Irises forum: Iris Newbie Inherits a Bunch

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Name: Maria
Victoria, BC (Zone 7b)
Region: Canadian Peonies Hummingbirder Birds Irises Seed Starter
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Pwinget
Aug 16, 2013 1:39 PM CST
Hello,
I remember being told not to include irises in my garden because they are high maintenance plants. After we moved, I inherited a bunch. I love them! I want them to flourish, but I'm pretty new at all this. They are very old - 40 years at least, I'm told. Some look very good:


Thumb of 2013-08-16/Pwinget/959215

And some, not so much:

Thumb of 2013-08-16/Pwinget/4f3730

I had cleaned up that first batch. Some leaves became droopy over the summer, and where I had cut them, they have yellowed. Is that ok? They are also very close, as you can see, and I wonder if it's ok that I leave them that way another year.

That second pic is in an area we won't be cleaning up this year. Should I move them now? We have about another month left of relatively warm weather. Here is another bed I will be cleaning up this weekend:


Thumb of 2013-08-16/Pwinget/2fcc84

Thumb of 2013-08-16/Pwinget/a428bf

Should I separate the ones above? I don't know if you can see, but parts of the rhizomes are elevated above ground.

These are new ones in another area that I haven't cleaned:

Thumb of 2013-08-16/Pwinget/7bf008

I think those started growing at the beginning of this summer when we removed the brush that had covered them.

And last one:

Thumb of 2013-08-16/Pwinget/8c8bab

I need advice on how I should handle these plants and if this is the time to do so. I've read that I should divide them several weeks after they bloom, but that time has long past. They are Spring bloomers and very very tall - 4 ft, bearded blue irises.

Thank you in advance!




Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
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irisarian
Aug 16, 2013 3:06 PM CST
You can cut the top half of the old leaves & they won't droop. Make sure the top part of the rhizome is exposed to the sun. If it is buried like a bulb it will not bloom.
Name: Maria
Victoria, BC (Zone 7b)
Region: Canadian Peonies Hummingbirder Birds Irises Seed Starter
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Pwinget
Aug 17, 2013 9:22 PM CST
I'm relieved! That makes things very easy. Thank you.
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Muddymitts
Aug 18, 2013 6:49 AM CST
Hi Pwinget -- welcome to our Iris group! Welcome!

Lucy's advice is spot-on. You asked a couple of other questions: 1) Yes, it's OK that the leaves have yellowed a bit where you have cut them; 2) Now is a great time to separate your Irises and transplant the increases; 3) Yes, it's OK to leave them where they are for another year -- you may sacrifice some blooms in doing so, but the Irises will probably be just fine. It wouldn't hurt to feed them now -- something as simple as sprinkling alfalfa pellets around them will give them extra oomph for next Spring's blooming season.

Irises love sunshine, good drainage and space to grow into. Provide those three things and they should do beautifully for you. I can't wait to see your pictures next Spring!! nodding

P.S. I don't' consider Irises high-maintenance -- just the opposite, actually. Properly planted, and a little bit of annual care, and they shouldn't need anything more than thinning every three or four years.
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
Aug 18, 2013 6:58 AM CST
Good advice Mary Ann
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Aug 18, 2013 7:07 AM CST
I agree ..Arlyn
Name: Maria
Victoria, BC (Zone 7b)
Region: Canadian Peonies Hummingbirder Birds Irises Seed Starter
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Pwinget
Aug 20, 2013 7:34 PM CST
I'm glad to be here! Thank you for telling me about the yellowing of cut leaves. I see things like that happen and I start to think I'm killing those plants. Then I see baby irises and I think that maybe I'm doing something right after all!

I bought the alfalfa, but I must admit, I didn't get to the irises this weekend as I had planned. I ended up shovelling dirt around instead. I wondered, though, what people mean by tagged irises when trading. I bought a pot of irises with a sticker on it that included a pic and the species and cultivar. I know that some people don't like trading in unidentified irises. What would I require for authentication? I don't think that sticker will last. Is it enough to photograph it and keep track of my plants?
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Aug 20, 2013 8:18 PM CST
If you scroll to the top of this page, you will see the "search" box. Type in "plant tags", and you will get tons of ideas for making tags, and lots more ideas on different "store-bought" ones. You can also make a "garden map" to help keep track, and, a "logbook" can be a big help to keep track of not only what you have, but where you got it, and when! I ,myself, use metal tags, wired to a long nail, and pushed into the soil at the base of the iris, as well as metal "rose labels"( I think PawPaw is the brand, and if you google rose labels you'll see a bunch of styles) that I put out in the spring ,and remove after bloom is done. I also keep "log books" with the cultivar name, hybridizer, etc. ,and where and when I got it, and it's bed location( south side of house,west side of driveway, etc.)....but, I'm an iris addict, and can't help myself! Rolling on the floor laughing have fun !...Arlyn
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Muddymitts
Aug 20, 2013 9:46 PM CST
Hi again! Smiling

If you don't intend to trade Irises, and only have them for your own enjoyment, it doesn't matter if you know what their names are, etc. However, if you think that you might enjoy trading, or gifting Irises, and you know the identity of the Irises that you have, then it's a good idea to remember what is what. And as your Iris collection grows, that gets harder and harder. Most of us have some kind of plant identification system. I like the plant markers offered by Kinkade Gardens -- they're metal and durable and hard to dislodge. I also keep a database of my Irises, listed alphabetically, with date of acquisition, where I got it, who the hybridizer is, the color of the bloom, the location of the Iris here in my gardens, and a photo reference. I also have a map of my main Iris bed showing the location of each cultivar. If you're thinking this is a little obsessive/compulsive -- it is. You don't have to do any of it, or you can do some of it.

As far as the Iris that you bought that is identified on it's container -- that's probably good enough authentification. If it blooms differently, though -- then you've got some detective work to do. Every now and then, even a conscientious grower and seller will mis-ship -- mistakes happen.
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Maria
Victoria, BC (Zone 7b)
Region: Canadian Peonies Hummingbirder Birds Irises Seed Starter
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Pwinget
Aug 25, 2013 10:41 AM CST
Goodness! And all I was doing was diagramming my garden by cultivar and location; I need to get serious!

Thank you for the suggestions. I think I will end up trading irises. Heck, my neighbour already wants my first division of yellow irises and I had just planted them this year post-bloom. I don't even know how they look! (However, their pic looks nice.)
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Muddymitts
Aug 25, 2013 10:45 AM CST
Oh Pwing -- you're gonna fit in here just fine!! nodding
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Dee Stewart
Willamette Valley OR
Snowpeak Iris
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: Pacific Northwest
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irisloverdee
Aug 26, 2013 12:57 PM CST

Moderator

totally agree will fit fine as most of are members of IA (Iris Anonymous) :)

D
Denise Stewart
541-259-2343
Snowpeak <url>http://snowpeakiris.com</http>

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