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The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

Posted by bobmark226 (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 8, 08 at 13:34

I'm a new gardener, became a country mouse just three years ago after decades in the Big City. The home I bought was completely without gardens excepting a few stray plants left by the original owner. As there was a tremendous amount of weed or wild areas, I've had to employ a gardener for the big jobs and to help with planting.

A few weeks back, I ordered two each of six reblooming irises. While I was working in another area, I gave them to her to plant. After she left (without telling me she was), I walked to the side of the house and saw that she'd planted the (rather small) rhizomes in two groups of six, two rows of three, which is fine, but virtually on top of each other.

I called her and asked why she planted that way and she went completely off on me, telling me I'm "far too critical" of her work, and a long, unhappy confrontation ensued, telling me about her forty years of experience, how she doesn't like irises because the blossoms are too short-lived, etc. etc.

OK, she goes after next Spring's opening up, given how much she wound up upsetting me, but meantime, the way they're planted is making me more than a little nuts.

They'd be pretty easy to move, but am I doing the right thing by following the instructions about spacing found just about everywhere? Or does she have something right in her thinking about an immediate impact? I sure don't have any problems with nicely spaced, aligned rows, which there is plenty of room for. (I suspect she'll go crazy when she sees this and probably quit, which I really don't want to deal with right now.)

Thanks in advance for any advice!
Bob


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

I'd move them where I wanted them. That's me!

-Liz


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RE: The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

Hi Bob... They are too close. Checkout this site http://www.irises.org/index.htm The home page of the American Iris Society... There's a wealth of info here.

Good Luck, Dan


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RE: The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

I think you will have to decide which you can handle better, possibly another confrontation with her or just live with the plants the way they are til next summer. The iris are too close, but they will be fine til next summer, but you will lose any fall bloom if you divide then. Personally, I would put them the way I want & avoid dividing any earlier than I have to.


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RE: The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

I called her and asked why she planted that way and she went completely off on me, telling me I'm "far too critical" of her work, and a long, unhappy confrontation ensued, telling me about her forty years of experience, how she doesn't like irises because the blossoms are too short-lived, etc. etc.

That's sad. I'd move them now.

I'm not sure where you are located. You can add your zone and state abbreviation in the one box provided for the garden zone. see I am zone 5/6 S IN
You can do that via the Member Pages link in the green banner at the bottom of any page. It will then show on your Member Page and show automatically each time you post.

Taken from the FAQ here
If you have the room, plant your rzs about 2' apart with no other plants nearby to overgrow them and compete for soil nutrients. You can also plant 3 separate rhizomes in a triangle 1' apart with the leaf fans facing outwards to produce an instant clump effect.

I'd just let her know that you happen to know a thing or two, at least about irises and spacing them. Let her know you are in touch with lots of iris growers/lovers (as we are here).

If need be, and you don't think it will upset her even more, maybe print out that FAQ and show it to her. Seems she might 'think' she knows it all, as a result of years of gardening. I know several gardeners who have gardened a 'lot' longer than I have, yet they know a lot less about so many things.

Maybe she just needs to be left to weeding, and then I would be careful of what all she might pull and destroy.

Sue


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RE: The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

I would rather have a garden not quite finished and view it as a work in progress than have to tiptoe around her. I assume you're paying her.... I'd remind her that it's YOUR garden and while you appreciate all her help, if it's too stressful for her to work for you maybe you should part company. There has to be someone else around there that can help you -- maybe contact the local agricultural extension center, garden clubs, neighbors, etc.

Don't let her take the joy out of it for you.


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RE: The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

No, you don't touch them this late in the season. I've lost every single iris I've planted after September 1st. They really have to be planted early in August to get through the winter. It isn't a cold issue, but a water management issue.

So long as the fans are facing out, I wouldn't worry about how closely they are planted. Since rebloomers don't necessarily rebloom here, they don't multiply nearly as fast as in other places. They also seem to be fairly rot prone.


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RE: The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

Thanks, everyone, for the responses. But I seem to be in an even greater quandry now, given the last post. I was going to get to it this afternoon, but now I'm completely discouraged.

If, in fact, what mad_gallica, who is in my zone/state, says is the case, I'm already in trouble since they were planted just last week and I feel like I made a bad decision in even ordering them near the end of August.

On the other hand, if they're doomed, I don't suppose there's any harm in moving them anyway to satisfy myself.

(sigh)

Bob


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RE: The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

On the other hand, if they're doomed, I don't suppose there's any harm in moving them anyway to satisfy myself.

Bob, if it is any consolation, I will be planting some irises yet, but I am in zone 5b. I would suggest planting them quite shallow, and then if they happen to heave with the freeze and thaws, maybe have some mulch or even sand handy (that is not frozen) to cover them a bit. I've had late planted ones heave, but I never lost any of them.

Sue


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RE: The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

They've only been in the ground a week. Moving them now isn't going to matter much.


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RE: The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

For next year, the local iris society has a sale either the last weekend in July or the first weekend in August. The notices have been in the Poughkeepsie Journal. I don't get the Freeman to know if they are listed there. Most of the iris for sale are already locally adapted, and often you can talk to the people who grew them.

BTW, just so you know. Deer will eat iris, particularly early in the spring when there isn't a lot of forage around.


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RE: The Truculent Gardner, and should I move them now?

Just to follow up here, I did the move over them over the weekend, planting them the way I'd like them, in nicely spaced rows.

To comment on a couple other remarks: Immortality, the only rebloomer I had until now, does rebloom for me here. In fact, it started its late show over last weekend and is now giving me its very last flower!

Photobucket

Re deer and irises: I realize nothing is really deer-proof. The new plantings are all nice and safe in the fenced back yard. However, I have an area of Beverly Sills that have been in three years in the front and have never been touched. They don't bloom til mid-June, though, when there's a lot more around to forage. I also use Liquid Fence, which seems to work for me.

So far. ;-)

Thanks again for the help,
Bob


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