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Iris: One of Natures Most Incredible Looking Specimens

Organics Admin
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Organics Admin

COO at Aladay LLC
Organic Farmer, Property Preservation Specialist and Custom Glass & Wood Worker. Blogger extraordinaire...
Organics Admin
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Since it the time of year when Iris’ are starting to be harvested for sales I thought I’d bring you some information on these magnificent and one of the most interesting looking flowers we have here in Laci’s Rose Garden. Here at AOF we use them to line walkways and as clusters throughout the Rose Garden. When they are all in full bloom the entire yard smells like you have just walked into a perfume shop. As a matter of fact there is a particular species that is used for the making of perfume and many of you Gin fans probably know Bombay Blue Sapphire Gin and Magellan Gin are made from the German Iris l. germanica and sweet Iris l. pallid. These roots are actually traded as orris root. Today the Iris essential oil or absolute from the flowers are sometimes used in aromatherapy as a sedative. For this process the aged rhizomes (the rhizomes can be aged for up to five years) are steam distilled and create a compound known in the perfume industry as “Iris Butter”. Something else I found interesting about the rhizomes is that they produce ascorbic acid. Now before you think you can run out to your yard and get your daily issue of Vitamin C every day, the rhizomes are also poisonous. While poisonings are not normally fatal, as with any substance used medicinally, it is recommended this be done under professional guidance.peacocks 128

The Iris has two way of propagating itself. The first and most common by far is what botanists and the hobbyists call the rhizomes. These are the roots, and are what you purchase when you buy them at your local nurseries or garden centers at Lowe’s or Home Depot, or even at Wal Mart. Some of the Species sell for as much as $30 per rhizome. Not to fret, here at AOF we sell them on site from between $3-$4, and actually have volume pricing. The second is what is called the “fruit”. This is as with all types of fruits a seed pod that has a triangular football shape and will appear at the top of one of the stalks at the end of the bloom cycle.

The counts on the varieties or species vary between 260 and 300…that is a lot of different Iris’s!!! Perhaps one of our expansions will be this incredibly interesting looking flower as we do love the way the yard smells when they are in full bloom. The most commonly found garden specimens being the Bearded German Iris. I know they are definitely the most popular as they not only have a wide array of colors heights and sizes. As one of the great species of plants and flowers that can be used to create three dimensional areas of your gardens, Iris’s can attain heights of three to five feet. So they can be used to line walk ways, as a back drop for a flower bed, be used in conjunction with other spring flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils as al are different in height. The one color that has eluded the enthusiasts is a true red…

 

”A truly red bearded iris, like a truly blue rose, remains an unattained goal despite frequent hybridizing and selection. There are species and selections, most notably based on the beardless rhizomatous Copper iris (I. fulva), which have a relatively pure red color. However, getting this color into a modern bearded iris breed has proven very difficult, and thus, the vast majority of irises are in the purple and blue range of the color spectrum, with yellow, pink, orange and white breeds also available.”

 

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Iris’s are a perennial plant. When the rhizomes are dried they are sold as bulbs. The name comes from Greek word for “rainbow”, I guessing because of the coverage their blooms have throughout the color spectrum. As many varieties as this flower species has is as many different colors they have. So it is very easy to see why the Greeks would name the flower after the rainbow.

Over the years the iris has been depicted in art, one of the most famous being a painting titled Broken Vows. The symbol has also been used in family coat of arms and country’s flag and is also an almost universal symbol of scouting and in fact the the iris is the symbol of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

 

 

 

 

Here is a link to a youtube video on planting your Iris’s short and very sweet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYyDdS53l4c

 

The following is courtesy of garden web and is some basic care and planting information that we include with every purchase of Iris sets here at AOF. Following these simple instructions will provide you with a healthy system for you Iris’s and provide you with many years of enjoyment.

                                                                                           

                                                                                                  IRIS PLANTING AND CARE

Bearded irises can be divided any time after your last frost date in the spring, the optimal time to divide them is 6-8 weeks after bloom. Avoid transplanting irises in very hot weather (90+ F degrees), but do get them transplanted back into the ground a couple months before freezing weather to give them time to root in well before winter. Irises sometimes take a year off bloom after transplantation to settle into their new homes, so don’t be too disappointed if you don’t get bloom the spring after planting

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Use a spade or fork to dig up your iris clumps and wash them off well with a hose until you have removed all dirt and can easily see where the rhizomes (rzs) are attached to one another. With a sharp knife, cut through the attachments (you can break them apart with your hands, but a sharp knife will make a smaller, cleaner wound). Inspect the rzs thoroughly. Discard any rhizomes that are soft or mushy or show any other signs of disease, any that do not have viable roots, and any that are just too tiny to bother with. Many people also discard old “mother” rhizomes that have already bloomed because they will not bloom again. These “mothers” may grow additional rhizomes (increases) however, so they may be worth replanting if you have the extra room for them. Remove any dead, spotted, or unhealthy (brown or yellow) leaves or parts of leaves. Many folks cut the leaf fan back a bit when transplanting so the weight of the leaves won’t cause the newly planted iris to tip over, but you should leave as much leaf on the plant as possible to continue to feed the rhizome. Snap or cut spent bloomstalks off at the rhizome. Snip off any dead roots but leave the plump roots intact.

