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Jan 10, 2019 4:32 PM CST
Thread OP
Name: Judy
Elkins, WV (Zone 5b)
Hello All,
Happy 2019! My name is Judy and I go by wvyen (West Virginian). I just found this site and forum. I am looking forward to learning a lot from it.
A couple years ago I inherited my mother's iris collection. Due to her declining health they were in pretty bad shape then, and worse shape now. I have recently moved back to WV and will now be able to put in the work necessary to try and salvage as many of her varieties as possible. She got her first irises (Wabash and a couple others) when she and my dad bought the place in the 1950s, they came with the property. She added a few in the 70s and 80s and then in the late 1990s started placing regular orders. All told she had over 400 different cultivars at one time or another. I will be pleased if I can salvage a quarter of that number. To date I have recovered about 50. I know that at least a quarter of them were already gone before she passed.
So my goal for this winter is to set up a database to be able to keep good records of what I recover of hers and what I add. My goal for this spring and summer is to get all that I can find dug out of the weed field that they are currently in and get them replanted. My eventual goal is to have a beautiful iris garden and to help with preserving and recovering old varieties. I am fortunate that mom kept good notes and excellent labels. I welcome all help, suggestions and encouragement. Smiling

Thanks In Advance
Jan 10, 2019 4:53 PM CST
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Rescue dogs: Angels with paws needi
Dragonflies Dog Lover Bookworm I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover
Plays in the sandbox Butterflies Region: Texas Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member
Welcome, Judy. Smiling
Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

The folks here are about as helpful as anyone could wish for, and they are all happy to talk Irises. Big Grin

Looking forward to seeing the rescue progress.
It’s okay to not know all the answers.
Jan 10, 2019 5:06 PM CST
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Daylilies Irises Vegetable Grower Moon Gardener Dog Lover
Bookworm Garden Photography Birds Pollen collector Garden Procrastinator Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Welcome to the forum, Judy! It sounds like you've cut your work cut out for you, but what an admirable goal. Thumbs up
Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
Jan 10, 2019 5:54 PM CST
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Garden Photography Cat Lover Irises Seed Starter
Welcome! Judy,
I wish you all the best growing your mother's irises.

There was a thread about record keeping a while back and Plant Step was recommended
The thread "Spreadsheet or database for irises?" in Irises forum
Jan 10, 2019 5:57 PM CST
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level
I would take lots of 'before' pictures, so you can visually see your progress. What an admirable project. Best of luck.
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Jan 10, 2019 6:06 PM CST
Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 8a)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Region: Ukraine Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox
Greenhouse Bromeliad Adeniums Morning Glories Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias
Welcome, and what a great project you have! I'm sure you'll find lots of help here when you need it. These people are the best!
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Jan 10, 2019 7:00 PM CST
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Garden Photography Cat Lover Irises Region: North Carolina Peonies Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Welcome! I think you have a real head start with having labels, notes and a good idea of iris names. I wish you the best in your adventure to recover your mom's buried gems. Do post progress reports as we will all be cheering you along.
"The chimera is a one time happenstance event where the plant has a senior moment and forgets what it is doing." - Paul Black
Jan 10, 2019 7:01 PM CST
Thread OP
Name: Judy
Elkins, WV (Zone 5b)
Thank you all! Here's a couple pictures to give you an idea. Weeds have all but taken over. The small ones are a few I salvaged this spring, I have since lost one of these. . [Pictured: Fragrant Lilac, Honeycomb, Who's A Toff, Dandy Candy, NOID 1] The last is a couple from the house I just moved out of that I brought back with me. Batik in the foreground and Delerium in the background.
Thumb of 2019-01-11/wvyen/c1927a
Thumb of 2019-01-11/wvyen/d2d002
Thumb of 2019-01-11/wvyen/3b7a91
Last edited by wvyen Jan 10, 2019 7:03 PM Icon for preview
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Jan 10, 2019 7:06 PM CST
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Plumerias
Plant Identifier Peonies Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Echinacea
Welcome! Wishing you much success in your endeavors to save yr mother's irises.
Jan 10, 2019 8:18 PM CST
(Zone 9b)
Region: California Garden Ideas: Level 1
Welcome Judy! Welcome!

Your Mother must have had a great collection of (historic) irises. Once you remove the weeds and start digging, you may be surprised to find more rhizomes than you can currently see.

