Irises forum: Iris Rescues

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2
Views: 932, Replies: 23 » Jump to the end
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Lestv
May 8, 2014 4:22 PM CST
I have been actively trying to rescue 60+ year old Quaker Lady from the side of my house, and would love to know if any of you have rescue stories of your own. I would like to think I am not the only one crazy enough to do things like the following:

There were gardening notes in my basement about flowers the previous owner had planted in a rock garden in the 40's. For years tiny fans have been poking up through what used to be a rock garden, but never any blooms. A couple of years ago I started digging up the fans, like this one:
Thumb of 2014-05-08/Lestv/49c10f
And I transplanted the largest fans into my gardens. Last year I wrangled the itty bitty fans and put them in a side garden to grow. This is the growth over winter (Note: the fan on the left started with a rhizome smaller than the fingernail on my pinky):

Thumb of 2014-05-08/Lestv/fcd2fb

This one is the overachiever and bloomed already:
Thumb of 2014-05-08/Lestv/b7dd88

And this is a clump after 2 years growth:
Thumb of 2014-05-08/Lestv/af0579

I had never seen Quaker Lady before last year, but I love it and it's will to survive after 60+ years of neglect.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Ken
Traverse City, Michigan (Zone 5a)
Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Michigan Irises Daylilies
Region: United States of America Cat Lover
Image
bramedog
May 8, 2014 6:02 PM CST
I was out looking for morel mushrooms about seven years ago, when I came upon an old foundation that was left in the woods. Probably an old farm house. I did find some small fans of an iris that were struggling to survive a short ways away from the house, kind of peering out of the brush that was engulfing it.

I brought them home, about nine dinky fans is all that could be had. But oh they took right off and got established well before winter set in. They all bloomed the following spring and put on a show. I did ID them as Wabash I think. They now grow and multiply so quickly in my yard. They do put on an awesome show every year now.

Thumb of 2014-05-09/bramedog/af4ae7
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
May 8, 2014 7:14 PM CST
Its rather a long story. When I was active in the Master Gardener program I planted a lot of perennials including irises throughout the county. As I went about my duties I always kept an eye out for native plants. One beautiful sunny morning as I drove down a rural road I noticed bright golden yellow blooms down an embankment along a stream bed just under the canopy of forest trees. I was in my car but no matter I turned around and drove by again. IRISES! Growing along the creek…almost in the water. There were hundreds. I looked the situation over. No place to park unless I could sort of hang off the road. I had not seen another vehicle on this road all day. I had my spade, gloves and bucket in the back. I WOULD DO IT! I parked the car barely clinging onto the narrow shoulder, took out my gloves and shovel and began a dangerous descent down a steep weedy embankment. Then…. I heard a vehicle. It was a truck….a monster truck. Its wheels were bigger than my car! It slowed down as it drew near me. I pretended not to notice. There were at least a dozen rifles on a rack in the rear window! Now if you are from Arkansas you know that is not unusual. Even the preacher’s wife gets a new rifle nearly every Christmas to put in her truck rack. However, the man behind the steering wheel did give me pause. He was a bear of a man and he was liberally tattooed. Even. On. His. Head. He drove on by. I thought 'I need to get this done and get back to my garden'. I slipped/slid/did the splits down the embankment and proceeded to dig up one shovel full of the irises. They were growing atop matted roots that I had to cut through with the spade. Then….I heard a vehicle. He was back. Driving more slowly down the road and peering at me like a hungry hawk looks at a bunny. Now I am not afraid at my age and size (I am a bit of a dumpling) of being assaulted by a man. If a car full of rapists stop they will just be asking ‘where are all the good lookin’ skinny young women’. So I got my spade full of irises and started back up to the car. A Sherpa would have been proud of the way I scaled that embankment! Nearly to the top and then…… I heard a vehicle. The truck slooooooly came alongside me as I reached the back of my car, he leaned out of the window, looking at the yellow irises seemingly growing out of the spade. as I stood frozen and said in a voice exceedingly soft ‘Did you get what you need hon?’ I said yes and smiled. He smiled and drove on. Those irises have adapted to my garden and every time I look at them I think about how I should never judge a book by its cover.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
May 8, 2014 7:25 PM CST
Thumbs up Rolling on the floor laughing ..Arlyn
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
Image
lovemyhouse
May 8, 2014 7:25 PM CST
Bonnie, an awesome story and I mean that in the original sense of the word. Lovey dubby

Leslie, I rescued some purples from a fill lot at an old employer's that, much like Quaker Lady, were unfazed by neglect, drought, or overcrowding, and multiplied exceedingly well for me.


Lori @enidcandles has a good rescue story to tell. She does it better than do I, so maybe we can get her to chime in here. Smiling
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
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
May 8, 2014 8:25 PM CST
Years ago, when I was working, every Spring I would see the most beautiful rose-colored Irises growing in a gas station lot in town. They didn't seem to be tended, or anything -- just growing carelessly toward the back side of the lot.

