H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Iris Foetidissima - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Iris Foetidissima Described.
Iris Foetidissima - Iris Fœtidissima - Gladdon, Gladwin, or Spurge-wort; Nat. Ord. Iridaceæ.
A British species, occurring largely in some parts, in shady woods and swampy places near the sea. It is evergreen and of a pleasing form throughout the year. Its flowers are of a dull colour, and not likely to be much esteemed, more especially when in midsummer there are so many beautiful kinds around; still, it merits a place in our gardens. Its handsome berry-like seeds, which are so attractively conspicuous in December, are much more desirable than its flowers, ready as they are for our use at Christmas time.
It grows 2 ft. high, and is a water-loving plant, but may be easily grown in the more moist parts of the garden. The large pod is three-cornered; the husks having turned brown, become divided, and expose to view the large, orange-coloured seeds, which, later, turn to a reddish-brown. They are held in the husks for many weeks and strong winds do not displace them; they are very effective amongst the dark green foliage, and may be cut if desired, as they often are, for indoor decoration. They may be used in a hundred different ways, but never do they show to more advantage than when cut with long stems and placed in a vase with some of their own dark green sword-shaped leaves; these last-named, by the way, may be appropriated throughout the winter as a dressing for other flowers. There need be no difficulty in growing this species, for if the soil is not naturally moist in summer, a thick dressing of rotten stable manure will meet the case. As a matter of fact, my specimen is grown in a bed fully exposed to the sun; the soil is well drained, and stone-crops are grown in the next bed to it; no water is ever given to established plants, and still the Gladwin is well fruited; the soil is deeply tilled, and there is a thick covering of manure. It is easily propagated by division of the roots in autumn or early spring.
Flowering period, June to August.
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