Monday, January 26, 2015

Iris Species in my School Garden

A spuria iris

Iris ensata

Iris pseudocorus

Iris virginica?

Iris hookeri?

Iris sp Tibet

Iris sp Tibet

Iris versicolor?

Iris versicolor?

Iris dwarf bearded hybrid from seed

Iris fulva

I grew a lot of iris seeds out a few years ago, mostly from SIGNA, which has an amazing seed list, and also from NARGS and other sources.  I am bad with labels though, especially in my school garden where animals and weather conspire to move labels or destroy them.  So I have a lovely mélange of iris species and hybrids grown from seeds.  I think most of the unnamed ones above are versicolors, but maybe some are virginica  as well, I just am not that familiar with the differences among some iris species to know. Any ID corrections or suggestions for any of the above are welcome.  I can tell the slightest variation in a pelargonium species but when it comes to a group I am less familiar with, its harder for me to tell them apart.  Nonetheless the irises are an easy group of plants to grow, generally speaking.  Their worst enemies are voles, and they have done in the bearded irises I planted in the garden except for some seed grown smaller varieties near the road.  They also chewed up what I think is sp Tibet this past winter, but amazingly it regrew from the slightest bits of root and rhizomes, but no blooms this year.  The flowers shown are from last year.  It is a rather tall growing one with dense grassy leaves about a foot and a half or two long.  The pseudacorus is in a place where it gets pretty dry and I remove its seedpods so it is well behaved in that spot, whereas it would be a menace if planted anywhere near water.  The ensatas are either straight species collected in Russia or hybrids, I think the former since they all look the same.  Rather pretty, they bloom a bit later than some of the others.  I've collected a couple of bags of seeds of some of the smaller "versicolors" or whatever they are, and will plant them out in corners of my home property as deer aren't going to bother them.  Iris fulva is one of the Louisiana iris species, it is quite impressive with its oddly colored flowers.  I also have yet more iris seeds to plant from past acquisitions and have done so in a plastic windowbox planter that is in the cool garage for now but will go out for stratification sometime after the blizzard passes, or maybe to the unheated part of the attic where they would be safer from critters.   Growing iris from seed is fun, and I have some Pacific Coast iris hybrids under lights right now, they are supposed to be hard to grow here but they do indeed survive and bloom in NY.  Their biggest fault is that they don't like being transplanted, but one vigorous plant made the move to the new house successfully and from the many seedlings I have in pots from the The Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris  and NARGS  I suspect many will survive after I put them out in spring.  Growing them from seed is the best way to see what can take our climate as any that cant will be weeded out by the next winter (or summer).   I am sure that with persistence one could create a race of Pacific Coast iris that would be ideally adapted to the East coast as well.  


1 comment:

Perennialpal said...

Very interesting! Thankfully, I don't have any voles, that I know of, but lots of bunnies! Here's hoping you're the one to develop a very hardy NW iris. I used to pick native iris blooms along country roads, on my way home from school, in Oregon. I've not been successful growing much from seed, too impatient, I think. What an advantage, both financially and diversity-ally (Ha! not quite a word), to be good with seed and to even try hybridizing and collecting your own seed.
Have a wonderful gardening day.