Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Patience is a virtue, my mother always said

Over two years ago, I went to the Royal Adelaide Show and bought, among other things, two beautiful and elaborate iris plants. At least the pictures said they were beautiful and elaborate; all I had was two rhizomes with some baby sword-shaped leaves, photos of what the flowers were supposed to look like, and some instructions about Seasol.

And from that day until about two or three weeks ago, they sat there in the ground, doing nussing. Ze Seasol, it did nussing. Ze watering, it did nussing. Every now and then they would sulkily lose a leaf and reluctantly grow a new one. They did not get bigger, they did not die, and they most certainly did not flower.

So this year winter melted into spring and the nearby Dutch irises grown from bulbs did what they usually do --

-- but again the fancy rhizomes did not follow their example.


Out I went into the garden one day earlier this month and something strange appeared to be happening:

A week or so later:

And yesterday ...

Sexiest flower in the universe.


Anonymous said...

Definitely worth waiting for!

May I make a suggestion?
Get rid of the horrid asparagus fern growing nearby and plant instead some Seaside Daisy (Karvinskianthus). It should be available in punnets.

It has the same sun/water requirements as the iris and will be in flower nearly all year when the irises have gone into hibernation. In Spring, the new iris flowers will rise majestically from the froth of little daisies most delightfully.

Happy gardening!


Pavlov's Cat said...

Karen, if you know how to get rid of the wretched stuff-- planted by the woman I bought the house from, who seemed to have a passion for plants that can rip you to shreds; they're all over the place -- then I would love to know. It won't be pulled up, and if you poison it it dries up into horrible tiny spines that disintegrate in one's hand and then float upwards so one breathes them in. All suggestions for its destruction gratefully received. And thank you for the seaside daisy suggestion -- will investigate at once!

Ampersand Duck said...

Maybe if you plant enough seaside daisies they will smoother the ferns?

Ampersand Duck said...


I'm NOT having a good day.

Anonymous said...

If we lived closer I'd provide you with some of the white irises that came with the house--provided they get enough sun and water at the right time, and they aren't smothered in mulch, they're bomb-proof. Large, white and virginal, though. Lucy Sussex

JahTeh said...

I have almost rid myself of an obnoxious asparagus fern which threatened to overtake the lemon tree but it's still underground and without constant mowing, rises like Dracula. I've used a geologist's pick to hack into the ground but the mass goes on forever. I still say I'm winning.

Mindy said...

The rhizomes need to be exposed to the air for Irises to flower properly. Bizarre but true. Apparently they have a habit of rotting if they are covered over. They are the sexist flower around. Jealous of the lovely yellow.

Mindy said...

Googling Killing Asparagus Fern brought this up:
*Protasaragus aethiopicus
Ground Asparagus
Firstly bag up all fruits, just cut them off and bag them up for disposal. This helps to control the spread of the fruit by birds, water and people.
Then cut of all the branches for composting or use it as mulch, there are no renewal buds on the branches and once all the fruit is gone it will be safe to use as mulch, a bit prickly though.

Now here comes the part you don't like, carefully dig down using small tools and locate the fibrous rhizomes and bore into them with a knife and apply Glysophate 1:1.5water, or use neat works too.
Or just knife out the rhizomes, this is easy on sandier soils a can be very time consuming on other soils.
Here is the confusing part, these plants do have water/food storage organs attached to the fibrous roots of the rhizome, these are small ping pong size or a wee bit smaller roundish organs and do not contain renewal buds so you can leave them as they will not sprout forth buds.

How is the Bloke at gardening?