joyful, joyful!

tess_2008October 4, 2008

I have been living on an old homestead in rural IA now for about 3 years and been creating new flower beds for about that long. The only iris I have are ones that I have divided from a group that I can see the starts of in a pic from 1935.

To my utter joy, an elderly widowed man (80) I know has been cleaning up a huge garden that he and his deceased wife used to keep. He had actually been tossing iris away, until he remembered me. I visited him and he took me around and dug many of about 40 different varieties/colors for me. He could no longer remember the names - only the colors - and we had to put them all in one container larger than a big ice cooler - so the colors are now all mixed anyway.

I just wanted to share my joy with somebody over this wonderful gift. I did offer to come help tend his gardening for him next year in the event that he could no longer handle the massive undertaking alone, but he declined. I suppose I will need to bake him some goodies for all his thoughtfulness and trouble.

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mshadow(z4 MI)

That is really wonderful. I hope I can still garden if I live to be 80. It sounds like he still loves his irises. Probably thinks about his wife when he is out there in the garden. I hope that they do beautifully for you, and make sure to take lots of pictures!!


    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 11:14PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Good for you. No greater joy than creating new beds unless it is to plant in them.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 12:16AM
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wmoores(7/8 MS)

Some of us in our seventies are still hanging in there. I finally unpotted the eighty-five new bearded irises I got in over the summer. The beds have all been groomed and Preened. The only thing left to do is to put down lime. I'll do that after the fall rains kick in. We have not had any rain since Ike, about three weeks ago, and things are beginning to dry up. I culled quite a few varieties in order to squeeze in the new varieties. Some I didn't throw away; I put them in my back forty where I put things that refuse to grow well with TLC in my 'display beds'(like Decadence). They are just rowed out. Sometimes, finicky things will grow back there in the 'wilds' when they won't grow under watchful supervision.

I removed all beardless from my bog and let it rest over the summer. I have three wading pools of beardless that will go back into the bog in November after it rains a bit.

I had no help in doing any of this.

Next, it will be daylilies if there is time left!

Then, in early December it will be seed planting time.

In January and February the new catalogs start coming in, so there is no end to irising.

Bloom starts again in late March.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 6:08AM
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Walter, you're an inspiration to all of us! Just reading about all that you have done makes me tired. Your home sounds truly beautiful! Ev =)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 7:06AM
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Walter, obviously you are still "kicking" it! Good for you. Your garden does sound wonderful. Meant nothing by stating the man's age, and maybe shouldn't have used the word elderly. I did feel bad that he insisted on doing the digging FOR me, though! Actually, as much as I wanted the iris, I hated to see him starting to scale back on his gardening, though I knew his wife and am sure she would be delighted to know her flowers live on at my house. He probably didn't want me to come help with the garden because that is something he and she did together. I probably see their garden differently than the rest, as I know this was really a garden of love!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 10:41PM
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A gift from a thoughtful neighbor of so many varieties of iris sounds like a dream come true! I had irises given to me this year by six different people. Most are probably the historic irises. One 87 year old lady gave me a start of each of her three irises. I asked an elderly widower for a start of his irises. He was happy to share. He only had one kind, a lavender bi-tone historical, but he was very generous with the rhizomes. I can hardly wait to see them bloom in my flower garden.

I'm a newbie. I notice you said you put Preen on your iris bed and were going to add lime. My husband says lime will kill weeds. Is that what you're using it for or does it serve another purpose, too? I bought some of the 100% corn gluten herbicide someone recommended in this forum recently. I was going to use bonemeal, but after reading the comments about the dogs digging up the iris, looking for the bone, I reconsidered, as I have a dog. Then a lady told me that as long as the dogs have bones to chew on, they won't dig for the bone meal. I've decided to go ahead and add the bonemeal. Will let you know what happens with that. I"m learning a lot from this forum. Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 6:54PM
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wmoores(7/8 MS)

Our soil is on the acid side where I live, and lime reduces the acid and makes the iris happier. Have fun with your irises.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 8:29PM
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Thanks for the info, Walter. As a newbie, I appreciate all the helpful suggestions I can get.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 8:35PM
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