If you find soft, mushy spots (bacterial soft rot) in your rzs, either discard those rzs in the trash (do NOT compost), or cut the mushy parts out. If you do decide to keep otherwise valuable but rot-infected rzs, soak them in a solution of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water for 30 mins, then rinse in clear water. After you have separated, inspected, and cleaned up your rzs, lay all of them out in a shady, dry area for a couple days to allow the cut wounds to scab over before transplanting.

flowers_for MD_FB 041You should transplant these irises into an area providing at least 6 hrs of direct sunlight a day. Prepare a new planting area or rejuvenate an existing bed by making sure the soil is well-drained and properly fertilized. Though iris gardeners often dig a bit of superphosphate into the soil to feed the rhizomes and help promote future bloom, it’s actually a wiser tactic to fertilize according to the needs of your particular soil. This can be determined through a soil test performed by your county extension agent. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers. Excessive nitrogen can promote bacterial soft rot in bearded irises.

When you plant your irises, make sure the top surface of the rhizome is level with or just slightly below the soil surface. If you bury the rhizome too deeply, the plant may refuse to flower. Do NOT mulch directly over the rhizomes. Mulch will tend to retain too much soil moisture right around the rhizomes and promote bacterial soft rot (unless you live in a hot desert climate). If you have the room, plant your rzs about 2′ apart with no other plants nearby to overgrow them and compete for soil nutrients. You can also plant 3 separate rhizomes in a triangle 1′ apart with the leaf fans facing outwards to produce an instant clump effect. Water the irises deeply once a week for the first month if there is not adequate rainfall. Avoid frequent, shallow waterings. Overwatering is another common cause of soft rot problems.

Just so you understand how the bearded iris life cycle progresses – each individual rhizome will only produce one flower stalk during its lifetime. After (and sometimes before) it flowers, it will turn its energy toward producing “increases” (new rhizomes growing from the sides of the “mother” rhizome). After these new rhizomes grow to blooming size and eventually flower, they will then become “mothers” and grow increases of their own.phone_5_23_13 024

 

Until next time

As always…happy gardening

 

Sources;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_(plant)

http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/iris/2002045002020707.html

Geneticaly Modified Food Products: Are they Safe for Humans???

Organics Admin
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Organics Admin

COO at Aladay LLC
Organic Farmer, Property Preservation Specialist and Custom Glass & Wood Worker. Blogger extraordinaire...
Organics Admin
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Latest posts by Organics Admin (see all)

With all the conversation going on out there on this subject I thought I would start the Saturday Morning Fodder with some research articles on this subject. The following is a list of articles and papers that have been written by some of the Agriculture Industry’s top scientists, bloggers, farmers with firsthand experience etc.. However, the articles are all very enlightening. I post them all to give you an idea just how explosive and divisive this subject is. On one hand we have the chemical giants telling us that “farming through chemistry” is a good thing on the other hand we have the opponents stating this is bad science and we should proceed with extreme caution and perhaps this is a  particular yellow brick road we do not want to go down to find out what may be at the end.

Now I don’t know about you but this is just me, when you go engineering food products…isn’t that what they make science fiction movies about. I remember the first time I saw 2001 A Space Odyssey (boy that date seemed sooooo far away). I marveled at the space station set…really marveled a NASA’s space station when they showed it off.
You can’t change the natural structure of something and say unequivocally that it will be better, it will have no ill effects, etc.. One of the biggest genetically modified food substances in the agriculture industry right now is corn. Now if the makeup of the corn had not been altered, say the corn evolved to kill its predator for example(another science fiction movie, Please tell me Steven King has become a follower and I’ll get a credit in his next book!!!), then I would not be quite so hesitant…but this is a man made product, and just like the PCB’s, DDT etc. products that are engineered to specifically have a targeted adverse reaction, said products have always proven out to have collateral damages that outweigh the main objectives of the advantages. You will never ever convince me that when you genetically engineer a food product it is safe to eat when said product kills another living creature on this earth.
This topic is a hot button everywhere. As a participant of farmers markets I see foot traffic counts at markets up and farmers that are certified organic are reporting sales are up over previous years. I also see a big push for people to buy local so they can actually “know their farmer” people want to come to the farms and see the operation etc. they want some common sense approach to conversation that is not a bunch of mumbo-jumbo.  The hype about how beneficial this technology is…to me at least…draws comparisons to how marijuana became illegal in the country. Many people do not understand the economics of how marijuana became illegal. I have to wonder though in today’s “information at your finger tips age” we now live in if Mr. Hearst and his cronies would have been able to so easily brainwash the population into believing that if you smoke marijuana you would be a heroin addict next week…I think not. Please do not interpret that as me advocating that people par take in illegal activity, I’m not…The comparison is based upon this fact…marijuana was made illegal without scientific facts…

