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Re: Iris growing north of Parry Sound

--- In iris-talk@y..., hederst@z... wrote:
> Beginner here.  Living north of Parry Sound.  Sometimes gets as low
> as -25.  Last summer (2000) bought and planted 8 varieties of iris.
> Soil light sandy with leaves and compost started to be mixed in ..
> its better with more leaf matter mixed in this year.   I think they
> are what you term TB (tall bearded iris).   Last winter was very very
> cold.  This summer I only had one bloom between all 8 plants.
> Obviously I am doing something very wrong.  I followed the directions
> to plant the iris with the rhizomes exposed.  I did NOT put anything
> on top of the iris for winter protection and this may be why no
> blooms in summer 2001.  I had gardened in Barrie previously and had
> no problems with my iris, but I think it is warmer there.
> As fall is coming, does anyone have suggestions?  Should I plant the
> rhizome deeper? Or do I still leave the rhizome exposed ... I feel
> badly (but thats just an emotional thing) leaving the rhizome so
> exposed ... won't it freeze right through?   Or should I just cover
> the plant with something?  What is good "cover" for winter
> protection?  We have lots of leaves ... would that do?
> I have seen some lovely iris blooms up here so I know they CAN grow
> well even in this cold climate.  Any help is appreciated.

Welcome to the group. There are a fair number of Canadians on the
group including a number from colder climate then you. I have an Iris
farm in Guelph Ontario and provide plants to many areas of Canada
including zone 3 and 2 (Canadian rating) were people have good success
and bloom. Winter protection is usually needed only on first year
plants. Straw,  soil or oak leaves (not maple as they pack) provide
good mulch and are not removed until ground thaws. Another good
survival is rocks (or bricks) placed directly on the rhizome. As long
as the plants survive they should bloom. If the plants are small when
you get them they may need some time to bulk up and thus may not bloom
first year.
I usually plant with the rhizome barely covered with soil, they seek
the level that they are comfortable with. Some plants will just sulk
(every climate has sulkers) and never bloom or only every few years.
For me that includes Laced Cotton. Beverly Sills, Edith Wolfond etc.
Too much green growth can result from excessive soil richness and then
the plant may not bloom and will be more susceptable to rot.
Could you post an introductory bio. That is a short note about
yourself and your experiences with iris as well as your precise location.
Chuck Chapman, Guelph Ontario, Zone 4/5.

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