Saturday, October 11, 2014

Purple waves

Memories are unreliable things at times. Here I was about to write a blog about "earlybirds" because I was convinced my Louisiana iris were coming up a bit earlier than usual, when it occurred to me to actually go and check blog postings from previous years. And guess what? Yep, this is the latest they have ever appeared. The earliest was Sept 21 last year, another year it was Sept 28, another year Oct 6. And here we are, October 10, and they've just opened up.

Don't let the experts tell you that you have to visit a water
gardens specialist to buy nice Louisiana iris. I saw this one,
called 'Gulf Shores' at Bunnings (Australia's biggest hardware
warehouse chain) several years ago, when I wasn't looking
for Louisiana iris. Anyway, it came home with me, and it has
flowered in spring every year. And it has multiplied.
The flowers appear pretty quickly, too. The stems
shoot up in no time, the flower buds expand and
colour up for a day or so, and then before you
know it - traaaa daaaaa! They're open.
If anything, this photo doesn't do the colour any justice. In
reality it's a whole lot more purple than this. Stunning.

Now, there's one possible reason for the slightly later flowering this year. As I mentioned earlier, the plants have multiplied and were starting to crowd out our potted water garden, where Paul, our goldfish, has been living happily for the past five years. And so, in the middle of winter I decided to lift, divide and replant (only some of) the iris plants in Paul's domain. What to do with the others? Well, as a purely temporary fix just for that weekend, I potted up the remainder in a wide, shallow terracotta bowl, filled it with the recommended 50/50 mix of garden soil and cow poo, topped that with a goodly layer of gravel, then sat the pot on bricks in a plastic purple garden trug. Good old trugs!

And now, that temporary, one-week-only,
arrangement is still in place. How often does
that happen! Anyway, it works.
This helicopter shot shows the other essential:
keeping the water topped up so it is about halfway
up the side of the terracotta bowl. In the wild,
Louisiana iris live on the edges of swamps, lakes,
creeks and rivers, with their feet constantly in
water and their heads up in the sunshine.
On the right is Paul's ceramic bowl, and on the left
his purple plastic neighbour. So we no longer have
a water garden, we have an aquatic complex.
I guess I should find a better pot than the purple plastic trug. The plastic will slowly go brittle in the sunshine, with a sudden and very soggy dam-bursting finale (probably when we have guests around for an alfresco lunch, if the general theory of the timing of domestic disasters holds true). But for the meantime (and I mean meantime!) it stays.


Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

I like the purple trug! The iris is beautiful.

Jamie said...

Thanks Lanie; the purple trug was a happy accident, but I suspect it's here to stay simply because it's low on the totem pole of 'jobs to be done'.