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Re: Irising in Houston (was OT-BIO: William M. Groth)

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Irising in Houston (was OT-BIO: William M. Groth)
  • From: storey@aristotle.net (J. Michael, Celia or Ben Storey)
  • Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 17:43:39 -0600 (MDT)

>         We live in Houston Texas, a western suberb actually which puts us in
>zone 9, the upper Texas Gulf Coast.  We have a lot of hot and a lot of
>humid here.  We just planted our herbs in a raised bed and we got a canopy
>type cover
>to provide some shade for the first 3 weeks.  There is no natural shade
>during the day.  We also have 3 raised beds for flowers and a rock garden.

Hi! People think of Texas as hot and dry, but that's a damp climate in
Houston, especially in winter and spring. I remember middling humid summers
(nothing like the steambaths we take in Arkansas), but during hurricane
season, constant high humidity and frequent downpours. When I was a kid in
Bay City (this was before we could afford CH&A), we left the lights on in
the closets so my Yankee mother's wollen suits wouldn't mildew.

Still I remember seeing irises flowering along people's fences. Not along
the streets, of course; those were all ditched, I mean lined with ditches,
to accommodate seasonal floods.

I think your plan to put TBs in raised beds is the way to go, but be sure
you fill them with soil that drains well. I have some friends who filled
their raised beds full of humus-rich material and compost and, oh dear,
they lost a lot of irises to our wet spring. A medium or heavy grind sand
helps drainage a lot. I don't think Play Sand is helpful at all, though.

Are you interested in trying the water-loving species, such as Louisianas
or Pseudacorus? That would be my choice, and I would plop them just along
edges of the drainage ditches. These are good landscape plants, almost as
carefree as the bearded iris, and they make a fine backdrop for those dense
flights of mosquitos that billow up from all y'all's shrubbery. And you
don't need to plant them in raised beds. They like wet feet and gumbo clay.

A few months back Robert Turley, who lives north of Lafayette, posted a
list of TB cultivars he'd grown in tropical Louisiana with great success.
Here's his list, which he said was incomplete. Seems to me if they'd flower
in muggy Louisiana, they'd do for you in Houston, too.


Little Rock

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