Irises forum: Top dozen TBs to recommend to a perennial gardener: your nominations

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Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Feb 3, 2016 8:46 AM CST
Catalogs from all sorts of plant, seed, and bulb vendors are arriving daily and I love browsing them while its cold outside. Although I mostly order from specialty vendors, there are some that sell a wide variety of perennials I like to order from too. Even those I don't order from often have informative and pretty catalogs. I often see an assortment of tall bearded irises offered, typically classics and Dykes medal winners.

I assume the objective would be choosing vigorous growers in a good range of colors. I'm also thinking relatively modern varieties, so lets just say less than 30 years old (but are old enough to be reasonably priced compared to other perennials). What would your choices be?
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
[Last edited by gemini_sage - Feb 3, 2016 8:47 AM (+)]
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Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Feb 3, 2016 9:30 AM CST
This is a "trick question", isn't it, Neal ! "Vigorous" in one area, may not be in another. And as to the "mix of colors", perhaps a "mix of patterns" (varigata , luminata, etc.) would be a better representation Shrug!
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Feb 3, 2016 10:01 AM CST
Totally up for interpretation. We only have our own experience as a reference, but it will be interesting to see how many of the same varieties show up over and over. Oooh, we can come up with an ATP best of the best list! This would be good research for an article Hurray!
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
Hummingbirder Dog Lover Irises Region: California Organic Gardener Dahlias
Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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janwax
Feb 3, 2016 10:15 AM CST
O.k. - I'll bite (fools rush in, and all that!)

I love:
Chinese Treasure ( an early Blyth) Love it for the color, mainly - bright beard
Coffee Shop (the subtle coloring - its reliability. And it's very early!)
Care to Dance - ( prolific and gorgeous)
That's all Folks ( size, size, size!)
Rio Rojo ( color and vigor)
Dragon King (vigor)
Emblematic (elegant)
Center Line ( gorgeous)
Millenium Falcon (my first love)
Strawberry Shake (she's got it all!!!)

(and more, more, more!)
Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Feb 3, 2016 10:17 AM CST
Most of mine I haven't had for a long period of time so it is hard to say which will really qualify as vigorous. Now there are several dwarfs I can say are extremely vigorous in their growth, but the TB's take longer to produce lots of increases. The only exception I have to that is Las Vegas, which goes out of it's way to increase, and bloom and re-bloom. A favorite? Not really, but it sure has stamina, and I respect that.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Feb 3, 2016 10:24 AM CST
I will add two that are beautiful, and seem so far to be a good increasers and bloomers. I would recommend Owyhee Desert and Grateful Red because they are favorites, but they are slow growers, and Grateful Red isn't putting out much bloom. I am assuming you only want those that do very well.

Coal Seams


Jamaican Dream


My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Feb 3, 2016 10:38 AM CST
Neal, my experience is limited as more than 3/4 of what I have will be blooming for the first time this year. However, of those with which I do have experience, there are four that have proven to be outstanding plants. Each of these has gorgeous color, and has shown itself to shrug off heat, cold, long-term drought, and flooding rains in clay soil.


By Jeeves -- STUNNING flower, happy increaser, had a four bud socket last year! (Keppel order)
Thumb of 2016-02-03/lovemyhouse/aa651c


Merchant Marine - unstoppable increaser!! and look at those ruffles. (Thank you, Brad.)



Orange Harvest - lovely fragrance, consistent fall bloomer (blooms do tatter a bit in rain)



Rio Rojo -- have it in two locations and the color in each differs just enough to almost seem like I have two different flowers; increases quickly (Thank you, Rita.)
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
Hummingbirder Dog Lover Irises Region: California Organic Gardener Dahlias
Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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janwax
Feb 3, 2016 10:43 AM CST
Hoping my By Jeeves blooms this season! So lovely!
Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Feb 3, 2016 11:03 AM CST
Excellent lists! I'm thinking of this kind of as an ATP popularity poll. Those we would recommend to a novice to surely get them addicted to irises!
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Feb 3, 2016 12:08 PM CST
Well if you want a space age iris that grows and grows I suggest Purr Form Mints.



