One of our group, in a separate correspondence, asked how things are going in my iris world. The answer is that we have had a record cold winter here, with two 2-foot snow falls. The first brought two of my neighbor's 45-50-ft tall Leland cypresses down on my house and iris beds. The second brought down five more. (You can see some of the remaining trees standing behind my house in the second photo.) While the worst damage to the house appears to be a broken window and some eaves knocked loose, a tool shed also collapsed, along with a broken fence, a semi-destroyed pretty dogwood, and the extent of damage to individual plants as yet unknown. Oil lamps, candelabras and the fireplace saved the day when power went out. (Remember that when you hear the greenies inveigh against fireplaces.) A young neighbor went up on the roof and removed the heavy snow from my chimney
cap, so the flu would operate. My son and a daughter each live about an hour's drive away (when the roads are clear). It took Nate 3 days, working with a snow blower, to clear his long driveway. Laura and her husband, at the end of a tiny side street, were marooned in their home for 8 days. On the morning of the eighth, her drive finally having been cleared the evening before, Laura headed for work, only to find that a snow plow had buried the entrance to their street.
As for the irises as a whole, the long deprivation of sunlight and prolonged freezing temperatures has had a significant retarding effect. In an ordinary year, I would by now have the plants groomed, fed and sprayed, and be looking forward to the MDBs popping out in a couple of weeks. This year, the plants as yet show no sign of new growth, hence are not yet able to be groomed.
To give you an idea of how abnormal things are, I've attached, besides a couple of snow-buried beds and downed-trees shots, a photo of markers sunk into the soil to their labels by the weight of the (finally melted) snow. These are 15" rose markers, which usually stand 9 or 10 inches tall. In an ordinary freeze-thaw- freeze-thaw winter here, the problem would be markers out of the ground and toppled over, but this time, it's the reverse. So, it's going to be an interesting spring. -- Griff