Monday, August 22, 2011
Way Too Much of a Good Thing
After four years with us, our first Iris ensata needed to be divided. Flowers were few in number this year and the center of the plant featured a hole. At a cooperative extension presentation on propagating perennials, the speaker described needing an axe to divide an Iris ensata. We knew that we needed the big tools. The pry bar and a fulcrum rock lifted the plant easily.
The two spade trick separated the root mass. One spade was solidly stuck in the plant on first division. It was quite a tussle to free the spade. No injury was sustained be either the spade puller nor the plant and the rest of the divisions were made easily.
We stopped at five pieces. New to this process, we have no idea what size pieces are best for replanting. A medium sized piece took the place of the original plant but the question of what to do with the remaining plant material needed an answer. Going commercial was out of the question as was junking these beautiful plants. The four remaining plants were taken back to the pond. There we are trying to replace the goldenrod with some of our favorite plants. These iris look tough enough to take on the goldenrod.
The surplus issue still looms. Here are the iris that grew from seed collected last summer. These plants will likely winter over where they are presently growing but a more permanent solution must soon be found. Perhaps with more experience we will be able to cast off surplus plants without giving them a second thought. For now we are beginning to sink under the weight of all of these new plants.