Irises forum: Preserving and rescuing iris rarities

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I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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CLUSIANA
Mar 7, 2016 11:02 AM CST
End of August 2015 I had the pleasure to receive most unusual historic irises. They had travled from a continent to another. They arrived whith their green leaves. After opening this parcel of nuggets I planted them straight away, in pots. After the leaves died down I noticed one of the rhizome without any green start for many month. The thizome was still hard and healthy, however I was very worried. Was it going to grow back or not? I have been watching the growth every single day and today it seems that the one that was worrying me is growing back. I am not familiar with cultivation in pots but I did so this year as I wanted to have a very close watch to all of them.
Whenever I receive new irises from the trade or from private collectors I am opening a file with the date of reception, from whom I received them, the name of the irises, the number of rhizomes, the size of the rhisomes and I am doing a mapping together with pictures.
How do you manage your irises? Did you ever try to rescue irises and which method is yours? Is a rescue operation related to disease or further to the fact that the rhizome is of a nail size and could be difficult to locate in the garden? Your feedback will be greatly appreciated.

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On August 23, 2015



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Today March 7, 2016


The little green leaf on the left is a happy event! Late growth should mean late blooming. What do you think? I have been waiting years to see some irises to bloom. That particular one will certainly will not bloom this year but I will go on nurserying it!


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
Mar 7, 2016 11:24 AM CST
Good job on giving it a chance to grow and bloom again.
I map everything and keep copious amounts of information on each iris. where, when, what, who and so on. I pot the iffy ones and I also pot ones that are rare or special. They grow well in pots for me and most can get transplanted into the garden in a couple of years. I have some excess irises that I love and keep some in pots just so I can move them up close to the walkway or deck during bloom season. I also grow the little MDB's and they do not like the heat where I live so I keep them in pots and move them to the north slope over winter and give them evening shade during the summer. So far I have not lost one MDB. (patting myself on the back here, LOL)

I don't have much problem with rot.... perhaps one or two a year on new ones. But since I live on a hill I have excellent drainage. I also do not over fertilize. Losing irises would make me really sad.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......

I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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CLUSIANA
Mar 7, 2016 11:54 AM CST
Thank you for your feedback Bonnie.
I like your sentence 'But since I live on a hill I have excellent drainage'. I can imagine the irises,, happy campers, on the top of the hill, kept away from their ennemy with the good drainage.
I saw rot only once (not in my garden) and I am cutting the part rotted. That is not the worse and I did not get any disease to face except once with irises received from a professional grower. That was really creepy. First as I did not face that ever before and because I read somewhere that diseases could spread over the garden and even jump from a garden to another. I put coal, they died but the other irises kept safe.
Heat is becoming a problem. Last summer was hell here in the South West of France. Quite difficult to work in the garden. To me all the care has to be done before summer. The bigger problem is with my primulas. Irises stand this heat. Nice to read also your irises are traveling in the garden, from South to North, benefiting of the best care. Could you please tell me what is happening with too much heat to the irises? Can they die from heat?
SDB are almost new comers for me and I have decided to grow them in pots also.
I agree with you. Losing irises makes you really sad and when speaking about very rare ones you will not have any chance to get again or with much difficulty you have to do your best to keep them thriving.
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Mar 7, 2016 12:37 PM CST
The small, extra dry, or "sick" ones usually get potted for a while....everything else goes straight to the bed. Every plant gets a permanent "ground tag", with it's name ( and a "rose label" type marker when bloom time comes). I print a "data sheet" for each cultivar (usually either the HIPS gallery page, or the AIS Wiki page) that gives me all the info on the cultivar. On the back of that sheet, I note where it came from, when it was planted, which bed it's in, and anything else I think might be needed later.
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I keep the "data sheets" in binders (I also have a "master list" on computer.....shows hybridizer ,year of intro ,height ,season, class, bed location), with the rebloomers in their "own" binders. In the case of the more "rare" cultivars, I also note the "paper trail" of ownership (at least as far as I can) i.e. I planted it in 2006, I got it from X, who got it from Y, in 1987. The paper trail sometimes helps in determining "authenticity". i.e. If mine traces back to "Y, in 1987" and "Y's" plant was found to be an "imposter"...........so is mine !

I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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CLUSIANA
Mar 7, 2016 1:23 PM CST
Tracking (or tracing?) is so important Arlyn. You are really doing a good job with your 'paper trail'. It's right tat 'sometimes help in determining 'authenticity' but also shows what is going on around the world and between botanical gardens. When an iris is traveling with a wrong ID taken for granted the danger is to find the iris in many places with the wrong ID. If you trust the first 'ownership' the ID is not checked most of the time and wrong irises and imposters create confusion for a long time. Here in France I am positive about two Schreiner's being imposters 'Giant Rose' and 'Antique Ivory'. I have to mention that further to a very close research the irises have been imported by a very reliable iris grower, you can imagine that if tis can happen that means that the sender did a mistake in the shipping. Weird.
A "rose label" type marker when bloom time comes' is a good idea too. I far prefer data sheets as I have no luck with the labels. Names get deleted, the tags are remvoed (cats playing around with irises). To prevent them for this now I put the wire around the rhizome before planting it. This seems to work. Before I was trying to plant the wrie part in the ground and to attach it to the rhizome. Bad idea!!!
I have also a master list and all the information you listed but it is not updated so this year I decided not to order any more irises and to focus on the search of French oldies only.
Thank you for your report and for the pics.
C.
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
Mar 7, 2016 2:19 PM CST
I have never had an iris die from heat, and we get hot and humid here in North Carolina. If the rhizome is exposed to too much sun, they say you can give it a cover of a light bit of soil. during the hot months. I have not done this, but it is something to consider. Now if you have late blooming TB's the bloom may wilt quickly in the heat. I do have a few that do that, so I try not to buy very late bloomers.

