Website for bearded iris in the South

blissfulgarden(8b)August 28, 2008

Hello everyone,

I'm a longtime lurker, infrequent poster, and frequent email writer to several members of the forum. I've been an avid southern gardener for well over 20 years, but last spring I was hit by the bearded iris bug HARD!!! I began a sincere research effort then, corresponding with many and gathering all the information I could find. The result was a mountain of info that needed to be compiled and organized for easy reference... so I edited it and created a website. The website predominantly highlights the challenges and strategies for growing bearded iris in the South, but there's also info on there that would help in other regions too, such as a chemical rotation chart, pics and treatments for pests and diseases, and more. This is an effort that definitely couldn't have been possible without the help of soooo many people who corresponded with me giving advice and feedback as well as photographic assistance. There's still a small number of pages in the diseases and pests section I need to upload, but overall it's ready to be "published" so to speak. I hope some of you will find it useful:

Thanks to all of you who helped (especially Mr. Moores!!!!)... and to those who will help me improve it in the future! Ev =)

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Okay... let me try again to get that be actually be a link:

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 3:04AM
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Doesn't it feel great when you do something they say can't be done. I never had grandparents but I do have a grandson who I hope I am giving memories to like yours. I hope he remembers eating cherries off of my tree with me and blueberries off the bush. And all the beauty of my garden. Thank you for sharing.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 8:41PM
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Chere, I'm sure the time you spend with him will be treasured forever! I believe sharing something you love with your grandchildren, such as your garden, is the best time you can spend with them... it creates such strong and lasting memories. Thanks for leaving a comment; I'm glad to see someone took a peek and enjoyed what I've shared. Ev =)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 9:39PM
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mshadow(z4 MI)

Evey, what a wonderful website! There is so much information on it that pertains to growing iris everywhere. I am so glad that you shared it with everyone. Many of the things that you wrote about will help me in my garden. Bet you can hardly wait until spring! I noticed that you live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My prayers are with you and everyone down your way, that you will be spared from Gustav.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 11:26AM
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mshadow(z4 MI)

Oh, I forgot to thank you for posting all of those pictures of Walter Moores' irises on your website. They sure are beautiful!


    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 11:50AM
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Thank you, Shadow! I'm glad you enjoyed the website and that you found some of it useful for your region too. I agree, Mr. Moores' irises are so wonderful! I am looking forward to spring when I can see them in person instead of just through photographs. And don't worry... we're ready for the storm. I've lived here all my life, so I'm well-versed in hurricane prep. =)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 3:29PM
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carlos42180(Z5 Chicago)

You have a wonderful website. Congratulations!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 5:50PM
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Thanks, Carlos. I found your website pretty terrific too! =)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 6:32PM
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Sparaxis(Vic Aust)

BUT ....that might be just a little too far south :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Tempo Two

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 6:34AM
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wmoores(7/8 MS)

Sparaxis, tell us what you know about growing irises in Baton Rouge, LA, and the authority upon which you give advice since you live in Australia. What is the relevance of the link? I am curious.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 6:25AM
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Sparaxis, that's not as far south as you might think, compared to our climate! I actually have quite a few Australian plants growing in our garden. Perhaps our best performer has been the staghorn fern that my husband's uncle brought back from one of his trips to visit family in Sydney (back in the 60's when it was still legal to just bring plants home on the plane). That plant has grown and produced so many pups, we've been able to donate many to arboretums and public gardens. After Uncle Zach passed away post-Katrina, we donated his huge mother plant to the New Orleans Botanical Garden and it now has a lovely place of honor there with a plaque for Zach. If anyone reading this ever goes to visit the garden in New Orleans, look for Zach's staghorn hanging in the "Train Garden" (lots of toy trains are set up there).

