The Garden, p.195, Vol.57, 1900
Dwarf Irises. Every spring one is charmed with the various dwarf Irises which gladden one's eyes with their brilliant colours ; some, too, are precious for their exquisite scent. But one's pleasure is dimmed by the recognition of the fact that but a very small remnant consent to live more than one year with us, and this note is written in the hope that it may elicit suggestions from those who have been more successful than we can claim to be. Of all the common forms, I. histrioides is the only one that seems perfectly contented. Histrio may linger a year or two, and so with Bakeriana, Rosenbachiana, reticulata (both forms the less attractive Krelagei being the more persistent), but none seem to be here proof against some foe, be it fungus, climate or some other cause I know- of a garden in Worcestershire where I. reticulata increases and multiplies as fast as Scilla sibirica or Chionodoxa ; this is in light soil, in beds on terraces on a steep hillside. Quite lately I have heard of it near Wimbledon flourishing as vigorously in stiff soil almost resembling clay. What is the secret ? Here in Reading we have no soil -20 feet of gravel lies below us, and we must put in whatever soil we deem our plants require. Stagnant moisture we do not fear. Would that those who have succeeded, especially such as have gardens resembling this, reveal wherein the cause of failure lies. Ones's perplexity is increased by the fact that here and there in some odd corner a single bulb of I. reticulata will live and thrive for years. A. C. B.