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RE: Iris growing north of Parry Sound

  • Subject: RE: [iris-talk] Iris growing north of Parry Sound
  • From: "The Heders" <hederst@zeuter.com>
  • Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2001 16:44:49 -0400
  • Importance: Normal

Hi Maureen:

I am beginning to understand this zone thing ... PSnd on Georgian Bay is
Zone 5a, but we are inland which makes for a slightly less moderate
temperature, so you may be right at zone 4.

No problem gathering leaves ... we live in a forest ... (though the iris are
in the open for sunlight), but I am getting the sense it isn't a good idea
to pile leaves (especially maple leaves which compact) on the plants ... so
your idea of leaves in a bag is a good one.  In the spring, they will go
into the compost heap on the edge of the property.

In adding soil to my gardens, especially in the last 2 weeks ... I've raised
the gardens about 2", so the soil on the rz is very loose packed and I guess
that won't hurt through the winter.

I guess "medians" are mid height (somewhere between tall and dwarf).  That
is thoughtful of you to offer, but lets see if what I have now make it
through the winter..  If they do, then I will feel more confident about
adding to my collection.

Thanks for the suggestion re Chuck Chapman.  From a couple of other
references it sounds like he has some wonderful iris plants ... and Guelph
is only 2 hours away, so I will try to see some of his plants in the spring.
He also answered my query.

The nice thing has been all the encouragement I've received .. not to
despair ... so I won't and we will see what happens next spring.

With mainly a forest covered property, much of my gardening (never been a
garden here before) will be fairly "natural" working with what the property
... and the surrounding forest have to offer.  But I truly want to try for
iris in the open and sunny spots. And I will have to plan some other blooms
for those times when iris are not in bloom.  What a wonderful thing to START
a garden when everything is a possibility!

People seem to like giving weather reports.  Well have 2 weeks of wet and
grey and drizzle and let's get the wood in and start the woodfire ... its
clear and blue and pleasantly mild .. and the sun at 4:40 is just glorious
on the yellow and red leaves.  I'm outta here and into the garden.

Thanks again.

Suan Heder
Parry Sound (actually Waubamik ... but who would believe it)
-----Original Message-----
From: Mark, Maureen [mailto:markm@tc.gc.ca]
Sent: September 28, 2001 4:08 PM
To: 'iris-talk@yahoogroups.com'
Subject: RE: [iris-talk] Iris growing north of Parry Sound

Hi Susan,

I think that you are in zone 4.  Not to worry about the lack of bloom first
year.  I think in our first year less than a third bloomed.  Just leave them
alone.  Although we did purchase some Remay cloth last year to protect the
expensive new ones.  If the rhizomes go through a an early thaw and freeze
again, they are susceptible to rot.  One easy way to mulch is to grab all
the neighbours' bags of leaves.  One year, I collected them up and down the
street and put the whole bag unopened on top of a new bed.  In the spring, I
put them out for collection.

If you'd like to try some medians, I can send you some next year.  Have you
joined the Canadian Iris Society?

You might also want to consider making a trek down to Chuck Chapman near
Guelph to see his gardens.  He has some wonderful medians that he has
hybridized and introduced.  He usually has an open house around the end of
May too.

Maureen Mark
Ottawa, Ontario (zone 4)  -- chance of frost in the suburbs tonight

> 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.
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