In a message dated 8/23/2003 9:08:11 AM Central Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Typical of SP this time of year.
Your photos of SYRIAN PRINCESS and previous discussions on the Aril Robin prompted me to run out and check mine. I offer these photos for comparison. My bed is constructed by cobbling together the advice received on the Aril Robin. It was planted in late June of this year and clean at the start. We have had a wet year and the bed has by and large never been devoid of moisture since planting. While we are in the same zone our climates do differ significantly.
Results here are causing me to further question conventional wisdom concerning arils, arilbreds, and irises in general. I have had less rot and better growth in this wet, moist year. Too, the rapid weed growth has produced total shade on several newly planted irises similar to what is depicted for my SYRIAN PRINCESS here. For about half of the time this SP rhizome has been in the ground it has been in total shade from this weed protection.
I am not going to offer grasshopper advice (you already know more about grasshoppers than the rest of us combined) nor suggest my cultural practices be adopted (Texans do things their own way). You can however observe insect damage on the leaves of the plant growth sheltering the plant. The second photo is from the same angle, with the natives removed. I do think sometimes, good gardening practices are not the best gardening practices, and good gardening practices look better but do not necessarily work better ... at least not for the lazy.
If we look at the design of the iris plant and try to surmise how this design might have evolved to promote the plants survival some factors are obvious and others less so. We see the outer leaves senesce and curl inward toward the center of the clump as they do so. This suggests the plant needs shade at least for it's rhizomes. The clumping habit of the plant further suggest shade is generally to it's advantage. Separating a cloned rhizome far from the others is not in the plants survival strategy and doing so places it in an alien, unnatural, hostile environment. The closer our gardening practices immolate what the plant is designed to do the better the plant will flourish. So ... how is it to a separated rhizomes advantage to be planted in full sun devoid of any protection (rhetorical)? Sometimes, plants use better logic than the little bit of gardener I have in me.