1 Week or 5 Months of bloom. Which would you prefer?

Jim McKenney jamesamckenney@verizon.net
Wed, 06 Mar 2013 11:06:44 PST
I don't know where Jim W. got the idea that my Iris unguicularis give only "one glorious bouquet" of bloom during the season. More than once I've posted the observation that my plants start in November and continue sometimes into early April. There are times when only one flower is open, there are times when there are several. Occasionally there are four or five open at once. And this year, for the first time here, Iris lazica has been blooming freely with Iris unguicularis. It remains to be seen how long the show will continue with Iris lazica, but the blooms have been appearing one after another for weeks. One day recently there were five open. 

BTW, in my book a "heated cold frame" is not a cold frame, it's something else. The only heat my cold frames get is that provided by the sun and by their proximity to the house foundation. For years these cold frames have housed thriving (OK, sometimes not so thriving, but at least alive)  Nerine, Massonia, Cymbidium goeringii, Chilean Tropaeolum (although it's a stretch to say that these are thriving - but that has more to do with heat than cold), Ambrosina, Pancratium, Amaryllis belladonna (a thick mat of leaves but no blooms yet), the cactus Mammillaria plumosa, Asparagus setaceus,  the unusual asclepiad Brachystelma, various marginally hardy gesneriads,  Freesia viridis and lots of other interesting odds and ends. 

So when Jim W. asks "  So given this choice - one glorious bouquet - or 5 months- maybe more to come - of 1 or 2 flowers which would you take?" I'm here to say that that is a false dichotomy: one can have both. In other words, I get both the occasional bouquet and the more usual blooms trickling in throughout the winter and early spring. So with these plants I can eat my cake and have it, too!

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where last night's prediction of up to a foot of snow has so far panned out to be snow falling and melting all day with no significant accumulation. I took a chance and left the cold frames wide open last night - and have no regrets today.   

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