Thursday, February 2, 2012

Irises at Aitken's: Part Four - Misc. Species

Aitken's Salmon Creek Garden grows a large variety of species irises. here are a few that were blooming last spring during my visit. First up is I. lactea, a lovely little species native to the Asian steppes across to Korea. I had never seen this species before and found it really charming, with a profusion of light lavender-blue flowers featuring narrow spidery petals and tall feathery standards.

I. tectorum is a species native to China and is one of the few species closely related to bearded irises. It has even been successfully crossed with them. It is a low growing species with a rhizome very like bearded irises, however its petals are adorned with a filamented crest where a beard would be. It has a very open habit giving the flowers more of a flat appearance. Terry and Barbara grow both the blue and the white varieties of this charming iris.

Last I have an example of a siberian iris to show you, not a wild species variety tho -this one is a modern hybrid and is really different. 'White Amber' (Schafer/Sacks 2001) is a large colorful flower showing a major advance in the range that this family has acquired thru the efforts of breeders over the past 30 years. They are really creating a revolution in siberian irises equivalent to what bearded irises went thru when the explosion of tetraploids first came on the scene in the late 1920's.

Unfortunately it was a bit early for the siberians and this was the only one blooming, but that is just an excuse to return again later in the season to admire a new crop of flowers in full bloom.

Tomorrow we'll conclude with a peek into the future - seedlings growing at Aitken's under trial for eventual introduction.

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