Iris 2017

Karl Dan
Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:17:20 PDT
Iris 2017
For Iris fans, read on, others may delete. In my coastal zone 8 swamp
the Louisianas NEVER go dormant. The best you can do is “clean up” the
clump in fall. I had a gallon pot of “Jack Attack” cover a 6 by 6 foot
area in a year. One rhizome having 36-40 fans. I hacked away this fall
and left a small blooming sized clump. The rest planted a 30 foot
section of one of the many lakes around here. I made special pure blue
and dark purple crosses, look for them at the seed exchange. I just
finished reading a gardener’s book (as you do) and ask that you don’t
do what he did. He moved into a new neighborhood and was welcomed by
an elderly gardener bearing a shoebox full of Viola tricolor. Oh no!
he told her, we throw those away by the shovel full, instantly
realizing what he had done. My point: A member of one of my garden
clubs admired one of my JIs, Royal Robes. She had a Louisiana I
wanted, Clyde Redmond. We arranged the trade for our next meeting. I
hacked out a rhizome from the JI and potted it up in a one gallon.
Right away it sent up a new fan, by the time of the meeting it was
full grown. I like to give fair value, plants and seed exchange, so I
was happy. She gave me a piece of blooming stalk, about 18”, with an
inch and a half piece of rhizome. Thank you. I planted it, and
immediately a full size fan grows. By fall, 6 huge fans, growing all
winter. By spring this was a thing of beauty, covered in huge flat sky
blue saucers, all from that tiny bit of protoplasm. I had 2 rhizomes
of a 60 year old virginica clone I planted last fall. It had a very
long blooming period, about a month. I said I didn’t need 2 plants of
it, but noooo…..It was 2 giant clumps facing me this fall. One was
crowding out other iris so I put the shovel under it and it didn’t
budge. Eventually it split into 3 huge clumps which I planted at a
little cove by a lake. All that from one piece of rhizome a year ago.
I have a virginica that routinely reaches 6 to 7 feet tall, with
gravity the only thing stopping its growth, with the leaves so long
that they start to snap in half. This one is another evergreen, with
huge pearlescent lavender blooms. I had some mature pods so look for
these seeds here, also if those sell out I have a couple of more
maturing pods. This is however, definitely a southern iris. I
hybridized this plant with everything that was blooming, a siberica, a
versicolor, a Louisiana and also pseudacorus. Only one pod matured on
that scape, and when mature, the seeds were the same shape and
plumpness of the bee crosses, but only only half the size.  Not
knowing if these seeds are viable, I didn’t want to send them in. I am
hoping I get a crazy interspecies cross. The boggy acidic seed bed has
exceeded all expectations. I planted species and crosses of laevagita,
ensata, virginica, versicolor and some “white” pseudacorus. After a
season’s growth some have 6 – 8 full sized fans and are 24 + inches
tall. These healthy vigorous beauties will bloom next spring. Our
Region 4 Iris meeting is in October in Raleigh/Durham N.C. I potted up
divisions of all my species Iris as I divided them, and will take
these with me to benefit the plant sales/auctions. We hosted the
Nationals last year for the American Hemerocallis society, and that
took up all my time and a week’s vacation. I missed several important
Iris gatherings, and now that I did my duty to my Hemerocallis club I
plan to devote next year to the iris societies. In closing, I am
always looking for blue Native American Iris, missouriensis, cristata,
versicolors and virginicas, Louisianas…Please send your extra seeds
in, I for one will buy them. I sent some bulbils for a future
exchange, 60 year old Lilium lancifolium, 8 feet  tall, remember that
species is immune to some virus that are devastating to other Lily
species. Also an "Orientpet" Lily, green bulbils, it reached 7 feet
this year. View the photos at my facebook album for our group:…
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