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Storing potted iris for winter


  Sorry to be so long getting around to reading your request. I am at least
200 messages behind , waiting to be read and not the time or energy to read
them all as they come in. I did spot yours (by accident) and you shuld get
your pots in most anytime now before  severe freezeing weather. Left out all
winter will result in a broken pot (if clay) - my favorite (for iris) and
almost likely a dead rhizone. The garage I used (before I had the
greenhouses} had 3' x 4' plate glass windows on the south side and the pots
were set on a table so they did get some sun. I also stored calla lilies and
agapanthus (Lily of the Nile) on the same table and all came through OK. It
may have dropped a bit under freezing some nights but never enough to freeze
the surface earth in the pots. I never found it very successful putting them
in the warm basement in the dark. Too dry and if watered a bit would make
weak growth and die for lack of light. I used to have lots of jobs to do in
the garage/workshop then and had a wood stove going part of the time and
certainly on zero nights.

  I should have put this part first. When the imports were received from the
States the were naturally well dried, so I planted them in the 8" pots
immediately and gave them lots of water. They sat on the concrete slab in
front of the garage and got full sun in the mornings and early afternoons. I
left them out as long as possible and as not more than 20 or so could cover
then if afraid of an early frost. If I had some in pots right now they would
still be outside for a few more days. Best place to harden them off and stop
new growth. I might add I never lost a rhizome and as far as I can remember
they all bloomed in the following spring. Of course they should be planted
out in the garden as soon as the ground is fit to work and extreme care
taken to keep the earth ball intact. To ensue this for all potted plants I
intended to transplant I always put about an inch of peaat in the bottom of
the pot - rather than a piece of brroken pot over the drain hole. The roots
mat into this and the whole works stays together with little trouble. Clay
pots are best to use as easier to knock out than light weight and flexable
plastic - which often results in a broken earth ball.

   I expect Carylon will see this so am adding a bit re species.  I started
collecting them around 1960 when I gave up on hybridizing medians. Reason -
my wife objected to throwing any of the seedlings away (but no objestions to
me caring for them).I've tried most everything that will survive here and
twice as many more that didn't. With the plastic greenhouse and the heated
glass  house today I could grow most of the ones I lost to weather but its
too late now as I may be moving away from here in a year or two to live with
my daughter (1/4 mile away on a corner of the farm) and this home I bullt in
1950 will be sold and there is considerable doubt I will be moving the
remaining 50 or so species. I expect to be only able to garden on the
Internet from them on for as long as my eyesight holds out - and it fades a
bit each year. I'll answer questions but wonder how I can read all those
messages - I am at least 150-200 behind right now and pusthing as hard as I
can outside to clean up the jobs before winter hits. So little time or
energy for the List for a month.

Bruce   (brucer@networx.on.ca)
Bruce Richardson (near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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