Irises forum: My Season

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Name: Brad
iowa (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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ARUBA1334
Jan 6, 2017 1:21 AM CST
Hi Everybody

I'm finally getting some down time winter has found Iowa and work has slowed to a crawl Hurray! our current temp is 5 degrees and it is miserable outside so I thought I would share some pictures of my season and our new gardens and projects. I had a disappointing bloom season at home with the Iris very few seedlings flowered here and we had rough weather with strong winds and driving rains so it made it tough to even evaluate what did bloom other than colors but there were some that looked promising Smiling and while the field was tough this year looking back through the pictures I was able to get a lot of other projects accomplished around our new home that turned out really well so I thought I would start there. Here is a time line from when I started on the gardens for our new home last summer to where I ended up this November.

These were taken in July as we were starting to work on clearing the land and get it ready to built on, when we bought the land it had 3 old barns and silos that needed to be knocked down and there was old farming equipment buried everywhere that had to be moved. The more time I spend working there the further back I wanted to push the house away from the Highway which required moving a lot more dirt than anticipated and removing trees the back of the property was filled with Thorny Locust Grumbling that needed knocked down we didn't want to take a chance of the kids putting one of those things through there feet. I knew I was in for a lot of work but was shocked at how much goes into just getting a piece of ground ready to built on Crying

The 3rd picture shows dirt piled up along the front of the property for a berm, this comes from us trenching in water and finding out the hard way that the county buried the main water line on my side of the fence instead of where it was supposed to be at in there right away. I called for locates before we started trenching and running irrigation lines and there map and flags showed the main water line was supposed to be 20 ft away from where I wanted my lines to go. You should of seen the look on my face when water shot out of that trench with pressure behind it Grumbling not a good way to meet the neighbors by knocking out the water supply D'Oh! so instead of trenching at that depth and risk hitting it again we raised the water line up and I decided to built a berm across the front of the property and plant spruce trees for some privacy a huge expense at the time but Im glad I did it now they look wonderful.
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The next project after getting water trenched in was moving the Iris to there new home which was very challenging with the short window I had too do it. Our Summer last year was wet it seemed to rain buckets every other day which in a normal year oh well but when your trying to move thousands of plants in a couple months before the ground freezes it was not fun its one thing to dig when there dry its another project itself to dig them in the mud because your out of time and I could not get the farmer in to bed shape my rows until the end of July. It took us 7 weeks to dig and move everything between the rains, the named plants went 1st because they were the simplest to move, the seedlings that had not bloomed were twice the work because they needed to be dug and kept together and re planted that way. I did have some luck last fall we had a extremely warm fall without a kill frost until late November and they seemed to grow really well in there knew home, each row is about 300 ft long and holds roughly a 1000 plants to give you a idea of what is here.

July 27th & Sept 7th
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Sept 18th & 20th
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Nov 10th
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I started working on moving trees in November last year for the berm in the front of the property we hit a dry patch and the ground had not froze so I was able to get a lot of the spruces from our old home spaded and moved without making a mess of the yard there and the truck was able to drive right on top of the berm and plant them with out sinking Smiling Our new neighbor is a tree farm which worked out wonderful as he had some good size spruces to match what I was missing to complete it with.
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Decmber was much of the same beautiful weather for Iowa and dry.. I got grass seed drilled in the front and back hoping we wouldn't have to look at mud all spring and started working on the ground behind our property trying to get it graded and ready for berms Smiling was able to get my retaining wall built where our tropical gardens will be.. our season ended shortly after completing the wall just as the construction part on the inside was really picking up.
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I started seedlings in January last year in the greenhouse again growth and germination was Outstanding these pictures were taken in early April and they were huge already and needed to be transplanted to the field. Its always amazing how fast they put on growth once they get in dirt and start to get rained on especially with a root system.
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April 16th.. One of the best winters I can remember.. last year it was short and quick and spring seemed to come early Smiling and I had a busy April and May starting with working on landscaping in the back of our home. I really enjoyed what we had at our previous home so went to work trying to create something along those lines but wanted to make the berms bigger so I could add more trees , shrubs ,confiers etc..The old house still had not sold so I had no choice but to spade some more favorites out of the old berms Green Grin! I also had some compost trucked in for the tropicals and roses and spread before the sidewalk went in they seem to grow so much better here in it at our old house so I thought why not plan ahead and give them the best dirt possible.
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April 22nd .. Trees are blooming and the plants have woken up and looked awesome I was excited for the Iris this year at this point they looked good. It was dry and I was able to get the farmer back in the field and get another 5 rows bed shaped for my new seedlings nodding I ended up filling all of those rows but the last one with seedlings.
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June 10th.. Bloom season was gone and while the Rain throughout May was not a record it seemed to rain more than the sun shined and I figured out we had drainage problems in the back the water would stand for days after a heavy rain and not drain and my sidewalk was acting as a dam and nothing would grow there unless I came up with away to get water to flow away so back to trenching and running drain tile all over the yard Sad
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August 29th.. Plants were finally starting to look like something in the back.. Most of July and August were incredibly hot and dry here once again in a normal year no problem but when you spade big trees they require lots of water Smiling because of lack of roots so while I was successful keeping the good majority of trees and shrubs alive it seemed like all I got done all summer was to drag hoses around and water Smiling What a difference a summer can make with rain
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Oct 8th.. Fall weather Hurray! after trying to seed the back yard twice this year I finally broke down and paid to have it hydro seeded and it worked like a charm within a couple weeks it was green and I started to realize the worst of it was behind me Smiling
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Oct 29th.. I dug the bananas for the season and enjoyed the fall colors of the trees Smiling and finally having grass again Rolling on the floor laughing
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Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
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grannysgarden
Jan 6, 2017 2:17 AM CST
Hurray! What a challenge and you have accomplished so much in a very short time. I know that during the process it must have seemed like it was taking forever but to carve a home place out of an old farm area is quite a feat. I loved the photos of your old garden and now I am going to love the photos of the new area a lot more. Your iris fields are going to be awesome.... perhaps I should say awsomer! I would be hard pressed to leave them during bloom season. I hope you get a great winter and I am really looking forward to photos this coming spring. Big Grin
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Irises Garden Photography
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Totally_Amazing
Jan 6, 2017 3:51 AM CST
Wow! Your garden looks awesome and i am amazed at what you have achieved in a short window of time.
Skåne, Sweden
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Hellebores Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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William
Jan 6, 2017 4:23 AM CST
An insane amount of work and what a result! Well done!
I do feel like a real slacker reading your post *Blush* Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!

