This spring I wrote about wanting to split my mom’s irises. I got some good advice. The consensus was that I could probably go ahead and split them early in the year, but with a lot of other gardening and home repairs to do at her house, my house and my cabin – I finally just got to them today. Here’s what I found…
She had two groups of them. The first group I got to was overgrown with grass as well. I dug up the first iris and found a big root borer. Again. I had just dealt with them at my own garden (See my post, “Iris Surgery”. I wasn’t going to go through that much work for these irises that we had never even seen bloom, so I dug them up and went out and bought my mom 2 huge hydrangea plants that were buy one get one free at the local nursery since it’s late in the year.
I decided I should dig up the other patch of irises and to my surprize found they were healthy with no root borers. So I started spliting them up. They were so densly clumped that from the seven clumps of irises we got 67 viable splittings. I did find one root borer, just in the soil not in one of the ryzomes, which all were healthy.
In the end I planted about a third of those irises back, with some systemic insecticide to protect against the root borers. I saved two bunches of hostas, a bunch of day lilies and some rubarb (at the far end of the garden – away from where I used the insecticide). I planted the two huge hydrangea bushes and left room for two special iris rhyzomes I ordered on the internet. A very hard day’s work, but one very happy mother, a good feeling of accomplishment and about 30 irises to share.
I’m hoping these bloom next year, but I know that may not happen the first year. My mom’s 85 and doesn’t have many years left in her house (in Richfield, MN). She sat in a lawn chair and did most of the actual splitting once I showed her how, so she has a feeling of accomplishment as well. We will all feel very happy if those bloom next year. We have no idea what they look like. They’ve never bloomed before.
Look for an update next June – hopefully with some pictures of dozens of iris blooms. I’ve attached a photo of the irises from my own garden that were hit so hard with the root borers this year. I hope they make it too.