Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Unblooming Iris

It must be, oh, four or five years ago since we went to that small-town library book sale.  There was an adjacent plant sale, but at the time D & I lived in an apartment with no direct sunlight.  I had had no intention of adopting plants, but as I loitered outside waiting for D to finish up with his purchases, both the library and plant sales were winding down and the ladies were getting antsy to rid themselves of what hadn't sold.  

Would I like to take home a plant?
No, no, just the books, thanks.
And if they offered me free plants would I just take them?  
No, I declined politely.
Did I know they were going to throw them out after I left?
Okeydokey then, I'll take two.  

In the four or five years since I have had the lily it has bloomed all but the last two years.  On the sunless porch in the teeny pot, it still popped up some lovely flowers for me.  I transplanted it two years ago and it didn't bloom, but upheaval can be tough on us all, so that's understandable.  
See, no direct sun.  Such a trooper!

to be honest, I'd forgotten what color it was until I saw this photo

Last year it was smothered into the dirt by the iris, and I'd rather thought it had died.
Now you see it 
Totally smothered

It didn't die though, hardy son of a gun. When it peeked above the soil line this spring I swooped in to rescue it, transplanting it into the front bed.  It's looking happy and healthy.  
he's on the right.  Next to the foofy-pants poppy
This iris has been another matter though.  

Every year this leafy bugger gets bigger, but has never so much as put on a single bloom.  

What color iris?  Why, I have no idea.  It's adopted.  

But then ...

I couldn't believe when I caught a glimpse of this peeking out of the foliage. 

I've read about irises that don't bloom.  Caused either by stress (if its been transplanted), or soil deficiencies.  Too much nitrogen, not enough phosphorous.  This isn't necessarily resolved with normal fertilizers, because that often just piles on more nitrogen, because it coaxes green growth over blooming.  We tried sprinkling some fireplace ash, which supposedly also leaches potassium into the soil.  

Maybe that made the difference?  I dunno.  

Purple!  I think it's purple!!  Eeeee!

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