Sunday, December 02, 2012

Romeo Iris blooming in December

Here is Romeo, produced by Millet et Fils in 1912. I bought it mail order this summer. Having run out of room, I planted it in a container. A few weeks ago the raised bed was ready to plant, but this one had a flower shoot. So I placed it in a cool room, sunny window. Here it is today
The American Iris Society has a nice photo of this iris as it should look, as well as its history.

 I don't know if winter blooming can be done intentionally. This was unplanned. Romeo is a diploid bearded iris. Most of the flashy, big, ruffled modern bearded irises are tetraploid. During the year this iris was first sold, Woodrow Wilson won the presidency of the US, with 42% of the vote. Teddy Roosevelt was shot that year. The Titanic sank in 1912. Each new growth of an iris is a rhizome branch from the prior year's growth. So, in effect, this is the same flower that may have sprouted from seed in 1909 or 1910.

It doesn't look a lot like photos of Romeo. Maybe it's the odd timing, or the odd situation, or the growth medium. It's in a used potting soil. It may need May sunshine and warmth for true colors to develop.  Maybe it's mislabeled. I like it better than than the linked site. The colors have a sepia tone, like an old Kodachrome photo in a family album. Bought at an estate sale.


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