I have always planted my iris directly in the ground until the last couple of years (when the numbers to plant increased). Like Arlyn and Bonnie, I will pot up the sickly ones so I can keep an eye on them. I have not had a problem with rot with iris in pots. The only rot I have ever had has been with new rhizomes, and usually within the first couple of months of planting them in the ground. Most of them I have been able to save by cutting out the rotted area, but I have had a few that were complete losses.

And I too keep a paper trail of when and where I got the iris. And I keep maps as well as tagging the plants so I know where each is located. Including which ones are in pots.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield

Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
Mar 7, 2016 5:35 PM CST
First a few facts:
I live in California where this state has been in a drought for several years. It can get very very hot here with low summer humidity. We have been on water restrictions the last few years. It's not uncommon for us to be over 100 to 105(F) degrees everyday in July and August for weeks at a time. The hottest I've seen it here is 119(F).

2015:
Last year I did have some Iris die in the heat. I wasn't the Iris fault. Let me explain. I buy some Iris from what I call the local Iris lady. She sells them in bloom or almost in bloom. I usually pot them up and place them in the shade. I've been buying and doing this for a few years. Last year when I bought them I decided to plant some of them. Just a few hours after I bought them the rain was pouring down. Since it was early spring I thought we might get enough rain to keep the ground moist. Of course we didn't get the rain. Just guessing I lost about 1/3 of the planted ones. Due to the water restrictions I didn't give them the water they needed. My fault! The ones I potted up lived.

The Iris I buy from vendors are always potted up and placed in the shade because they are delivered in July or August. I think I've only lost 2 of these in the last few years and they died within 2 weeks of receiving them. They were replaced by the vendor and they survived without any problems.
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
Mar 7, 2016 7:21 PM CST
The irises in my area that do not thrive in heat are the Miniature Dwarf Bearded irises - the tiny ones. Some do not seem to mind, perhaps ones hybridized in this climate, while others just linger and diminish. This winter was unusually mild so I do not expect much bloom on some of them. I have not lost any of the little ones so far but I have several that have never bloomed. I am thinking of putting those particular ones in a rock garden and just letting them fend for themselves. I may enjoy ones more that responds to babying and will reward me with a little flower.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Mar 7, 2016 8:29 PM CST
grannysgarden said:The irises in my area that do not thrive in heat are the Miniature Dwarf Bearded irises - the tiny ones. Some do not seem to mind, perhaps ones hybridized in this climate, while others just linger and diminish. This winter was unusually mild so I do not expect much bloom on some of them. I have not lost any of the little ones so far but I have several that have never bloomed. I am thinking of putting those particular ones in a rock garden and just letting them fend for themselves. I may enjoy ones more that responds to babying and will reward me with a little flower.


I think you're on to something there, Bonnie ! The MDB's, and, in fact, some of the SDB's ,DON'T like it too warm, and, a "rock garden"....whether it be larger stones, with the plants inter planted close to, or between, them, or whether a person used "pea gravel" for a mulch around the plants, would act to keep the ground MUCH cooler. The "stones" would also help against evaporation, so good drainage would need to be achieved in the "underlying soil"
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
Mar 7, 2016 8:58 PM CST
I have had very few SDB's that haven't grown well here. Ironically the best growers are those I have gotten from Tom. They have gone from very cold winters to very little winter and have rewarded me with amazing growth. He is my best supplier of vigorous growers!
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
Mar 7, 2016 10:10 PM CST
Remember that SDBs & the MDBs coming from them are part pumila which can be a mountain plant (from central Europe.). As such they love it here in New England (colder but not mountains).,
Name: Gabriel/Gabe Rivera
Charlotte, NC (Zone 7b)
German imported, Michigan raised
Region: North Carolina Hostas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Garden Procrastinator Daylilies
Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises Container Gardener Region: United States of America Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cuzz4short
Mar 8, 2016 7:40 PM CST
Your giving me reason to stay away from them Crying
Gimme it and I'll grow it!
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
Mar 8, 2016 8:36 PM CST
most SDB's like the heat ok, Gabe, and a lot of the MDB's do as well. Start with a few hardy SDB's and you will love them.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Lestv
Mar 10, 2016 10:17 AM CST
Then you didn't read my comment above Gabe! SDB's love it in my yard!
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Mar 11, 2016 7:05 AM CST
They grow vigorously here as well, with few exceptions. I should have a bunch to share again this year. I think Cat's Eye takes the trophy for being the fastest increaser here. I have sent some of that all over the country, including Albuquerque, and it has done well there too.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: John
Kansas City,MO (Zone 6a)
Region: Missouri Composter Enjoys or suffers cold winters Plays in the sandbox
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yadah_tyger
Mar 11, 2016 9:19 AM CST
You got that right about Cat's Eye. I would even go as far as calling it's growth agressive. It has completely taken over a large area in my vertically challenged Iris bed. I'm sure it's going to get replanted in a container.

Blessings
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' Theodore Roosevelt
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Lestv
Mar 11, 2016 1:30 PM CST
I too will be dividing Cat's Eye this year, along with several others, and yes, the Turtles again. Talk about aggressive. Your Aladdin's Flame is a fast grower too Tom!
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
Mar 11, 2016 2:28 PM CST
Charlie Carver who lives on an island in Puget Sound has been chasing median rarities. He has amassed quite a collection.

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