Decisions of All Sizes

Was it something I did? Something I didn’t do? Or something that didn’t involve me at all?

The Iris danfordiae did not bloom this year after two years of blooming in mid-March. All I got were a bunch of strappy leaves.

Oh, where for art thou, I. danfordiae?

I spent just a few seconds doing some research to find out that this dwarf iris has a habit of forming so many bulblets that the original or parent bulb loses its vigor and often doesn’t bloom after the first or second year. I wonder why I didn’t find this out before I bought the original bulbs?

The good news is that if I let these bublets continue to grow, in a couple more years, I’ll have more blooms.

A couple more years? Is it worth the wait? The bed where these Iris are growing is going to be redone a bit with the new Garden Design. With all that going on, one of three fates awaits these early blooming irises.

I might dig them up and move them someplace else where they can continue to grow and mature.

Or, I might not dig them up and just take my chances that they’ll remain undisturbed in all the digging around them and continue to grow and mature and flower in a few years

Or, I might not dig them up and they will be inadvertently dug up and tossed aside as plants around them are dug up and removed and new plants take their place.

Decisions! There are many decisions to be made with a new garden design - tiny decisions involving irises, big decisions involving hardscape, decisions of all sizes. Decisions!

Iris danfordiae what shall I do with you?


  1. Oh dear, these are tough decisions. You are a much more compassionate gardener that I. I'm a ruthless, take not prisoners kind of gardener. If I loved them, and on a good day, I would pot them up and hold for new home. On a busy day, I would dig up and put near new home. At no time would Ieave them to take their chances. That almost seems cruel. Don't you think?

  2. Don't know if I would take the chance to lose potential blooms. If it was me, I would move them to another spot and nurture them to bloom in a year or two. Can't bear to through out a plant no matter how small.

  3. How small are the bulblets? If they are like other bulbs (scilla, crocus, or the cursed star of Bethlehem), you may end up with them scattered everywhere. Move them temporarily and you will have them in two spots. Don't move them and they will ride with all your transplanted plants. Still, I love my little early spring iris and I would pot them up until the fall.

  4. I'm such a cheapskate I would certainly dig them and pot them up at least. You have lots of know you'll be able to use them!

  5. If you think the idea of tiny iris scattered around the garden sounds like fun, leave them. If the idea freaks you out, dig them up and put them where you want them. You could even dig some up, and leave some to be scattered. Here you are having trouble making a decision, and I've given you a third option.

  6. One thing that a gardener learns is patience. A couple of years is worth the wait to see the bulblets flower. 'Bulblets' is a great word.

  7. Tough call. I'd probably leave them and order new ones this fall.

  8. I'm with Leslie - stick them in a pot and then let them wait until needed in the Holding Area of your new garden.... at least I hope there is a semi-shady combination Holding Area/Growing-on Section/Plant Hospital in the new plan -would be a priority in mine, Carol!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  9. I'm not a particularly planful type of gardener - things just "evolve" over time. So I'd probably dig up the irises, missing quite a few in the process, plop them down somewhere else in the garden that seems good at the time, forget to actually plant them, then forget where I put them, and get a surprise next spring when a whole bunch of flowerless iris leaves pop up in unexpected places all over the garden after the squirrels have buried the 'lost' bulblets. But that's probably not the approach you should take...

  10. Of course you will keep them. The next decision is where to move them.?


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