Pacific Coast Iris extravazanza !

Jane McGary
Wed, 19 Apr 2006 10:40:57 PDT
Dan Tyson alerted members to the Pacific Coast iris plantings at Rancho 
Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

Carol Wilson, a botanist who recently took a position at Rancho Santa Ana, 
tells me that most of the irises there are hybrids planted over the years 
by a longtime staff member who was interested in hybridizing these plants. 
She is an iris specialist, presently doing DNA analyses of both American 
and Old World irises, and hopes to sort them out and get some true species 
established in the coming years.

As for whether PCIs look ratty in summer, I'd say that some species do and 
others don't. Our local native I. tenax looks bad in winter, since it's 
semi-deciduous, but it's known as the hardiest species. Many hybrids have 
I. douglasiana in their ancestry, which gives them handsome, deep green 
foliage and adds to their attractiveness out of bloom. Some forms of I. 
innominata look good all summer here.

These plants are reputed to be difficult in cultivation away from the 
Pacific coast, but surely they would be worthwhile in other temperate 
areas. They do, however, have a rather short flowering season -- not 
something that should annoy bulb fanciers!

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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