The decision of the United States Congress to pass the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was based on hearings and reports. In 1936 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) noticed an increase of reports of people smoking marijuana, which further increased in 1937. The Bureau drafted a legislative plan for Congress, seeking a new law and the head of the FBN, Harry J. Anslinger, ran a campaign against marijuana. Newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst‘s empire of newspapers began publishing what is known as “yellow journalism“, demonizing the cannabis plant and putting emphasis on connections between cannabis and violent crime. Several scholars argue that the goal was to destroy the hemp industry, largely as an effort of Hearst, Andrew Mellon and the Du Pont family. They argue that with the invention of the decorticator hemp became a very cheap substitute for the paper pulp that was used in the newspaper industry. They also believe that Hearst felt that this was a threat to his extensive timber holdings. Mellon was Secretary of the Treasury and the wealthiest man in America and had invested heavily in nylon,DuPont‘s new synthetic fiber, and considered its success to depend on its replacement of the traditional resource, hemp. According to other researchers there were other things than hemp more important for DuPont in the mid-1930s: to finish the product (nylon) before its German competitors, to start plants for nylon with much larger capacity, etc.

 

Again a chemical company in the middle, you see marijuana in part became illegal because it was in the way of profits on patients. This GMO issue is basically in the same boat…there just isn’t science to support a pro or con stance…that said…I like my common sense approach…Ya know a chemical company, yes the very same company that is attempting to corner our food production market, the grand daddy of franken foods gave us a product called Astro Turf, This was a product developed for the 8th wonder of the world the Houston Astro Dome as the complex, a baseball stadium, had a roof and no natural sunlight and golly gee that meant no photosynthesis and the grass died!!! Imagine that! The nerve of that grass. Many ball players hated it and still do . Baseball players that had speed loved this Astro Turf stuff, just ask Ozzie The Wizard Smith, they could bang a ball into it and it would eat up third basemen, squeeze through the middle of the of the infield, ricochet around the out field like a ball in a pinball machine or just plain bounce so high and infielder had to set up camp and wait for it to come down and the player could beat out hits that would normally be outs on grass. However, it was pitchers and corner-men in baseball that feared this stuff , I believe it was Richard  Allen or Richie/Dick Allen as baseball fans know him was a great hitter, was quoted as saying” If a horse can’t eat it, I don’t want to play on it” . The point I make here is again a product put into play with no research touted as something “better” Sure it cut grounds keeping fees,watering costs etc.. However, what no one knew because it was put into play without considering any collateral effects this product might have, the medical industry and sports medicine found  they now had a new type of injury that no one knew how to deal with. This product beat up the players knees, the balls came off the turf so fast infielders could not react fast enough, sliding on this substance burned players, and lets not forget the sports industry got “Turf Toe” I agree with Richie’s common sense approach, If a horse can’t eat it I don’t want to play on it either …and boy howdy if it don’t grow the way the good Maker intended it to grow…I don’t want to eat it.

I think I’ll walk down to the lake and do some fishing now it’s just about breakfast time out here….

Have a great day and let’s be safe out there…Thanks for tuning in today.

As Always

Happy gardening

http://www.realfarmacy.com/safety-group-blows-lid-on-secret-virus-hidden-in-gmo-crops/

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/faqs/faqinsertedfragmentofviralgeneingmplants.htm

http://seedsofdeception.com/about-jeffrey/

http://ardenandersen.blogspot.com.au/

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/p

ii/S0278691512005637

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512008009?np=y

http://www.academie-sciences.fr/presse/communique/avis_1012.pdf

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/2910.htm

http://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/349/feeding-study-in-rats-with-genetically-modified-nk603-maize-and-with-a-glyphosate-containing-formulation-roundup-published-bei-seralini-et-al-2012.pdf

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512007880

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gilles-Eric_S%C3%A9ralini

http://www.who.int/tdr/publications/documents/glp-handbook.pd

http://gmoseralini.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Seralinial-AnswersCritics-FCT_2013.pdf

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/2986.pdf

http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/section-5/5-6-lab-experiments-with-35s/

https://theconversation.com/genetically-modified-corn-and-cancer-what-does-the-evidence-really-say-9746

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_history_of_cannabis_in_the_United_States