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Re: losing rhizomes

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: losing rhizomes
  • From: storey@aristotle.net (J. Michael, Celia or Ben Storey)
  • Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 14:27:47 -0600 (MDT)

Bill Shear:
>These irises are in the wrong place.  The north side of a house is simply
>too shady to support decent growth and bloom.  Alfalfa and peat moss, I
>suspect, will make the situation worse by encouraging more moisture and

I'm with Bill, except I do think she might lose some of them this winter,
so I'd be inclined to modify Walter's suggestion. Instead of using peat and
alfalfa, which would aggravate the moisture retention problem, I'd fork
each clump up as a unit and put a good shovel or two of sandy soil in under
it. In other words, build little mounds for each clump.

Of course, my interest in doing all this work would depend mightily upon
how many clumps were involved and hold cold it's already getting at night.
After a certain point in fall you're better off letting the poor things be.
(Here in Arkansas we still have another month of leeway.)

We all agree that come spring she ought to move the TBs someplace sunnier.

Walta, I'm puzzled that you suggested using peat moss and alfalfa pellets.
Were you thinking that they'd absorb some of that standing water and swell
up, lifting the rhizomes higher? That seems to assume she won't be getting
any more rain.
Peat and alfalfa wouldn't be a good planting base in my Arkansas garden.
Does it work in yours? You have that heavy gumbo-mud clay to contend with,
right? Maybe we've nudged into another of those Curious Regional
Differences (CRD) that cause some list members to espouse cultural
practices folks from other areas don't understand.

When Mom and I were digging irises in Rhode Island in August, I was amazed
by the strangely light, crumbling clay in Granny's yard. I'd never seen
anything quite like it (or the borers busily munching the irises planted in
it). In Tidewater Virginia we dug up stuff that compacted more like our
thick red clay here in Arkansas, but this, too, was just as gray as it
could be. And it stank. (We were thrilled with it, actually, because we
were planting teeny little Louisiana starts.)

In sum, I vote for raising the individual clumps unto mounds now and moving
the whole bed next year.

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