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Re: Planting Time in Short Seasons

Lee in balmy Wisconsin writes:

> But, on occasion, I have transplanted and divided in the spring prior to bloom
with >success and I have even, horrors, been forced to divide rhizomes, while
blooming, >and they have done well.

     When I first got started in irises I saw them in bloom in a field close to
my home.  I'd pass this place on my way to antique auctions.  Finally, I stopped
and admired the flowers - they were irises - and I bought some.  The lady there
would let you go thru the rows and pick what you wanted from the blooms.  She
would then dig the clump and you'd get the flower, foilage, and any attached
rhizomes.  This was when she would sell her irises - when they were in bloom!
Since she was successfully in business for over twenty-five years, had numerous
repeat customers, I'm sure that if people had losses that would have affected
her business.  She'd always advise that you plant these immediately.  So, I
would, and viola - instant clump with irises continuing to bloom for a couple of
days later.

     I bought at least a hundred different varieties over a period of years and
can't recall that many losses - if any.  Only later when I ordered irises from a
commercial grower did I feel that I had been cheated, because I only got one
rhizome instead of the clump that I was used to getting. 

      After I joined AIS and got all the propaganda about transplanting irises I
asked her about her methods.  She was quick to ask me if I'd lost any irises
using her method and when I replied "No", she just gave me a wide toothless grin
in answer to my question.   "Been selling irises like this for over twenty-five
years and no complaints - but if you lose one I'll replace it:, she replied.  

     It's hard to argue with success, so I'll stop this rambling.  So I guess
that it really doesn't matter when you divide irises.  I do have to admit that
living in sone 8A my irises certainly had enough time to recoperate - which
might be a factor in colder climates.  

Bill Smoot  

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