Pacific Coast Iris extravazanza !

Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 19 Apr 2006 20:14:40 PDT
There is usually a very fine display of these Irises at the San Francisco 
Botanical Garden at Strybing each spring in the native area and I think 
Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden has a collection too although I never seem 
to get up there to see them when they are in bloom.

Iris douglasiana is native where I live  and is well loved. It's curious to 
hear that it is the species that gives the hybrids the handsome foliage 
since the foliage here often gets diseased and looks unsightly. Jenny 
Fleming, who has a very wonderful native garden in Oakland, California, 
once shared that she cuts all the foliage of her plants back to the ground 
in late summer after they have set seed. I started doing that with mine and 
my plants started looking a lot better. Otherwise over time they looked 
worse and worse. Some patches in the wild you just have to tune out the 
leaves and concentrate on the pretty flowers.

I understood that the hybrids did better with some summer water. Some of 
the hybrids I have added to my garden have done well and bloom each year 
and others have died or skip years. A couple of them this year with our 
excessive rainfall look really healthy and others looked horrible all 
winter and only now that it appears that spring is on its way are looking 
better. I'm not sure what to make of any of this. Seed seems to germinate 
well on a lot of the ones I tried (both species and hybrids).

I ended up with many pots of Iris tenax from NARGS seed  for this reason 
and planted a bunch out this winter. Some died it looks like, but there are 
a few surviving and one in a pot that I didn't transplant has just bloomed 
and is very pretty. Will the ones in the ground need summer water?

We have a wiki page for Pacific Coast Iris if Dan took pictures at Rancho 
Santa Ana and wants to share them with us.

Mary Sue

More information about the pbs mailing list