Dear PBSers, We seem to be in some sort of global weirding untold story. We have been in various stages of drought (currently severe) for over 170 days. No serious rain since April and hottest summer on record. Our water bills have been highest on record, too. Now even as we cool off it is all relative. We just had a few days around 70 F and only a few days of freezing nights including down to 16 F once briefly. All very odd for this area. Even so our established plant of the Algerian Iris, Iris unguiculares has put up its first bloom this weekend and shows numerous buds ready to pop. We've grown this plant through 3 winters now and are amazed that it manages to persist at all, let alone bloom. We will eventually give it a winter mulch if and when the temps ever settle down to expected lows. Iris unguiculares is usually considered a Zone 7 or 8 plant. So growing it all in our Zone 5/6 garden is pushing it. It has flowered well anywhere from Dec to Feb. Our variety is the old favorite 'Mary Barnard' considered a free blooming variety. We have it within two feet of the south side of the unheated garage, but next to a concrete edged patio. It has multiplied well and remains solidly evergreen. Still seems very odd to see this blooming now and here. Anyone else grow and bloom this in Zone 5 or 6? Best Jim W.