1897, June Irises by Gerard
Garden And Forest, p 238, June 16, 1897
EARLY in June, just as the bloom of hybrid German Irises is waning, we may expect the flowers of another group scarcely less interesting and with colors as bright as those of any of the family. These Spanish Irises are bulbous and natives of south-western Europe and northern Africa. While there are several species and numerous hybrids in the group varying somewhat in hardiness, those which are classed by the Dutch bulb growers as Spanish Irises are all perfectly hardy in this latitude with no protection. They are yellow, blue, blue-purple and white, selfs and in combination, and sometimes with an admixture of brown. The Spanish Irises have narrow leaves which spear in early winter, and they flower at about eighteen inches in height. There are three forms in general cultivation ; those with narrow falls spreading laterally are the most common ; the Portuguese yellow form, I. Lusitanica, has relatively broad falls which rise slantingly, and there is a vigorous old form known as The Thunderbolt, with bronzy flowers, which is larger in all its parts. As most of these Irises may be had at a low price they should be planted in large groups, when they are most effective, and in the open, where they will receive the full benefit of spring rains, or if these are lacking they require generous waterings. A full supply of water in the spring is necessary to their successful growth and flowering, even if they have been well matured the previous summer. They have flowered particularly well this wet season, and some neglected bulbs which seldom flower, owing to too dry a location, have been brought forward by the abundant recent rains.
Some of the bulbous Irises are scarce even at a high price, and too many dealers fill orders for these with Spanish Irises, always at high prices. Having been at the losing end of such transactions a number of times, I offer the suggestion that consignments of bulbs should be compared with one's stock of bulbs of Spanish Irises and those of the same form under different names should be regarded with some reserve.
Elizabeth. N. J. J- N. Gerard.
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