June 07, 2008
I love wild iris, but it's too dry here in the foothills for them to grow on their own. They do better in the higher, wetter mountains.
But some years ago a colleague gave me a gunny sack full of domestic iris rhizomes she had left over after re-digging her flower beds.
Our "landscaping" here consists mostly of holding the trees at bay ("defensible space") plus a vegetable garden, so I turned the iris loose in the woods. I planted them here and there in little gullies and other low spots that I thought might stay damp in a dry year.
And they have held on. In some bad years, they do not bloom at all. This year we are getting a moderate bloom. It's enough. And while sometimes I am a native-plants purist, I don't think these iris are going to colonize Colorado very fast.
And we all know that there are noxious weeds and "noxious weeds." Take bindweed, for instance. As a gardener, I hate it. But my rancher friend says that cattle will eat bindweed in a dry year, so it gets a tacit exemption from all the weed-control programs--around here, at least.