Friday, February 24, 2017

Reticulata roundup (Round one) just before the snow...

Iris x danfordiae 'Happiness'
As luck would have it, the stars occasionally conjoin in wondrous ways. If you've followed Prairiebreak for very long, you will know that I have a weakness for several genera: Salvia, Penstemon, Delosperma may seem to creep into this blog more than perhaps they should. I've not done a statistical study of this blog, but Iris must be near the top...and their parade almost always starts in February with the Iriodyction section (Dr. Rodionenko is probably right to have segregated them as a separate genus). Found from Turkey to Central Asia, less than a dozen species have been the object of a remarkable Canadian's focus: of course the Dutch and English have been playing with them as well for over a century, but Alan McMurtrie has transformed this group.'Happiness' (mistakenly labeled 'Splish Splash' at first) above bloomed for the first time a few days ago and I took this picture yesterday, just before temps tanked. 

Here's a picture of 'Happiness' (the very picture of happiness!) three days later after nights in the low 'teens--what a testament to the toughness of these little gems!

is reticulata Kuh-e-Abr

I assume most of what you will see here are McMurtrie hybrids--there will be a few straight species, and some were produced by Europeans--I will try to point those out. The first of these began to bloom perhaps a week ago when the weather warmed up considerably (night time temperatures above freezing, daytime temperatures in the 70's). These are all taken in my Quince St. garden (there are more at Denver Botanic Gardens I haven't photographed yet)--but there shall be plenty to see chez moi: thanks to my colleague Sonya Anderson, who ordered many thousands of bulbs from Netherlands, many of us including the Gardens and myself shall now have lavish displays of the newer selections! This one with the mysterious Arabic name is very different.

This one has eluded me: I hope I will locate the label when the snow goes away! Or perhaps Alan will step in as Deus ex Machina? Hint hint.

Iris reticulata 'Pixie'
This has been in the ground several years--a Dutch hybrid (I believe that's what this is). The Web claims this is a "sport" of Iris reticulata Harmony. And we know the Web never lies...the spiny thing behind it is Vella spinosa, a crucifer from Spain I can never be without.

Iris reticulata 'Pixie'
Another view: I have been planting these in droves all over my garden--and when they're so perfectly poised, how can you resist photographing them?

Iris reticulata 'Pixie'

Iris x histrioides 'Sheila Ann Germaney'
Another new one for me--probably not Alan's hybrid: we will need a book soon on this group there are so many, to sort out their history and parentage...I must get a closeup of this!

Iris x histrioides 'Sheila Ann Germaney'

I no sooner typed the last sentence in the previous image when I remembered that digital images have such high resolution that I DID have a closeup--and here it is!

Iris x reticulata 'Beautiful Day'
I can imagine Alan's frustration as he names these--so many iris, so few names!

Iris x 'George'
Another older Dutch hybrid of I. histrioides ancestry: these are notably large and impressive in the garden. Adonis amurensis in the background.

Iris 'Blue Note'
This one hardly needs a comment, except to point out the rabbit pellets--its growing near their warren (at least it will be fertilized)..

Iris 'Blue Note'
View from the top, I posted a larger view of these on Facebook and it garnered 253 "likes"--far more than any other plant I showed in that lot. Popular winner!

Iris reticulata 'Blue Note'
Striking from any angle: this is one of the very best of the new ones.

Iris danfordiae (traditional clone)
I showed this same clump a few days earlier in my previous blog.

I am so grateful I have a large enough garden to accommodate all of these...mind you this first volley is just the tip of the iceberg!

Iris x 'Kaharine Hodgkin'
 Same picture on Facebook, only there it was wet with waterdrops. The Iris histrioides parentage is apparent. I have blogged on this before.

Iris reticulata 'Gordon'
 An imposing plant: another Dutch hybrid I think.

Iris 'North Star'
One of Alan's..and a striking one at that.

Iris reticulata 'Baeutiful day'

Iris reticulata 'Alida'

Iris reticulata (wild form ex Armenia)
I am generally a "species" man--most of the plants I grow are wild species. And the wild Iriodyctions are worth growing hybrids, I have to admit! But one must have species too!

Iris reticulata 'Summer's Day'
 Just added this iris a few days after the snow--it went through three nights in the teens! More fresh buds coming--so I should getter some better pix of unblemished flowers--but thought it would be good to add!

I was very fortunate to have visited Alan almost 3 decades ago--a few years after he'd been on his  collecting trip to Turkey--and as luck would have it, his reticulatas were in bloom then. I got a wonderful sneak preview of the extravaganza lying ahead. I've watched the phenomenon explode far beyond what I ever thought possible! My hat's off to you, Alan! And keep them coming...

Speaking of which, there are a LOT more reticulatas that will grace my garden (and perhaps this blog) over the next month. As Alan once said in a comment to me "We have barely scratched the surface" !

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