Mis-spent Summer

Mis-spent Summer

We spent most of today cleaning up the property, especially our 40-foot-long front garden, and prepared the ground for winter.  We’ve had so much rain this summer and fall that it was hard to know when to do this.  And to confirm my confusion is the strange behaviour of a tall bearded Iris planted amongst a few others in the small backyard garden.  I had trundled him home along with a few others about two years ago.  The first year, baby squirrels had at his buds, thinking they were really well-shaped peanuts, I guess.  Last summer, he didn’t flower at all, though his leaves were strong, long and green.  This summer, he didn’t bloom either…but now…now that Winter is upon us, he has put forth a robust flower stem with two buds clearly about to bloom!  I am thrilled, even though I keep thinking that this iris is mentally challenged:  doesn’t he realize that his blooming season was five months ago?!  With daily temperatures now between 9 and 12 C, hardly any sun, and rainstorms every other day, this is truly not the time for him to be showing himself off!  I mean, he obviously didn’t get the memo, and so mis-spent his entire summer showing nothing but tall, leafy growth (maybe it was the Canada Post strike earlier this summer?) and now in less than ten days, hastens to produce not one, but two buds a buddin’ .  Sheesh.  Now what do I do with him?  As days and nights get colder, his stem and buds will refrigerate, slowing the potential blossoming.  And, as my gardening guru tells me all the time:  “Remember, grasshopper, that once a plant has produced his flower, it must be deadheaded lest all the plant’s energy continue going to a dead flowerhead.”  Thus spake he to me, grasshopper-apprentice gardener, and thus I learned patience…and that love means never having to read Jonathan Livingston Seagull again, and–oh never mind.  The point is:  I don’t want to pre-empt what might be the flowering of a gorgeous purple iris sometime between now and Hallowe’en by cutting down that lovely stem, but, on the other hand, irises take strength from their leaves at this time to help them do well the following Spring.  This guy’s leaves are clearly going to be underprivileged if he continues to feed that anomalous bud.  I’ll keep you posted.  Ohm…serenity now…ohm.  (P.S.  The picture is of the iris we named the “Miller Bounce” because the tag was missing from the pot when purchased, and because, at one point, we thought it had died, but no, it produced beautiful flowers until I planted it outside, and–you guessed it–the squirrels got to it.  The “Miller Bounce” is what saves Dave’s golf game in the face of absurd odds…but that’s another post.)

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