Sometimes I daydream about what it would be like to have an irrigation system in my garden. It’s a nice daydream: the system would be set up so that all my different plants with all their different needs would get just the right amount of moisture and look primo all the time.
This summer, Virginia and many eastern states got a LOT more rain than normal, and that was before Hurricane Florence blew through. What did that mean for gardens? Great news for the princess plants that normally get extra watering attention from our crew, such as astilbe and ligularia, Not so great for some others…
Some of the things that look like doo doo (highly technical horticultural terminology, hope you can follow) in my garden right now are bearded iris and sedum. Am I bitter that I have more of these two perennials than any others combined? Of course not.
NOT bitter. REALLY.
With the sedum, there is sort of nothing you can do. Here is a photo of some that didn’t look too frightful today, but if you peer closely you can see floppy-ish browning blooms. I was too depressed to photograph the ones that are turning black. Those I will probably just cut back to basal growth when/if I can muster enthusiasm.
With the bearded iris, you have two things you can do. One is to clear away the foliage that has flopped. The other is to make sure those rhizomes are not under mulch or soil, but instead exposed on top to the air.
Look at this mess.
So I cleared away all the rotting foliage and any sticks, leaves or weeds so that the rhizomes are slightly exposed to air.
These rhizomes above were solid to the touch and there is already some new growth making its way. This set will survive.
This set is in trouble. The rhizome has been reduced to a sort of goo that I had to share with you for the same reason that people share videos of horrific falls or disgusting food: for no good reason at all.
Gardeners and gardens can always have challenges, and there are many worse ones than too much rain. This summer, my astilbe and ligularia look, well, primo.