For the Love of Iris

Articles, Tips and Notes from Schreiner's Iris Gardens

Summer Around the Gardens

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Day Lilies brighten our summer garden

Day Lilies brighten our summer garden

July – that quintessential “summer” month. This middle month of summer seems to hold an abundance of potential… for projects, vacations, gardening, and camps. Don’t we find ourselves wondering how we could cram more into these 31 days? June is too early, and by August we already feel the end of summer.

July is a busy month around the gardens here as well. We go full-swing into our digging and shipping mode. The buildings are fitted with various conveyor belts for sorting, cleaning, tagging and packing the Iris for delivery to retail and wholesale customers. The fields of Iris, waves of colorful bloom just a month ago, now yield themselves to the crews and diggers. Trucks come and go, loaded with thousands of orders of Iris.

Preparing gardens for replanting

Preparing gardens for replanting

This year is an exciting year for our display garden. We replant our gardens every three to five years. This summer, in preparation for the American Iris Society convention to be held up the road in Portland in May 2015, we will completely replant our 10-acre display garden. Our dedicated, and very hard-working, crew seems to make light work of this tremendous task!

If you are also feeling ambitious and energetic this middle-month of summer, you may also wish to revamp your Iris beds. Perhaps it’s time to divide the older clumps of bearded Iris, expand their colorful glory through replanting the new growth in more sunny corners of the garden – or by sharing them with friends and neighbors to plant in their gardens. Here’s an idea: if you find yourself with an abundance of new growth from your Iris clumps, consider donating them to a nursing home, school, or community center; plant them along the edge of a community garden, or check with your city’s parks and rec department about planting them in your local city park.

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Replanted display gardens

digging_clump-web

Dividing Bearded Iris clumps

We offer detailed and illustrated instructions on thinning and replanting Iris clumps on the “How to Grow & Care for Iris” pages of our website. Take a look at the monthly Iris care guides while you’re there.

Whether planting new Iris or thinning old clumps, you’ll want to have a good fertilizer on hand. Bonemeal and super-phosphate (available at your local garden center) are both good choices. A fertilizer low in nitrogen (5-10-10 or 6-10-10) is also a good option. We offer a one-pound bag of specially formulated Iris food on our website.

Whether choosing to “get ‘er done” or put your feet up for a well-deserved break this July, we wish you a pleasant and memorable summer.

P.S. There’s still time to order for planting Iris this summer. Check out our Summer Sale!

Author: Schreiner's Iris Gardens

Dedicated to growing and selling the finest Iris in the world.

7 thoughts on “Summer Around the Gardens

  1. After reading Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, I am feeling like I need to completely dig up and redo the rose/iris garden my grandmother planted close to 100 years ago. The bed if full of perennials, spreading iris and failing roses. Most articles are telling me to divide iris in July or August. It’s January now and I’m wondering if I can dig up the whole garden early in spring. I thought I’d take out all the iris and clean them up and reset them along the east border. I’d pot up all the rest of the perennials and see what is what and replant in appropriate spaces later. Not sure about roses. The rose tree broke in a storm and seems to be gowing up in a tangle from the roots. Other roses ended up with few blooms and lots of dead wood last summer. Maybe dig them all up and replace? I’ll want to find more old fashioned species. What to you think about this plan?

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    • Thank you for the question. Your project sounds wonderful! We’ll limit our response to the cultural practices of iris. During the winter months, the iris are in a period of dormancy. This period is necessary for their proper development. In the early spring, the iris are putting their energy toward their bloom phase. Transplanting them during that phase would likely interrupt the development of bloom stalks. For best results, we do recommend transplanting in July and August. You might wish to tag the iris during bloom season, if you haven’t already, so as to know which iris is what color. Then dig and divide in the summer. We wish you great success in your project!

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      • Thank you for your prompt response. Tagging isn’t necessary as I think there is only one type left: a purple bearded iris. I suppose I could add some other colors. Not like there isn’t a great supply here in Montclair at the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. I remember there used to be some yellow and bronze blooms, but I think they have all died out. Time to refurbish I guess.

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  2. I’m just now getting to this newsletter, and this article. We just dug and completely replanted our Iris bed and added three new one, totaling about 90 plants. Good old bonemeal is always on our garden shelf, and we used it. We had a critter attack too. Turns out it was the neighbor’s dog, let out to do it’s business each morning. Our clue was the doggie toy presumably left in exchange. Before putting netting in or trying another solution, we just mentioned it to them, and problem solved. Whew.

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  3. You mention Bone Meal. A couple of years ago while planting our new iris, we used the old trick of placing bone meal at the bottom of the hole before placing the iris. The next day we noticed all the newly planted iris were laying along the path. Some nasty little critter came into our fenced yard and went for the bone meal discarding the iris. Needless to say, we no longer use bone meal.

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    • Thank you for sharing. Every gardener needs to know the best solution against the pests in her area. While bone meal is a good source of nutrition for the Iris, other critters like it as well. Some areas have problems with critters, while others do not. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

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