One day I decided to stop in and see if they'd mind swapping some of those rhizomes for one that I had an abundance of. I approached the owner of the business and asked him if he would agree to the swap. I told him I'd be happy to plant the trade Irises that I gave him. He said "Sure. I don't care -- I don't own the property, I just rent it -- but I'm sure that would be OK".

So one fine day I brought my shovel to work with me -- and after work I drove over to the gas-station and dug up a clump of their Irises. In the same place, I planted a clump of one of my own. Thereafter, I got to enjoy seeing the rose-colored Iris growing alongside one of my own NOID's.

Took awhile to find out what I had traded for -- it is now tentatively identified as Miss California!!
Thumb of 2014-05-09/Muddymitts/567013

Green Grin!

Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
May 8, 2014 8:32 PM CST
And it is beautiful!
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
Image
lovemyhouse
May 8, 2014 8:50 PM CST
I agree
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'

Region: California
Image
UndertheSun
May 9, 2014 12:10 AM CST
Great rescue stories! Green Grin!

What old beauties you all rescued too! Thumbs up
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Lestv
May 9, 2014 7:18 AM CST
Beautiful rescues one and all (it appears we all like rescuing the heirlooms)!!!

And Bonnie that was an amazing and laugh out loud funny story. Loved it!!! Rolling on the floor laughing Hurray!
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
May 9, 2014 7:37 AM CST
And there are lots of " Heirlooms" that need rescuing! I've hauled iris from road ditches, weed patches, and old farm steads, too, and always been happy that I did! I always wonder, if in the far, distant , future, any of our "current" laced and frilled beauties will be found growing under similar conditions...or whether we have bred out the "toughness", in a search for more ( scratch that...for a "Different kind" ) of beauty?....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
Image
Muddymitts
May 9, 2014 7:38 AM CST
I thought it was a scary story!! I'd a been pretty nervous -- out there all by myself, down a ravine, with some guy cruising by several times.............? Yikes!!
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Lestv
May 9, 2014 7:44 AM CST
Well put Arlyn. I wonder about that too. I do have 20 year old stock of Acoma that were neglected for at least 15 years (rhizomes buried under grass & in shade), and they are thriving now. But the "newer models" have been so tempermental in my gardens that I can't see them surviving neglect. I sure hope to be proved wrong though!
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
May 9, 2014 7:50 AM CST
Yes Mary Ann, but I had my sharp little spade in my hands. I have been wielding that weapon at snakes so long that I have developed an accuracy for speed an direction that would make a gang of Ninja's quail. I could create 'spade marks' rivaling any ones tattoos! Why, after I got through with someone it may even come to be considered a new art form. Like.... pirates are know for peg legs and eye patches..... southern stalkers would be known for tic-tac-toe spade art. Innovation? Creation? .....and tell me you would have left without that iris.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
May 9, 2014 7:58 AM CST
Arlyn, I think you are absolutely right. I am always hearing of people searching for irises that are now considered extinct. I think people were so used to their irises surviving in almost any conditions that they treated the newer ones the same way and they did not withstand the neglect. When my irises are subjected to weather extremes and drought and I cannot seem to nurture them all through it, it is the old historics that come back the next year and put on a show. Here is a photo of a pale lavender iris that I think can withstand anything and come back better.
Thumb of 2014-05-09/grannysgarden/9f1b78

Keep the rescues going!
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Lestv
May 9, 2014 8:07 AM CST
Mary Ann - I do think I would have been scared witless, but Bonnie writes it in such a humorous way that I can't help but laugh. And the descriptions are so vivid!
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Lestv
May 9, 2014 8:11 AM CST
Bonnie! Tic tac toe spade art! I used to be an archaeologist and our trowels and spades were razor sharp for excavation purposes. I have seen rattlesnakes meet their other half with the quick strike of a spade. I can imagine you would be hailed as a goddess by a site crew for such accuracy!
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
Tomato Heads Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Plays in the sandbox
Image
Paul2032
May 9, 2014 8:37 AM CST
I'm always interested with comments that Historics have survived and that today's fancier ones may not. I'm certain there were many bred during the historic period that were not vigorous and no longer exist. Not all historics were good growers. I'm also certain that there will be many of today's iris that are good growers and will be around for many years. Just because an iris has wide parts, substance, ruffles and lace, and intriguing colors doesn't mean they are weak and questionable as to good growth.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
Image
lovemyhouse
May 9, 2014 8:50 AM CST
I agree I agree I agree with ever'body
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
[Last edited by lovemyhouse - May 9, 2014 8:50 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #609711 (19)
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
May 9, 2014 8:53 AM CST
That makes sense Paul. The historics that did not survive we do not have and many have been forgotten. I think me saying that the newer ones are not as hardy stems from the fact that the old ones I have, which are proven to be survivors, always come back and SOME of the newer ones that I may pay a premium for need pampering. That is making a blanket statement about all the new iris with large ruffled blooms. Time will tell which of the new irises are survivors and which will only be remembered. My apologies to all New Irises.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Irises forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by Paul2032 and is called "French Marigold"