Spanish iris

Eugene Zielinski
Wed, 30 Aug 2006 20:01:04 PDT
First, apologies for the delay in this response.  I've been busy with work
(and other things, but mostly work) and didn't have time for more than a
one line response to any e mail.
Jim McKenney asked "Where in Pennsylvania were you growing those English
irises?".  (I've included part of Jim's message below.)
A little bit of background:
On 7/20/06, as part of a message on bulbous iris, Jim wrote, "No one, to my
knowledge, has successfully grown English irises here in the middle Atlantic
Part of my response (7/22/06) was "Is Pennsylvania a mid-Atlantic state?" 
(According to wikipedia, it is -- along with New York, New Jersey,
Maryland, and Delaware.  Virginia and West Virginia are sometimes included.)
My English irises grew (and probably still grow) in central Pennsylvania,
not too far from State College and Penn State University.  This is the
Ridge and Valley region.  (To be specific, they grew in the last valley
before the Allegheny Plateau, which dominates the western part of the state
and gives Pennsylvania its coal mining reputation.)  Temperatures here are
cooler than those of the mid-Atlantic region in the southeast corner of the
state.  Winters are zone 5 or 6, and summer temperatures do get over 90 F,
but only for a few days in August.  The area also has a definite spring,
with generally cool temperatures into mid June.  I think this was a big
factor in the iris' performance.  My yard was fairly moist (Lobelia
siphilitica was almost a weed...), which may have helped.  Still, I'm
surprised at how well the irises performed.
Incidentally, the irises I grew were the common blue variety.  I did plant
some other varieties later, and they did nearly as well.

Eugene Zielinski
Augusta, Georgia

> [Original Message]
> From: Jim McKenney 
> Date: 7/23/06 12:19:08 PM
> Subject: RE: [pbs] Spanish iris
> Eugene Zielenski, in commenting on the culture of English irises, asked "
> Pennsylvania a mid-Atlantic state?  "
> In response, I would say depending on the context, maybe. 
> It seems that English irises have been grown successfully in New York
> and northward (I'm basing that partially on the account in Molly Price's
> Iris Book). 
> So to go back to Eugene's question, I would say that western Pennsylvania
> not for purposes of this discussion a middle Atlantic state. I had in mind
> the piedmont and coastal plain areas, the areas of the major, old cities
> this area. For horticultural purposes, the conditions in the physiographic
> provinces west of the piedmont are significantly different. The zones of
> similar conditions in this part of the country run roughly southwest to
> northeast. As you move westward, especially as you cross physiographic
> provinces, conditions change rapidly. 
> So my question for Eugene is "Where in Pennsylvania were you growing those
> English irises?"
> And I'll bet it was not on the coastal plain or piedmont. If it was,
> tell us more. 

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