Hi there one and all!
Well what a challenging Autumn and Winter it’s been here with the ongoing drought biting harder by the month. We’ve noticed that our iris plants are running a few weeks late with their usual growth spurt out of the ground, which is probably due to the drought conditions, coupled with the reality that we actually only water our iris until they are established. After that they have to survive on whatever rain there is! All the same we are seeing the signs of a promising bloom. We’ve had a busy Summer and Autumn creating new breeding beds for our Tijara Iris and revamping others to manage our workload better.
But drought or no drought, the weeds still seem to make it through, and weeding the iris patch is a job that has to be done, along with the usual conditioning of our soil with lime, and fertilising the plants. Whilst you are weeding it’s a good idea to tidy the iris plants up by removing any old spent foliage and check for the presence of aphids. Usually the presence of ants in numbers amongst the plants is a definite give away that aphids are there. Heavy infestation should always be addressed, or those long awaited blooms will be distorted and ruined. On the up side, leaf rust should not be a problem this season due to the lack of rain and moisture in the air.
As promised the spectacular Tijara Razzle Dazzle has been released, along with other World Registered Tijara Iris: Purple Pepper, Sea Spray, Escape Route, Light & Lovely, Party Girl, and Queen.
You can find them here
Oh! I almost forgot to mentioned our Spring Sale is being launched with this newsletter!
Orders over $50 receive a 5% discount, over $100 a whopping 10%
Remember to enter your code at checkout: Spring50 or Spring100
Shirley’s Spring Tips
# 1: Weed your garden beds
# 2: Fertilise and lime your soil if it’s too acid.
#3: Trim and tidy spent foliage
#4: Add straw mulch to prevent heat stress (see below)
It is still good timing to purchase and plant iris so that they are established before the weather gets too warm.
Space plants at least 50cm apart.
Once planted, keep the soil around the newly planted rhizomes damp for the first 2-3 weeks. By then they will have settled in and commenced root development.
If conditions are very windy, place something heavy across the rhizome to keep the plant stable in the soil, as the one sure way to kill off newly planted iris is repeated dislodgement in the soil before roots are established.
During this first summer water the plants occasionally after they have commenced growth as this will promote root system development as well as rhizome increase. Once established, you shouldn't need to water until after January.
And finally, I can’t sign off without mentioning the importance of protecting your iris from root heat stress over summer. We have done some trials here at Tijara using a thick mulch of straw-bale straw around [but not over the rhizomes], and also extending it over the area between the rows. We left the same number of beds unmulched. Neither areas were watered by us at all for the entire summer period and only ten millilitres of rain fell during all of summer. The result was that the mulched iris thrived in every way, whilst the non-mulched iris visibly struggled, were sluggish with proliferation, growth was static, and many rhizomes showed evidence of dehydration and had shrunk in size. Some rhizomes actually regressed and died. So, we feel that the benefit of mulch applied in this manner is enormous and so we will extend the trial this year to further beds.
Happy Gardening & Enjoy Life!