Feeling Lucky

James Waddick jwaddick@kc.rr.com
Sat, 12 Mar 2011 19:21:37 PST
Dear PBSers,
	Isn't it nice when something finally works out.? How many 
times have a I planted seeds or bought plants of I unguiculares? I've 
transplanted seedlings to all different spots in the garden and they 
all succumb to winter cold or wet.

	Two years ago I got yet another plant of I. unguiculares 
'Mary Barnard' ( also spelled as 'Mary Bernard'). This is a wild 
collected named selection, but may just be a typical  looking cv. 
The flowers are pale silvery lilac on the outside, but open to rich 
blue violet on the inside of the petals. It can bloom in its more 
amenable Zone 7 and warmer from late fall through early spring. It 
should not be hardy in my Zone 5/6 garden.

	Regardless, I planted this latest addition in yet a new spot 
near the garage foundation and mulched it with leaves to cover. 
Something that is ill advised since it retains moisture. I did remove 
the leaf mulch covering 'too early" or at least before one should 
uncover sensitive plants, but I wanted it to stay dry - ish.

	Today after two days of 'teasing' in cool damp days, the sun 
came out strong and so did two large flowers - a first for my Kansas 
City garden. I know it is not something rare or special, but it is a 
difficult plant to grow and bloom in my conditions. I do not have any 
deception that it will prove long term and hardy without a lot of 
special care, treatment and timing, but all the pieces cam together 
and I finally got flowering.

	The closely related I lazica seems also to have made it 
through another winter and I look forward to its first bloom too. Now 
all I need to get is I cretensis for a trifecta of this series of 
irises. Anyone with a plant of I cretensis to spare? Some folks seem 
to confuse these three species as they are the only species in this 
Iris Series. Fritz Kohlein in his book 'Iris'  mentions how this 
confusion is only the result from someone not actually seeing the 
live plants. The foliage and form are very different indeed to share 
some distinctive floral characters. At least I know what the plants 
look like even if they are a challenge to grow.

	One down, two to go... so feeling pleased on a warm sunny 
pre-spring day in Kansas City. Whew!

			Best	Jim W.
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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