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Soooo many Irises, so little space to plant them.
Irises are popular garden flowers with spring blooms. Over time, they multiply and get crowded in their beds. It’s important to dig them up and separate them every 4-5 years, so the process can begin anew.
The Irises in front of my house became too crowded, so my landlady began digging them up back in August:
You can see they were really packed in there. Here’s another look at a dense bed (there were three beds altogether):
She used scissors to divide the rhizomes. She also cut back some of the green but not all of it – the rhizomes need the energy from the foliage to produce blooms again:
It was a lot of work that took several days.
When she was done, she spread them out in the back yard so they could scar over (this only takes a few days, but they can sit out for months because they are so hardy).
A few weeks ago, she set out to plant them in the biggest bed.
Planting Irises in the southwest is a little different from other parts of the country. Here, you bury them because there’s little chance of them rotting.
She started by digging a shallow hole, then making a mound inside the hole. Then she put a rhizome on top and spread the roots over the mound:
Then she covered the plant with soil and pressed down firmly:
Haha, action shot! She planted the Irises in threes – each with their “toes” pointing toward each other. The threes were separated by about 8 to 10 inches.
It’s a little tricky to tell that they’re in threes, but they are – those are multiple little triangles in the photo above.
Do you have to plant Irises in threes? No, they are some of the hardiest plants out there – you can practically just throw them at the ground and they’ll grow. They’re also amazingly resilient even with crappy soil. She treated this soil with lots and lots of manure, just to give them that much more of an advantage. But they’d been growing in lousy soil for years and did just fine.
Besides the tall bearded Irises, she also had approximately five million of the dwarf variety. Here are three, right before they were planted by me in another bed:
Little rhizomes, big blooms.
The short Irises are all yellow. The tall ones are yellow, purple and white. Here’s a purple one from last spring:
So, who wants some Irises? We have a LOT of them, so I’m happy to offer them up for free. As far as shipping costs go, let me see how many of you want them before I commit to anything (I’m just shipping a handful here and a handful there, it should be inexpensive and I can probably cover that because I’d like to see them go to good homes. But if someone wants, say, all of them, they can help with the shipping costs. Sound fair?)
In many parts of the country, there’s still time to plant them before winter hits. Or, you can wait until spring to plant them.
If you’re interested, please leave a message in the comments section. And please specify if you’d like tall ones or the dwarf ones. If you want the tall ones, I won’t be able to tell you what color they are – you’ll just have to wait for the surprise.
If you would like me to send you some, I’ll get in touch with you in the next few days to get your mailing address (you don’t have to leave that info in the comments section).
We’ll be back manana with a special Thanksgiving Day edition of Ask the Experts. Hope to see you back here.