If you noticed on my website, I already have three of Blyth's cultivars included in my experiment: English Charm, Glamour Pants and Taste the Magic. So, we shall see how they hold up to the Louisiana heat and humidity! Ev :)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 5:16AM
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hawaii50(z10 HI)

Blissfulgarden, thank you for your website, as it has been helpful to me in trying to grow bearded iris in the southernmost state in the USA. Now I know that it is scorch that is affecting all of my plants, and now I have ways to control it. I have only a few varieties of bearded iris, but by far the best grower is Pure As Gold, which blooms several times a year and also has a beautiful flower.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 4:40PM
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Hawaii... Thankyou for leaving this response; I'm happy to know that the site has been helpful to someone. Ev =)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 11:58PM
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Sparaxis(Vic Aust)

BUT ....that might be just a little too far south :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Tempo Two

Walter - I think my comment that it might be just a little too far south, with a smiley, made it clear I was being ironic. Perhaps I should have said (It's a joke)?
Barry Blyth's nursery is probably the most southern commercial iris nursery in the world. It would not however sell many plants suitable for growing in what you call in the US "the south". Hence the irony.
My understanding is that this forum is an open one, and someone living in Australia is permitted to participate. Am I wrong? I wasn't aware that anyone living in Australia had no authority to give advice, and I wasn't actually offering advice Walter, so I fail to understand your comment.
Our climate in the north of the country varies from very hot and humid to extremely hot and dry, and I am sure people like Heather Pryor and Graeme Grosvenor could very well give advice on growing bearded irises in those conditions.
I used to post here frequently, but if things have changed over the last few years, and I am not wanted here, please do let me know!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 5:51PM
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Sparaxis(Vic Aust)

Blissful gardener - I do hope Barry's irises grow well for you. Glamour Pants and Taste the Magic are lovely, and English charm I loved when I grew it years ago. It alos has the potential to rebloom if I remember rightly.
We in Victoria Australia have had drought conditions for several years, and are unable to water from the town supply at all. I have installed tanks here to catch roof water, and my main iris bed, on a nearby property has ample borewater, of a slightly alkaline quality.
I now live about an hours drive more south than my old garden (here the further south you go, the cooler it is - LOL) and in general, the sun is lower in the north, there are tall trees that offer a little shade in the heat of the day, and there is some moisture in the atmosphere. In my previous garden, however it was a totally different story. The atmosphere was very dry, the sun scorching hot, the ground sharply draining, and the rainfall low. My rhizomes suffered from scorch, and in particular when I potted many up for the move here, they overheated in their black pots. Rather than water them regularly, I chose to cover the whole large area of potted irises (20 6'X4' trailer loads) with shade cloth. That worked a treat and they got through the heat of that scorching summer with the minimum of water and very few losses.
OH dear! I have just looked at your website again, and see what you have been going through! I am so sorry. I hope recovery is swift, and that you are back growing irises soon, but I am sure there are far more important issues at present.
Take care, Cheers, Jan

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 6:03PM
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Thanks for the concern, Jan. Actually, I've been working with the irises all along, hurricanes or no hurricanes! Luckily, they were still potted when both hurricanes hit. This has been a very odd year. I've lived in Baton Rouge all my life and have never experienced a hurricane as strong or damage-producing as Gustav this far inland before. All of Baton Rouge has power again, and we've all been working together to get roads cleared and debris removed. I can't say it's "normal" again for everyone, but it's certainly much closer than it was. You know a storm was really bad when you personally suffer $10,000 in damages and count yourself among the lucky ones... and that is exactly where my family finds itself. After all the post-Katrina abuses down in New Orleans, the FEMA process is much stricter (for GOOD reason!), so we're still going through the process to apply for SBA lending to make the repairs... but all in all it's going very smoothly for us. Most people are caught in the crunch because all the homeowners insurance deductibles were rewritten after Katrina. For named storms, now the deductible is typically between 2% and 5% of the total value of your home... so most people are having to wait on the FEMA and SBA process before they can begin repairs.

But, back to the irises... they're doing quite well so far. I would like to get the beds prepared so that I can plant them, but as some of the repairs will require trampling the area where the beds will go, even the irises will have to wait on the SBA! =P

NOTE: This is not a complaint about SBA or FEMA. They are doing a good job with lots of people who need help. Somebody has to be first; somebody has to be last. They are taking people in order of need, which is as it should be.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 6:50PM
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