Posts Tagged ‘growing Irises’


Variegated Iris and the Exchange Tribe

June 20, 2011

These days, my favorite plant in the perennial garden is the beautiful variegated Irises you see here.

They came from a nearby neighbor (I’ll call her Alice) who had shared her home with her mother. For years, her mother grew a hundred or more Irises then moved out of  state. Eventually, Alice decided to give most of the Irises away so she could use the area for raised vegetable beds. She spread the word, FREE Irises, among friends and neighbors.

I was fortunate enough to have a mutual friend, Evelyn who called me and said, “Hurry over there. They’re going fast.” So, on a quiet summer morning, I drove a whole three miles, and knocked on Alice’s door. She greeted me with a smile. I introduced myself and told her I was a friend of Evelyn’s on the hunt for Irises. Happy to see another taker, Alice stepped outside and closed the door behind her. We headed toward the Iris patch where she retrieved a nearby shovel and began digging. I put the rhizomes with stocks in two grocery bags. After I put them into the back of my car and turned to thank Alice, I noticed a few Irises with yellow and green striped stocks (called variegated iris). I don’t know how I missed them; they are so dissimilar and striking—princesses among noblewomen. I asked if I could have a few. Alice said sure, and dug them up.

What I love about knowing other gardeners are the perks of getting hand-me-down knowledge along with plant-sharing prospects. When there’s something to divvy, the word gets out like seeds broadcasting through gardens and across miles. You can hear them strewing the gardener’s appeal to share. But be careful not to bring home, or give away, an invasive plant or undesirable weeds and insects. If you’re on the giving end, and don’t forewarn the recipient of any issues, gardeners will band you forever from the exchange tribe. You’ll be marked with the badge of shame, GF (garden foe). A good rule of thumb for the receiver is to research the plant before you grab it up from somebody else’s terrain and plop it into your own.

Since Alice didn’t grow the Irises, she had no idea the variety or color of each. I have yet to discover what color flowers mine will produce. It has been two seasons since I acquired the variegated irises. I transplanted them twice because I couldn’t decide where to put them. Compared to the first location they’ve multiplied a great deal, which tells me they’re happy. But they haven’t bloomed yet, not since I’ve had them. This could be too little sunlight, the late winter climate, or these are a summer bloomer. Whatever the reason, I’m going to leave them where they are, in the spot that suits them, and me, flowers or not. When it’s time to divide them, I’ll spread the word. Free Variegated Irises.

Copyright © Dianne Marie Andre

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