Monday, May 04, 2015

What's wrong with this picture?

Well, fundamentally, nothing is wrong. It's about the irises. You see, the long row of irises along the hedge have been growing in that spot since before we bought the house. Last fall (you may recall), I cleaned out the row as it was terribly overgrown into the pathway just in front. I pulled up most of the saxifrage (the round green leaves at the base of the irises) and removed many of the iris rhizomes. But I did not dig up the remaining plants.

A tale of two iris beds.

Meanwhile, the irises that are flowering in the foreground of the photo sprouted from some left-over irises that we dug up many years ago. I left the rhizomes in a pile on the ground right where you see them and have done nothing to them. They thrive. The ones in the bed that I weeded and thinned out are just standing there. No flowers.

My conclusion: I must dig up that bed of irises, divide them, then leave them on the ground, right where they are, if I want them to look better. I guess irises like to be disturbed and divided periodically, then left for dead in order to thrive.

13 comments:

  1. I guess those that were ignored are crying out for attention! By the way, are they both beds getting the same amount of sunlight? Is the soil the same? Are they exactly the same variety of iris? I love a good mystery.

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  2. I seem to remember it's folk wisdom that flowers come from being a bit cruel to plants. If they're feeding happily, they'll put on leaves and roots but won't feel any pressure to reproduce - hence no flowers. But if the old irises were pushing out into the pathway, it might well have been that they were looking to get out the shade, perhaps?

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  3. How interesting. I love bearded irises. I've planted about 8 different kinds (colours) in our garden over the past two years and I see the first blooms coming this year. Perhaps I should just have left them on the surface to do their own thing?!

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  4. Did you by chance plant the rhizomes "in" the soil? They don't like
    being buried.

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  5. Okay, here are my questions... because I don't have any iris plants, and I'd like some:
    1- Is the rhizome the bulb?
    2- Sheila, are you saying that I shouldn't dig a nice, deep hole (as I would for tulip bulbs or hyacinth bulbs) about 6 inches or so deep, and push them down in there?
    Anyone who has experience with this is welcome to answer. Merci d'avance :)

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  6. Okay, here are my questions... because I don't have any iris plants, and I'd like some:
    1- Is the rhizome the bulb?
    2- Sheila, are you saying that I shouldn't dig a nice, deep hole (as I would for tulip bulbs or hyacinth bulbs) about 6 inches or so deep, and push them down in there?
    Anyone who has experience with this is welcome to answer. Merci d'avance :)

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  7. i have iris questions too....there are some in the garden here that have hardly ever bloomed.....i vaguely remember seeing a random bloom once, but they aren't crowded in there so doesnt look like they would need dividing....should I dig em up anyway & just put em back in?

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  8. They do like to be disturbed, and they do not like to be covered. One should be able to see the bulbous part above the soil. I also wonder about the sun/shade situation between the two beds. And I assume they flowered in the now-unflowering bed? Or, maybe they want to get established before they bloom?

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  9. To all who asked,

    I take my instructions from this site ( I do purchase from them on and off):
    http://www.veseys.com/ca/en/learn/guide/bulbinfo/irisbeardediris

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for that informtional page, Beav. I planted a bed of bearded irises last year and now weeds have completely taken it over. A few or the irises are flowering, however. If the rain ever stops, I'll have to spend an hour or two out there weeding. This bed gets full afternoon sun, so the irises should do well this summer.

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    2. The first time I transplanted some - they were easy to dug ( only two yrs in the same spot). Last year , they had taken over the whole plate bande in the front and I decided to divide them to transplant some on the border with my neighbour. They were tough to dug out but the leaves are out already ( we jumped from winter to summer this past week - no spring -since we are in the 20's) and I do hope they bloom. I have some black ones but they don't grow as fast as the blue ones.

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  10. Stop me if I've posted this here before. (Uh oh, too late!) The first time I dug up and divided irises I did it by the book. Right after blooming, I dug them up. Cut out flabby parts of the rhizomes. Cut so each had only two fans. Shortened the roots. Leveled the soil in the bed, then created a low mound for each rhizome. Put a rhizome on a mound and buried the roots alongside. I planted them all facing the same way and they looked neat. Next year we had plenty of blooms.

    My husband didn't take the leftovers to the compost pile, just threw them in the woods. Waste of time, I told him. Next year those had plenty of blooms.

    However, over the years those died out from lack of sun.

    The lesson is, sometimes you are right, sometimes your spouse is right, sometimes the books are right. Just not all three at the same time.

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