For a brown, I have to say my Downtown Brown is increasing at a good pace.

My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Feb 3, 2016 12:18 PM CST
For stamina and fast increases I would have to recommend Thornbird

Here is a photo of one with horns
Thumb of 2016-02-03/grannysgarden/385438

And this one has spoons
Thumb of 2016-02-03/grannysgarden/436347

These grow on the same plant.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......

Region: California
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UndertheSun
Feb 3, 2016 12:21 PM CST
My experience is also limited by being relatively new to growing named irises. Similar to Deb, I'm waiting to see several irises bloom for their first time here.

I'll put together a list later today.


Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
Feb 3, 2016 12:26 PM CST
Another one I would recommend for its sheer beauty and hardiness is Prince Igor



I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......

Region: California
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UndertheSun
Feb 3, 2016 12:28 PM CST
I must get that one! (and some others that were mentioned)
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
Feb 3, 2016 12:29 PM CST
I am trying very hard to be selective and keep it down to 12. lol
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: felisa
bensenville, il (chicagoland a (Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Winter Sowing
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frahnzone5
Feb 3, 2016 12:39 PM CST
This is a great idea. Since I only have few TB irises I would really like to see what people who grow many would recommend for vigorous growers.
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
Feb 3, 2016 12:48 PM CST
Another vigorous grower for me is Decadence. It also has a lot of substance to the blooms and therefore a lot of color.



This may not make the cut because when the blooms get heavily laden with rainwater they tend to lie down. If they are grown next to a fence where a small wire can hold them upright they are wonderful.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Mika
Oxfordshire, England and Mento
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Critters Allowed Daylilies Irises Roses Hostas
Birds Multi-Region Gardener Cat Lover Dog Lover Ponds Foliage Fan
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cliftoncat
Feb 3, 2016 12:52 PM CST
Fun idea! For a novice I would include some happy rebloomers:

Rosalie Figge (very strongly reblooming, in France it flowers at least four times each year)

St Petersburg (again, a strong rebloomer, three times in France, one rebloom in England)


Non-rebloomers would include
Champagne Waltz (breathtaking when planted against a dark green background, winner of Florence Iris Competition in 1997)

Astana (to-die-for colour, very vigorous and a useful colour)


Plus something mid blue, because it's a colour that blends beautifully almost anywhere. A couple of years ago I bought a load of marked-down Victoria Falls, which sometimes reblooms. Stunning en masse!


Stairway to Heaven


Something pink - loads of choice...


Something dramatic:


And something subtle:




And for something a little more adventurous, how about

Chasing Rainbows


Not enough - we still need something orange, a yellow self, a lilac, a copper.... hmm.... Blinking
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Feb 3, 2016 12:56 PM CST
Thumb of 2016-02-03/crowrita1/fdacda
WABASH


Thumb of 2016-02-03/crowrita1/ab9400
STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN



STEPPING OUT


Thumb of 2016-02-03/crowrita1/fe1ba6
PINNACLE


Thumb of 2016-02-03/crowrita1/3d01ff
RIP CITY


Thumb of 2016-02-03/crowrita1/48c819
INDIAN CHIEF


Thumb of 2016-02-03/crowrita1/6584ba
DARKSIDE


Thumb of 2016-02-03/crowrita1/f6c678
FEEDBACK


Thumb of 2016-02-03/crowrita1/bb8182
ACCENT


Thumb of 2016-02-03/crowrita1/b3c8a7
BANANA FRAPPE


Thumb of 2016-02-03/crowrita1/27767c
BLUE SHIMMER


Thumb of 2016-02-03/crowrita1/a42e07
CLARENCE
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
Feb 3, 2016 12:57 PM CST
For very long lasting blooms I would recommend Dazzling Sarah. She is beautiful in sun or shade and the beards are bright and beautiful. She has a lot of lacy ruffles but not as much as Birthday Girl. She still keeps the iris look.


I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......

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