Pacific Coast Iris - best time to transplant?

Sun, 03 Feb 2013 18:41:26 PST

You are probably referring to the hybrids of Joe Ghio. When I worked at RSA
we bought in large lots of his *rejects* and they were simply dazzling:
deep burgundy falls with bright golden yellow streaks, brilliant periwinkle
blues, just as you describe. They seemed to have more colors than should be
possible in Pacific irises. The catch is that these are not the irises you
have seen sprinkled around Rancho. The latter are from a variety of sources
and are mostly older established varieties like 'Canyon Snow'. Not least
among these is an experimental planting of hybrids by Dr. Lee Lenz,
Director Emeritus of RSA. These grew indefatigably in heavy mesa soil in
full sun. As you know that is a hot climate. These were very rugged plants
with less floral variation but many showy clones, especially in the blue
range. The foliage is broader and lighter green than the Ghio hybrids,
which seem to be less robust in form and temperament. I believe they are
still in their original location behind the Cultivar Garden. It would be
worthwhile to pick up where Dr. Lenz left off and develop and name plants
from his work. As you know, development of CA natives is mostly centered on
central and northern California natives.


On 3 February 2013 18:17, Lee Poulsen <> wrote:

> So what should one do (in So. Calif.) if he is tempted beyond the ability
> to resist into purchasing them in mid-spring at the Rancho Santa Ana
> Botanical Garden (RSABG) plant sale? I cannot get them to survive in their
> pots until the autumn. However, the ones sold in the autumn sale don't have
> flowers on them, so I don't know what they will look like when then bloom.
> Some of the ones that are blooming at the spring plant sales are are so
> exquisitely beautiful, with jaw-dropping combinations of almost jewel-like
> colors, that I have never been able to resist buying at least one--even
> though they're not cheap, and even if I only get to enjoy the flowers for
> that season only. They all seem to be grown in the Monterey Bay area which
> almost never gets hot in the summer. And yet RSABG has large beds of them
> thriving all over the place under trees in their gardens.
> I'm not as interested in the solid colored ones. But some of the ones I've
> seen with deep vivid violet with whiskers of bronze and and yellow and sky
> blue highlights, or a jewel-like orchid with bright yellow centers and
> petal edges that shade to either a lighter or darker orchid, or bronze,
> yellow, and brown with a hint of lavender, I feel like my eyes are going to
> fall out of my head when I see them. I would so love to get them to grow
> for me.
> --Lee Poulsen
> Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
> Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m
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