1897, Iris Leichtlinii
The Garden, volume 52, page 222, 1897
IRIS LEICHTLINI. (with a coloured plate.*)
Among the many lovely and beautiful Irises from the Holy Land, Turkestiin, &c, the remarkable species appearing in the coloured plate to-day must ever occupy a conspicuous place by reason of the rare beauty of its flowers. This is not so much due to the size of the blooms individually as to the colour, or rather the combination of beautiful colours, so well depicted in tlie accompanying plate. Visitors to the Temple show in May last will doubtless call to mind the many lovely and rare species that were exhibited, notably by Messrs. Barr and Sons, and likewise by Messrs. Wallace, of Colchester. The former, in addition to the beautiful species in the plate, had cut flowers of such striking forms as I. violacea, I. Korolkowi, I. vaga, I. lupina, &c., that made quite a unique little group of these inimitable species. In the Messrs. Wallace's lot were some equally choice gems of this race, I. iberica, I. Hartwegi, I. lupina and I. Gatesi being especially note- tliy. It is noteworthy in a double sense, because showing that these usually difficult; and sometimes unmanageable species are now far better understood than was formerly the case. The Colchester exhibit, because grown in pots, went a little further, and showed that those who cannot for many and various reasons cultivate these plants in the open ground may even yet attempt their culture in pots, for at least by the later means extremes of cultural details- eg. moisture at one time and great heat and drought at another may be indulged in at will. This later may be done by removing the pots bodily to a dry, airy shelf in the greenhouse, without the necessity of unnaturally exposing the naked rhizome to external influences consequent upon its lifting. On such a shelf the drying and the rciug would be absolute, and with the return of the autumn the pots may be put out of doors again. It is quite possible, too, that some varieties may submit to potting and flower all the better provided the plants are rammed in very firmly and the pots plunged to the rim on a very sunny border. The amount of soil required by these plants is so very small, that three roots may be well planted in an 8-inch pot, making the soil as hard as possible about them.
The whole group of Cushion Irises, with its many allies, is so greatly varied and remarkable in respect, and so unlike any other plant flowering in the garden, that they are worth any trouble to bloom them, and if this can be accomplished more generally by some such simple method as here described, a much larger number will be capable of enjoying to the full these wondrously beautiful flowers. Some of the chief points in the culture of these Irises are a dry and warm border, a good loamy soil, though not deep or over-rich, and very firm planting: indeed this latter is most important, and with the pot system suggested above can indulged in to any extent. The best season for planting is early in September, at which time good roots start into growth readily and require root moisture in plenty. The majority of the kinds, though quite hardy, are best for some light protection in very severe weather, dry Heather being one of the best things for this purpose. Things to avoid when giving
winter protection to such things are such as liter, hay, straw, or even Bracken, all of which once drenched witli wet remain so, and, de lying about the plants to be protected, do harm rather than the good that was intended.
The example from which the drawing was made flowerd in the hardy plant department at Kew this year. The flowering specimen was about 15 inches high, and, so far, is regarded as a more vigorous kind than some of its near allies. The lovely Iris is scarcely a novelty, as it was first flowered by Dr. Foster in the spring of 188*. Notwithstanding, it is still among the rarest of this beautiful race of hardy plants. E.
In reference to this Iris the following notes regarding it have been kindly sent us by Herr Max Leichtlin, Baden-Baden :
Iris Leichtlinii was discovered by Albert von Regel in the mountainous districts of Turkestan, where it is found in company with I. Korolkowi, I. vaga, I. stolonifera, &c., and is described in Acta. Hort. Petrop, 1884. It was introduced to cultivation in 1879 from a collection of unknown Iris sent to Baden-Baden by His Excellency Lieutenant-General N. de Korolkow. It is a striking plant by the rainbowlike unusual coloraration of its flowers, showing blue, white, rose, and a peculiar brown. It is perfectly hardy, wants loamy soil and a dry situation, and is best left alone for severul years.
Drawn for The Garden in the Royal Gardens, Kew, by H. G. Moon. Lithographed and printed by J. L. Goffart.
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