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CULT: garden conditions (was breeding historics

A couple of comments about my garden(s).  My main garden is old creek
colluvium (i.e., an erratic distribution of rocks, gravel, sand, and
even some clay) and is naturally very fertile and high in organic
matter.  It is about 20 ft elevation above the main stream.   The water
table is normally at least 10 ft below the surface, but when we have
major storm systems that dump 10 inches of rain in less than a week, the
hills behind my house become saturated and my entire yard and garden can
be below the water table!  That rarely happens, fortunately, and is
usually a winter event.  The water moves thru the gravel so fast, it
doesn't seem to bother the plants at all - including Oriental poppies,
which are notoriously picky about drainage in our climate, and thrive

The field where the garden is located slopes gradually down to a major
stream. Next to the main channel, there are some low boggy areas about 5
ft above the usual surface of the stream that are flooded several times
a year, often have standing water, are mostly silt and clay and an ideal
location for Louisianas.

The ridge top "garden" is a mess.  A ragged opening in the woods is a
better description. It was a cornfield in the early 1950s, a pine stand
until a few years ago when the pine beetles killed the trees.  The soil
is well drained clay, naturally low in nutrients and organic matter, (so
I get to add what I want) has great air drainage & sun exposure, none of
the drought /disease problems I see in the gravel garden (yet?).  I
hired a bulldozer to push enough of the fallen trees out of the way to
be able to get the tractor in and plow a few rows to plant with irises.
Not much room there, and surrounding dead pines are still coming down.
I'm using it to see how my seedlings will grow under more favorable
conditions and to get pods and viable pollen on things too fussy to
cooperate here at the house.  It has also turned out to be a good way to
get some extra matchups with fresh pollen between the two, since some
things bloom quite a bit earlier there.

But the main garden will always be here at the house - the goal of my
pollen daubing is to breed seedlings that will thrive under my difficult
growing conditions here.  But the ridgetop is invaluable for evaluating
seedling potential and for some daubing.

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8
East Tennessee Iris Society <http://www.korrnet.org/etis>
American Iris Society web site <http://www.irises.org>
talk archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-talk/>
photos archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-photos/>
online R&I <http://www.irisregister.com>

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