Sunday, October 15, 2017

The gift of patience


Yesterday was an enjoyable reminder of both the joys and frailties of being patient. If all goes well, patience of course can have the best of rewards, but in between being sensible and tasting success a few pangs of anxiety lurk in the shadows. Here's how patience unfurled in our garden, from dawn to dusk.


Early in the day it was apparent that Saturday was going to be 'show time' for our white Louisiana iris, a gift from our friends John and Liz. 


By lunchtime the beautifully creamy looking outer petals were waking up, stretching like a waking sleeper.


And then in the late afternoon Her Majesty decided that she was ready to make an appearance, and to say she "did not disappoint" is to fall a long way short of the delight created.


All Pammy and I knew about this Louisiana iris was John's vivid description of it being "white". I am sure this was kindness on his part ... he must have wanted us to discover for ourselves the fine green filigreed tracery patterning each petal. I really love that green.


Of course we in turn had given John a goodly piece of our blue flowered 'Gulf Shores' Louisiana iris, and the good 'late' news is that John says his new blue ones have been flowering very nicely these last few weeks in his nearby home.


From a gardener's point of view the other interesting thing about our white Louisiana iris is that we didn't grow it in a water garden, as we do the blue ones. We have simply run out of space, as all our water garden irises have been doing so well that we now have two whole water pots filled with blue-flowered plants, and there were so many left over that I decided to experiment with growing these extra plants in ordinary potting mix.


When John suggested we swap Louisiana iris plants I happily agreed, but the only spot I could plant his plant was in the "potting mix" pot. Admittedly I have been an extremely good boy, earning a gold star for diligent over-watering of this pot throughout the year. But it has worked, and our reward has been a splendid one this year.

For anyone keen on giving Louisiana iris a go, I suggest talking to a water gardens specialist, and don't just rely on me. However that isn't going to stop me sharing a few tips!

For an iris planted into potting mix I just used ordinary potting mix. The only trick is that I water the daylights out of it year-round, and I also feed it often too, generally over-doing the feeding rather than under-doing it. If unsure, feed some more!

For an iris planted into a water garden, I make up a mix of 50/50 cow manure and ordinary garden soil (ie, not potting mix). I also feed this rich mix with slow-release granules designed for acid-loving plants such as azaleas and rhododendrons. (Osmocote makes the one I use, but I bet there are others.)

I love this white iris so much I think once the flowering has died down, I might devote one of my water pots to becoming a white iris pot, and leave the other as a blue iris pot. And all the leftovers, which will be blue-flowered, will live in the "potting mix" pot that seems to be working out just fine, even if it's not the recommended method for growing these lovely things.