Thursday, April 22, 2010

Well, it's been over a week...

And it's been raining off and on all week... not really great light for pics or anything, so yeah... I've seen some fields of bluebonnets, and the coreopsis are beginning to show, and the indian paintbrush is painting some fields orange-red, but not in the kind of light that I can take a pic of...

So you're going to have to settle for Siberian Iris from my yard...

The origional plant came from an abandoned farm site. They were fixing to start plowing it up to build a strip mall, so I ran myself down to rescue these, and some crinum lillies.
Now Siberian Iris aren't as flashy as the German Iris that most of us think of when we think iris... but they're much sturdier plants, at least in this part of the world. Don't get me wrong... Those full bodied, blousy bearded iris do just fine here. But they do best if they're thinned every two years, or they stop producing large amounts of blooms.
Siberian Iris are just the opposite. These guys do best if you leave them the hell alone. Seriously. Don't even think about digging around they're roots... They'll survive it... but they will skip blooming next year.
They're actually very common around abandoned farm sites for exactly this reason. No one is messing with them.
These had to grow 2 years in my yard before they produced a flower, and they've been thriving, in a huge clump that is threatening to crack a sidewalk, for the past 15 years, without me so much as deigning to throw fertilizer on them.
The leaves are very upright, to just over a yard tall, the flowers floating about six inches above the surface of that... The leaves do die down for a dormant season in the heat of summer. I'm told that they would survive if I watered them constantly. I'm not gonna. About September, the leaves resprout and keep growing all through the winter and they bloom in late spring. What more could I ask for?
And now, garden tip for the day...
Always go to used book stores, and look for the publications that were put out by your LOCAL garden clubs in the 50's to 70's. Almost every garden club put one out... they tend to be stapled or ring bound paberback books that look like those cookbooks that schools, lions clubs, and churches put out... these books are so valuable, because they were written when people actually gardened, and were written by people who were actually growing things in your climate... Modern gardening magazines are written by people in a very limited gardening zone, and are usually being paid not by the magazine, but by a nursery organization. Lilypons was pretty bad about this. I've read plenty of magazine 'articles' telling all about how to use Lilypons liners, pumps and etc without ever mentioning that anything that holds water can be a pond. Seriously... I've seen 6 dollar kiddie pools from Wal-mart being used to raise koi, by people who then turn around and sell you $100 pond liners, so that you can put the danged koi in your back yard.
One of these articles really about sent me lunar... They were talking about tropical water-lillies, (which lilypons just happened to be selling that year, what a coincidence, huh?) and the author actually said something like, "While tropical water-lillies can be kept from year to year if you have a green house, I've found it too much trouble, and recomend buying a new one every year..."
Those blasted plants cost over a hundred bucks each! And, I know from reading old garden club magazines that you most definitely don't need a green-house, you can let them go dormant and keep the root in a bucket in the basement until next spring.
The whole point of this little tirade is that if you want real gardening advice, you go to the older books... since most modern gardening books are simply advertisements trying to part you with money you don't have to spend.
I think I'm done now... for the moment...


  1. Going to old books sounds like a great idea. I've noticed a lot of inconsistencies with zoning information and it can be frustrating. Those tropical lilies are ridiculously expensive eh? Just let them die every year and buy a new one? Someone's fricken rich.

    I really like these irises. They look better near ponds or wetter, lusher areas. The others look more like 'show pieces' than part of a greater scene.

  2. This is a very pretty and modern (clean lines, no frill) iris! I love the those ones I have found beards I guess. Good advice on care of these babies!

    I am a lover of old publications on gardening anyway...but this is a really great idea to find the gardening club books!!! Genius!

    You are such a ranter...but I love every one of them!!! You keep me sane, Claude!!! LOL!

    Happy late in the day Earth Day to ya!!!

  3. Great post Claude! I guess you are a ranter!!!