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Hello to everyone on Iris-Chat!
I'm new to the Internet, having signed up in early August.  I think I subscribed to Iris-Chat two weeks later.  I've enjoyed the debates on chemical and non-chemical pest controls, and the discussions regarding limiting the number of entries at iris shows. 
I live in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, zone 5b, on a farm.  Winchester, Va., is about an hour and a half away, downtown Washington, D.C. about three and a half hours driving almost due east.  The soil here is heavy brown clay.  Last spring frost averages May 10th, first fall frost September 25th.  Precipitation equals about 36 inches of rain per year; spring rainfall is almost always ample but summer rainfall can be erratic.  We grow field corn as a cash crop and about 2 out of every 10 years it fails to produce enough to cover costs because of drought.
Many different types of iris grow in this climate with little or no coaxing.  The bearded iris are best adapted, probably, because they mind not one whit when rain is not forthcoming in the middle of summer.  Vigorous TBs, MTBs, IBs and SDBs all do well for me.  Many local cemeteries have clumps of old diploids that survive nicely from year to year.
Once they become established, Spurias and Siberians do almost as well.  I don't have access to much supplemental water, so my garden is usually too dry for Lousiannas and Japanese.  If the soil is amended with cow manure it makes an excellent support for Siberians, LAs and Japs, so I am confident that a gardener with more water and more energy could grow all the major beardless groups here, easily.
This would be an almost ideal location for an iris garden if it weren't for that little monster, the iris borer.
My favorite classes are the TBs and MTBs.  In the last few years I have become more intrigued by the Siberians because of the recent hybridizing advancements in color, and the staunch commitment to the diversity of flower forms--  light and airy to broad and ruffled.
I have a couple questions:
    1.  Does anyone have experience with the nematodes touted to control iris borer larva?  If they have been effective in reducing borer populations to non-damaging levels, when and how should they be used?  Are any strains superior to any others?
    2.  Which one is the 'bluest' blue Siberian?
    3.  Does anyone  think that it would be a good idea to create another A.I.S. class, to be used for those MTBs that are really much too large for their class (i.e., Little Bay Denoc) and for those diploidy looking TBs that look like cemetery iris?

  • Follow-Ups:
    • Re: Sib
      • From: Debby Wheeler <foxbrook@javanet.com>

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