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Connecting to Our Food Web

Dedicated to educational resources towards building and sustaining viable food webs and ecosystems
Arilbred iris cultivars from left Jallab Pink Marble  Noble Warrior Kalifa s Robe
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Welcome to My Jungle - May, 2019


Bearded irises are blooming in the jungle and the arilbreds are leading the way. Arilbred iris hybrids are produced from crossing the finicky-to-grow aril irises with the more common and easy-to-grow bearded irises. They tend to have a touch of the exotic from their aril iris parentage, but the ease of cultivation from their tall bearded iris parentage. As previously implied, arilbreds bloom earlier than the tall bearded irises, more in time with the standard dwarf bearded irises and the intermediate bearded irises. And because of their earliness, large bloom and added height, they are great transition plants following daffodils and tulips.

My "plant thug" list has a new member, one so bad I am on a total eradication program. No mercy! This all happened because I was looking for a new native plant that would do well in somewhat moist shade. I came across small-flowered leafcup (Polymnia canadensis). Its leaf shape looked interesting to me, offered some added height and its growing requirements seemed to fit my site. In my research, I did see mention "may self-seed in optimum growing conditions." Boy howdy! I have must have optimal conditions! I should have given that statement a little more weight in my decision. I still think it is a neat plant, but unfortunately if left uncontrolled, it may take over my jungle and start a new movement. So yes, "some" native plants can be invasive if they have the potential and are given optimal conditions. Check and check!

After removing hundreds of little small-flowered leafcup seedlings, I decided to walk around and evaluate plants I actually want to spread around. Just sticking to natives, some of my favorites include wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia), Indian pinks (Spigelia marilandica), prairie trillium (Trillium recurvatum recurvatum), doll's eyes (Actaea pachypoda), wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). So what makes the difference? They all spread politely without choking out neighbors.


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