I wish you the best on your heart felt project. Contact me in the Summer and I'll see if I have anything that was on her list that you want to replace.
Jan 10, 2019 8:42 PM CST
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Irises Region: Ukraine Garden Procrastinator Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader
Region: California Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals
Judy ~ Welcome! to the Irises Forum! Hurray!
You will find that this group of iris growers to be very helpful, as they have been for me. I am only in my second year of growing an iris collection, and they all have been helpful all along the way. If you stick around here, you will be in good company, as many are quite experienced.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Jan 10, 2019 8:53 PM CST
Name: daphne
san diego county, ca (Zone 10a)
Vermiculture Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
welcome , welcome judy. this is a fun forum to visit. we will cheer you, encourage you, and help you acquire more irises than you might have dreamed possible.😂

hope you stick around for the wonderful blooms that are a few months away.
Jan 10, 2019 9:56 PM CST
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a semi-retired studio potter.
Dog Lover Hummingbirder Organic Gardener Daylilies Region: Ukraine Region: California
Irises Dahlias Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds
Welcome to the Iris Forum, Judy! Welcome!
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Jan 10, 2019 10:12 PM CST

Region: Australia Container Gardener Irises Roses
Welcome! Judy, good luck with your big project! You'll get lots of help here if you need it.
Jan 10, 2019 10:17 PM CST
Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Dog Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Judy, Welcome! to the iris forum. If your mom had two very similar irises and you don't know which is which, I'm sure a lot of us can help you obtain test iris rhizomes also.
Welcome again.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Jan 10, 2019 10:38 PM CST
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Daylilies Irises Vegetable Grower Moon Gardener Dog Lover
Bookworm Garden Photography Birds Pollen collector Garden Procrastinator Celebrating Gardening: 2015
UndertheSun said: Once you remove the weeds and start digging, you may be surprised to find more rhizomes than you can currently see. .

Yes, something that I discovered for myself... irises can sink themselves down, or pull themselves in. (Daylilies can do that, too.)

This last summer I went on a rescue mission for 'Black Phantom'. In the case of 'Black Phantom', I thought that the small remaining patch (which should have been ginormous by now, even with the part shade) was due to gophers. Well, possibly some rhizomes were lost due to gophers, but apparently other rhizomes had just sunk down, and then stalled growth/propagation. After I had pulled out maybe 5 small rhizomes (all that I thought there were, and more than there were at first glance), my garden helper found another 3-4 (he was doing some work in that spot; presumably these are also BP), and now there is another rhizome coming up right next to a sprinkler head there (that one is deep and is definitely BP).

I also dug up most of my 'Busy Being Blue' this summer (no other irises were anywhere near there), and after the fact, I found a few more irises coming up. Blinking

In addition to these, some irises which I had planted a couple of years ago (in a freshly dug/made bed area) were definitely sinking down and getting buried. I've rescued two of them thus far, but I have another few to go.

I guess the lesson here is to not just weed, but carefully dig up the soil around your iris patch, and you might find more rhizomes than you first thought.

(Along with that lesson... make sure the soil is fairly firm when you replant, and keep an eye on your iris patch, and make sure that the replanted irises aren't pulling themselves down.)
Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
Jan 11, 2019 1:13 AM CST
Name: Monty Riggles
Henry County, Virginia (Zone 7b)
Do you ever wonder if you have too
Irises Region: Virginia Keeper of Poultry Cat Lover Garden Procrastinator
Hello, Judy! Welcome to the iris forums! Welcome!

The more you stick around, the more that 50 some irises will turn into 75....and then 100.....and then 200...then 3,000...we call it the iris virus, cuz' we see new irises we hadn't seen before...and then we want that one, and then this one, and that one's a vicious(ly) pretty cycle! Beware!

Good luck with your new irises! Stick around!
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Jan 11, 2019 4:51 AM CST
Name: Lilli
Lundby, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
Welcome! to the iris forum and good luck with your iris rescue project!
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Jan 11, 2019 7:18 AM CST
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Beekeeper Region: Illinois Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jan 11, 2019 9:42 AM CST
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Vegetable Grower Keeper of Poultry Irises Keeps Horses Dog Lover
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Wisconsin Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Welcome! and good luck with your iris recovery project! Smiling
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