Tips for growing a lovely Iris bed!
As a young girl I grew up with about a bazillion different flowers always surrounding our home. My Grandma started it and after she passed, my Mother continued adding her own twist with her favorite flowers.
Irises are about one of the easiest flowers to grow, with very little maintenence. She allotted an entire area to her Irises, it was her Iris bed. She left the bulbs in, never removing them for the winter. It's is recommended that you dig them up in the fall and replant them in the spring. That just seemed like too much work, so Mom left them were they were. They did fine, for years.
Left alone the bulbs will multiply on their own, without any effort on your part. Her bed was full and was 4 feet wide by about 15 feet long.
One year she noticed some issues with her flowers, they weren't looking too good. Upon closer inspection she noticed some grubs in the flower bed. Grubs feed on the bulbs and will eventually kill your beautiful flowers.
Once you have grubs you will get moles or voles in your yard, they feed on the grubs. They are the little mammals that leave 'dirt' tracks in your lawn.
I'm not one to advocate killing the little darlings, so here is a little tip to get rid of the grubs which will make the moles go away, keeping your Irises beautiful. If there is no food they will leave the premises!
It is going to take a bit of work on your part, but well worth it in the long run.
Since most of the places I have lived has water that is well water, I'm not much on using pesticides to keep away bugs. The pesticides seep into the ground and may eventually get into my drinking water. I know it's a long shot but really, who wants to take those kinds of chances?
Grub Removal -
The first thing you'll have to do is dig up all of your lovely bulbs. Please be careful, you don't want to cut them!! If you get a good size clump of bulbs, gently break them apart, carefully looking for grubs and shaking off the dirt. If you find any grubs, put them in a bucket to dispose of later. Just remember if you toss them into your neighbors yard they will get moles!!
Set the bulbs aside. If they are different colors, now would be the time to separate them according to color if that is your desire.
Once your flower bed is cleared of all bulbs, loosen the dirt with rake and or shovel, so the dirt is nice and loose and free flowing!
Now comes the fun part! Go into your kitchen and get that big bottle of Dawn Dish washing liquid, and your garden hose. Generously squirt the dish washing liquid all over the dirt, and spray with the hose. You will have some nice bubbles happening! If you have a helper, they can be working the dish soap into the work while you are spraying. You want to get it worked in really good!
Let this set overnight.
The next day you may replant your bulbs. If it your desire and you have different varieties of Irises, you can plant them according to color and size. 6 inches apart is a good distance. Remember the bulbs will mulitply once again!!
In the 25 years Mom had this particular flower bed, we only had to do this once.