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Re: SPEC: I. tectorum

Dennis Hager, who has been in my so-called garden and showed me pictures of
his own truly fabulous spread, said, generously, 

<<  I think that it stems from the  fact that Anner grows everything well. I
just grow everything.......... I grow I. tecorum in a dry garden with poor
soil. I do irrigate, but it
competes with the roots of huge sycamore trees. I mulch it lightly (1")
with wood chips and I top dress with 5-10-10 or Hollytone in the fall.  When
I am removing leaves and foliage in the fall, I make sure that I  rip out big
clumps to make room for more growth. They have been in the  same spot for 8
years and still perform well.>>

I'm not surprised. I have suspected they were pretty drought tolerant. I
would assume that from what I know of Dennis' dirt they are in a place with
sandy soil, rather than dry compacted stuf? I also fertilize with a sprinkle
of an organic product like Hollytone in December or very early spring--March
here--and I also mulch their bed lightly with some pine bark and the leaves
that fall from the crape myrtle. It is hard NOT to remove clumps or fans when
removing old leaves and new growers should be careful if they have only a few
plants. I have learned that leaning over and doing the quick purposeful yank
that gives such good results with your bearded types will usually result in
pulling at least a portion of the plant up by what passes for the roots. Just
pitch a little dirt on them and step on them.  Cut off the yellowing leaves
with your garden scissors.   

The "decline" I was offering preliminary observations about  was one I have
made about individual plants, rather than established palntings, which are
also said to decline if some steps are not taken to refurbish the soil.
Having a small garden, my vision tends to be micro oriented, and may be
distorted accordingly. But I am watching my clones, and I think that this may
be the case. 

<< I consider  tectorum to be one of the workhorses of the iris world,
performing well
 in spite of abuse.>>

I absolutely agree! It can be a fabulous groundcover as well for those who
fancy interesting leaves, as I do. The only time I have seen it looking
crummy was in an overcrowded situation in a moist area where there was poor
air circulation and it had broken out into leaf spot. 
<<BTW, my brother used to grow I. tectorum on his roof>>

Now, I want to hear more about this. What kind of roof, what kind of SUN,
 what kind of climate, what kind of maintenance..........please, Dennis. 

Also, I have seen a rhapsodic article on this plant in the magazine Southern
Living, but I really want to know how far south it will grow and if flowering
is a problem in the deep South.  Anybody got any going in lower Zone 8 or 9?

Anner Whitehead, Richmond, VA  USDA Zone 7   TEA LEAVES blooming
Henry Hall henryanner@aol.com


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