Sun, 25 Nov 2012 20:38:20 PST
G'day Steven!

You have my attention, WHERE in NE California?

Yes, it does sound like we have some growing conditions in common.  I am
surrounded by hundreds of acres of rangeland that is usually green.  I've
always said we don't have to worry about fire because of it.  This year
though was so dry that while the grass was still green, it was totally dry
and a fire broke out across the road from us!  It just happened that the
fire crew were on their way to another fire and got this one put out before
it blew to our side of the road.

The directions I followed in my first efforts at planting Iris followed your
idea of the Iris liking to grow at the surface.  That was what doomed them
as they all froze.  It had never occurred to me to ask locals how they plant
their Iris until that episode my finding some rhizomes that survived nicely
under a pile of sod and soil.  Then I found out they plant anywhere from 4-8
inches deep.  Hearing that and my experience made me rethink how to care for
Iris here.  

I too had chickens that tended the flower beds until last week.  I've never
had to rake the lawn before either.  The leaves would drop, and the trees
didn't have as many, the wind would come and clean off the lawn depositing
the leaves on the flower beds.  The chickens kept thinks tilled up and took
care of any leaves left on the lawn.  Sigh.  This year there were so many
leaves and they were bigger than usual, that even the wind didn't take care
of all of them.  We have alkaline soil so tough-tough grass is endemic.  I'm
hoping that the mulch will keep some of it under control.

I went out and found most, if not all, the Iris and pulled away the leaves.
I hope everything will be happy as I get so much enjoyment from my flowers.


-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Steven
Sent: Sunday, November 25, 2012 3:14 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: Re: [pbs] Iris

Hey Colleen 

Gee i haven't been here for months, I've been away & so busy but hello
everyone.. :-)

I live I'n Australia, my last girlfriend was from NE California so i know
your dry conditions & soil type, although our rain fall is higher than
yours, i suffer very long droughts some years & given my poor soil
conditions & my barren mountain top, we probably have very similar growing
conditions, I've just been through 80 days of what i call micro-drought,
searing heat dry winds & not a drop of water until last couple of weeks.
Flowers are bursting from the ground every where at last..

Bearded iris like to grow at the surface with their rhizomes "always"
partially exposed to sunlight so mulching stops this & it does carry some
weight I'n regard to quality of flowering, "I'n my experience, that is the
case!"  Although I've only been growing them for 10 or 12 years, i know they
are just happier I'n the sun. The years i don't get around to uncovering
them, there is always a loss or two :-( I noticed people thought you might
be ok for rot, I'n the dry & i do mulch my gardens during extreme dry, with
fine mixed hard & soft wood mulch "which does carry potential for decease"
but it works for me & my leaf drop is very heavy too, so they have to put
with being covered sometimes because the chickens & scrub turkeys scratch
mulch & leaves all over them,  but i always go round & scrape it back around
the edges of my bearded irises because they can get fungal problems & rot
even I'n extreme dry seasons.. The base of the leaf can rot too & although
not so common they can get root rot too, if they wilt this could be part of
the problem.

In summery i would not leave them covered for extended periods if it's
convenient to remove the bulk of the mulsh.

Esk Queensland Australia :  )

On 26/11/2012, at 2:16 AM, "Colleen" <> wrote:
> I have an unexpected large amount of leaves this fall, mostly large 
> elm leaves, so I have been piling them on my flower beds as a mulch.  
> Most of my Iris still have green leaves.  Is it OK to bury them under 
> leaves Thanks Colleen
> High desert, NE California, zone 5-6
> _______________________________________________
> pbs mailing list

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