reticulate iris season

Rodger Whitlock
Thu, 16 Feb 2012 10:58:43 PST
On 16 Feb 2012, at 8:47, Jim McKenney wrote:

> There might be more excitement on the way: the same firm offered bulbs of
> Vinogradov"s iris at anĀ irresistibleĀ price. Mine are about to bloom, and the
> emerging sprout looks like no other reticulate iris I've grown in the past. I
> soooooo want these to be Vinogradov's iris, a species I've known about all my
> adult life. In the past the price kept it out of reach. I hope I'm not about to
> be disappointed.

You won't be disappointed if those bulbs are the Real Thing.

I bought a single bulb of Vinogradov's iris (Iris veenogradovee-ee, not 
weenogradowee-ee) from Ed Lohbrunner in 1984 and still have that clone going, 
plus a pot grown from seed from a Polish source about twenty years ago. The 
Lohbrunner clone is a slightly deeper color and preferable in my opinion.

I grow mine in pots that are kept in a coldframe over winter to protect them 
from our heavy winter rainfall. never had the nerve to risk any out in the 
garden, though Katherine Hodgkin does well if I site it with care, up out of my 
wintertime squelch and ooze.

The bulbs of I.w. CANNOT handle severe drying off or baking, unlike many other 
reticulate irises. I almost lost my stock of the Lohbrunner clone one summer 
after leaving them in the bright sun. It has never grown as well for me as when 
I had it in a large terra cotta pot plunged in a sand bed in full sun and 
watered it every morning with the cold tea left over from the previous day's 

I.w. grows much better with weak liquid low-nitrogen fertilizer applied a few 
times during the growing season. If you bring potted specimens into the house 
when in flower and get busy with a small camel hair brush, you can get seed, 
sometimes in plenitude. And the seed is entirely viable.

Maybe the Dutch have latched onto Vinogradov's iris, just as they did 
'Katherine Hodgkin' a few years ago, and are turning it into a mass market 
item? One can only hope!

Good luck, Jim! It's a very beautiful plant. And being pale yellow, a color I 
am obscenely partial to, it's beyond beauty in my view.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

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