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RE: Re: CULT: Bearded iris myths
iris@hort.net
  • Subject: RE: Re: CULT: Bearded iris myths
  • From: "Kelly D. Norris" <kellydn@frontiernet.net>
  • Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2011 18:58:07 -0600

Thanks to everyone for sharing your responses.  I have most of these so far,
but here's the list as it stands (in no particular order):

Myths:
1. Bearded irises are so much work.  You have to trim the foliage back every
summer!
2. Bearded irises dont play with others and thus need to be kept separate
from companion plants.
3. Bearded irises have a lot of problems and are hard to grow.
4. Bearded irises attract grass (a personal favorite from an audience member
once).
5. Bearded irises change colors (even though we all know this as absurd,
completely rational, intelligent people sometimes fail to be convinced
otherwise!)
6. Bearded irises are bulbs (this is the part where I'll talk about depth--I
remember a woman with a terrified look on her face after a talk of mine
reporting that because she thought bearded irises were bulbs, she'd planted
them 6-8" deep.)
7. Bearded irises are too big for small gardens (told to me rather
matter-of-factly after a talk on medians no less....)

Betty's recollection of irises "rising" to the top is one that I can verify
also.  We were re-digging a production bed (about 5,000 'Jesse's Song) a few
years ago and decided for experiment's sake to just till the remaining
low-grade plants under (we were replanting with the bed with 'Jesse's Song'
so "contamination" wasn't a serious issue).  We used a large roto-tiller
that pulls behind a tractor, cultivating the bed to a depth of 10-12".  The
next spring we had PLENTY of re-sprouts, some from a full 12" below.  I've
got a photo somewhere, but it's probably on an old slide.  These gangly
fingers of rhizomes rose through heavy Iowa loam all the way to the surface
to sprout--kind of amazing.

Anyone have any other juicy myths I can dispel?  As for the hybridizing
"myths", I'll address the particulars in the chapter on hybridizing and
development Betty.  I've made a note in my journal to make sure I address a
couple of those now--thanks!

Again thanks for your help everyone!

--kdn

Horticulturally,
 
Kelly D. Norris
Farm Manager, Rainbow Iris Farm
Editor, Irises: The Bulletin of the American Iris Society
Bedford & Ames, IA 
Zone 4b/5a
Read my blog at: http://www.kellydnorris.com

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