Dear Iris Friends:

Happy Spring 2019

Our plans to reduce our plantings were accelerated by two years of incredible continuous rains. So far, 2019 has been a winter of endless mud and very cold temperatures

Most irises today are bred and selected for introduction in climates with low annual rainfall; there are but a handful of breeders living in the interior states and outside the west and southwest. Genetics of any living plant determine its ultimate behavior and performance. When planted outside its home of origin, a plant can be unpredictable.

We have hundreds of other varieties under observations—some in sufficient quantities to list. We have intentionally avoided offering these for sale until they prove their worth as hardy, reliable perennial plants. If you are a collector and are seeking a variety we have previously offered, we may have a few rhizomes we can share. We always enjoy hearing from you.

As I write this in mid February, the very hard freezes with no snow cover continue. The daffodils are trying to bloom; some are kissing the ground with damaged stems. The irises appear to be more dormant than in many years, many rhizomes barely showing signs of spring growth. This desirable plant habit will typically be a plant that is not damaged by late spring frosts and freezes!

A special thanks to all the hybridizers who willingly share photos of their beautiful introductions for us to share. If you have never made a cross, harvested seed, stored seed and planted the seed, the wait for germination can be painful. Breeders then lift the baby plants, separate the fragile roots, line them out by hand, keep them watered until they begin strong growth, weed them all summer, then wait for spring bloom. The beauties that eventually make it into our gardens are then “tagged for observation” for a few more seasons (more weeding, separating, and lining out) until there is stock enough to introduce. Iris hybridizers are strong and disciplined mortals!!

Thank you for your past orders and all your many kind notes and conversations. We hope to have the website open in March. As the plants begin strong growth, we want to check available stock one last time to be SURE there is no winter damage.

Sending an email will get you the quickest response. We also welcome your phone calls and there is someone in the office daily to take your messages. When the sun is shining, I need to be outdoors!!!

With all good wishes,

Phil Williams

 email: phil@rockytopgardens.com (or) rtgphil@gmail.com

phone: 615-­274­-6426

fax: 615-­274-­6634