I need to immediately go out there, chop down some trees, put some charcoal on the frozen soil to thaw it up and start digging new beds or something!
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
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grannysgarden
Jan 6, 2017 4:43 AM CST
Hilarious! William
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Jan 6, 2017 5:24 AM CST
Wow is all I can say. So much work, but just amazingly beautiful. I'm sure the convention visitors this summer will be just as amazed. Smiling
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, 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
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IrisLilli
Jan 6, 2017 6:31 AM CST
Brad, that is awe-inspiring!
Love the mix of foliage colours in your beds and I myself is green with envy when looking at all that space for irises! Green Grin!
I do not envy you all the hard work though, but looking at how far you've come in such a short time, I'm sure it was worth the effort! I tip my hat to you.

Question: What does 'hydro seed' the grass mean??
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
Image
grannysgarden
Jan 6, 2017 7:21 AM CST
It is going to be and iris fantasyland this spring. Hurray!
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Treehugger
Hanover Twp, PA (Zone 6a)
Region: United States of America Region: Northeast US Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers Miniature Gardening Herbs
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Bee Lover Hostas Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Frogs and Toads Hummingbirder
treehugger
Jan 6, 2017 7:36 AM CST
What an inspiration to keep gardening. I wish I had your energy. The hard work you have doon sure shows itself in your final pictures. I can't wait to see this years pictures. Happy gardening.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jan 6, 2017 8:08 AM CST
Brad, I'm blown away! You've done such a masterful job of designing the landscape! I find an open, blank slate the most challenging; you've done amazing things in a short time! I tip my hat to you. I'm excited to see spring arrive to your garden!
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
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
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lovemyhouse
Jan 6, 2017 8:41 AM CST
Holy Guacamole, Batman!!!!! Blinking Blinking Blinking

I am deeply, sincerely, and truly impressed with the work you were able to put into making your new home in a (relatively) short period of time--especially considering you also have a business to run. Wow. Looking forward to photographs as the landscaping matures.
I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you.

{Love that new house. Lovey dubby }
You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
Name: Liz
Concord, MA (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Organic Gardener Peonies Vegetable Grower Annuals Composter
Dragonflies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Enjoys or suffers hot summers Farmer Garden Photography Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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Dachsylady86
Jan 6, 2017 8:43 AM CST
I'm exhausted and blown away by what you have done there Brad. Wow!
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Jan 6, 2017 9:05 AM CST
Thumbs up Looks really great !!
Name: Cory
Elkhart Co., IN
Charter ATP Member
irisfirefighter
Jan 6, 2017 9:57 AM CST
Brad I love the iris rows tell me more about the bed shaper! Man that's a lot work that you have done. I bet there will be more ahead! Looking good, can't wait to see the pictures of your seedlings!
Cory, Firefighter/EMT
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
Jan 6, 2017 10:16 AM CST
Everyone has already expressed my thoughts. It's living in paradise. And Amazingly beautiful! Hurray! I tip my hat to you. Hurray! I tip my hat to you. Hurray!
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Jan 6, 2017 11:42 AM CST
Curious to see what the rest of the house looks like in relation to the fields. Whistling

Everything looks wonderful! I tip my hat to you. Your tropicals took off well. And 1000 iris per row! Drooling Can't wait to see what that will look like at bloom time. Really doing a great job.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Niki
Bend, Oregon (Zone 6a)
Flowers are food for the soul.
Region: Oregon Bee Lover Butterflies Daylilies Dragonflies Frogs and Toads
Hummingbirder Irises Organic Gardener
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HighdesertNiki
Jan 6, 2017 11:50 AM CST
Oh wow! Hurray! What a lot of work, but that looks wonderful. I am definitely looking forward to seeing pictures this spring.
"The Earth laughs in flowers."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
tveguy3
Jan 6, 2017 11:57 AM CST
I think we all need to meet at the national convention this summer in Des Moines and visit it in bloom! Wouldn't that be fun! Smiling
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
Hummingbirder Dog Lover Irises Region: California Organic Gardener Dahlias
Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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janwax
Jan 6, 2017 12:25 PM CST
Brad, AWESOME ! I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you.
Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
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
Image
lovemyhouse
Jan 6, 2017 1:46 PM CST
Tom, I'd give a lot to be able to have that kind of fun. If you go (or anyone else, for that matter), post lots of pictures for me, okay? Smiling
You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

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