Gardener's Grapevine 2012.05.02

Written by David Green.

What a beautiful Sunday—the sun’s shining and the temperature is nice. The frost has had me a little worried this past week; it got pretty cold many nights, but my plants seem to have come through without any issues. I have irises blooming and it is so weird, as they normally bloom in May around Memorial Day. My great-grandmother called them flags and I do, too, just because it reminds me of her and she was a neat lady.

Irises are very easy to grow and very drought tolerant. Their underground roots are called rhizomes. Irises grow in circular or fan shapes, and once established they require little care. They are divided into classes and these classes are determined by plant height. An iris can be anywhere from eight inches to 27 inches tall, and they come in many different colors and some are even bicolored.

Irises prefer to be planted in light loamy soil that is well drained, and grow best in full to partial sun. They should be planted so that the top third of the rhizome is above ground. They do not require fertilizer, but if you must fertilize do not apply fertilizer directly to the exposed rhizomes as this can cause them to be burned by the harsh chemicals.

After the flowers bloom, cut the flower stems back to an inch or two above the rhizomes. In the fall, trim the leaves to six inches above the rhizomes and destroy the cut off part. This will keep any disease that may have invaded the leaves out of your garden.

If dividing irises is desired, the ideal time is four to six weeks after flowering. To divide the plant, cut the leaves back four to six inches above the rhizome, spade down through the rhizomes and take out a clump. Rinse the roots well. Each new plant should be  a short fan of leaves, a rhizome, and healthy looking white roots to plant in the ground. 

Irises are a deer resistant plant. Never mulch the iris, it does not like its rhizomes covered with anything. Irises are beautiful plants and are very easy maintenance. If you are just starting a garden it is a great choice.

I was so glad to see the rain end, but not quite as happy as the cats in my husband’s workshop. They like to go outside to play. Most of the week they put their heads out the door and looked at me as if to say, “If you think it’s such a great idea to go out in that, you can do it.”

Crankshaft is the orange tabby cat and he doesn’t have a plan when he asks to go out, he just likes to lay on the sidewalk and soak up the sun. His largest daily expenditure of energy is in getting to the food dish. He’s a sweet cat, but I think he got the memo that momma doesn’t like gifts of dead mice and birds as he stopped bringing them to me. Having a cat outside in town is not a good idea, but Crankshaft doesn’t prescribe to good ideas. His  opinion is, I am a cat, I do as I please, deal with it. I’ve met people with that attitude, too.

  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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