Dutch irises (was Blooming now)

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Wed, 19 Jul 2006 10:50:55 PDT
Jim McKenney wrote about how a Dutch xiphium Iris hybrid responded to a 
hot, dry summer in his garden.

I think Jim's right about the preferences of these irises, but I also think 
that the different ones commercially available have different levels of 
winter hardiness (they are winter-growing and spring-blooming). The one he 
described, 'Bronze Beauty', is the best performer of the half dozen or so 
varieties I've tried, here where winters are colder than Xiphium species 
generally experience in the wild. Mine don't get a completely dry summer (I 
occasionally water the bed where they grow) but it is very well drained and 
has a full south exposure.

I also grow several wild species in this section in the bulb frame, and was 
pleased that Iris xiphium itself flowered this spring (after being 
subjected to a colder than normal winter, too). In general the species are 
more slender and delicate in appearance than the hybrids, with less 
substantial flowers.

On a side note to Mary Sue's post that began this discussion, Gladiolus 
tristis is indeed night-fragrant, and I think I wrote in the past that the 
flowers, when cut and brought into the house, retain this pattern of 
releasing their fragrance at night, even in a room with little daylight -- 
a truly mysterious process.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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