the same.

As for bulbous irises, the only ones I grow are the little Snow Iris 
(Iris reticulata), which seem happy as can be & are coming back 
faithfully, blooming at my place in late April or so. Haven't noticed 
any increase in them but haven't had them all that long either. I just 
planted another 100 of these & added many, many species tulips (Tulipa 
batalinii, T. linifolia & T. praestans unicum) to those I planted last 
year -- they're great. 

I wouldn't attempt LAs here -- too cold -- nor "Dutch", "English" or 
Spanish iris for the same reason & I don't have the rich, moist soil 
that JIs & PCNs seem to require. My rocky dry soil doesn't know from 
"leaf mold"...

The wild iris in Colorado is I. missouriensis, the gorgeous veined-blue 
Field Lily that blankets pastures & low spots where the snow lingers 
late in the spring. I have forbidden myself & all in my hearing to 
attempt transplanting these but hope sometime to capture some seed & see 
if I can grow them that way. Unlike I. versicolor & I. setosa, this one 
doesn't demand wet conditions except for that brief period in the 
spring, will grow & spread in otherwise terrible soil. I love 'em.

Marte in the mtns	Zone 4/Sunset 1  Colorado  Another sunny, 
warmish day -- got a lot done outside & am feeling pleased with myself!

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