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After being a member of iris talk for six months, I'm in awe of what you have to overcome in the USA to go irises,
Heaving, Iris Borer, armadillos, deer, squirrels, huge rainfalls etc. Our problems seem so mild by comparison. In SA our only wildlife pest is cockatoos which get short of feed in late winter and will shred rhizomes to see if they are any good, but they usually prefer the daylilies (almost always the new ones I paid more than $50 for). In the odd bad season we might get a plague of grasshoppers. We can get a few problems with mites and thrips but they're not too bad to control. Because of our low rain fall we don't have much problem with rust or rot (not the case for those in Eastern Aust) A lot of SA has very alkaline soils and for people in those areas the biggest problem is getting growing conditions right for many of the beardless species (except spurias).
I grew up and learnt to garden in New Zealand (high rainfall, acid fertile soils) and it to me many years to learn to garden in Sounth Australia because everything was back the front to NZ (low rainfall, low fertility alkaline soils)
The diffence was the difference between keeping down the opposition (rusts, mildews, rots, weeds, sapsuckers, rampant growth etc) and just getting things to grow. It took me years to accept that I usually had to water the garden from Sept to May and maybe even in July(midwinter) if we had a dry spell. I've compromised now in living in the Adelaide hills where the rainfall is a bit higher and the soil is slightly acid.
So I feel almost overcome when I listen to what you in the USA have to contend with, I take my hat off to you
Colleen Modra

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