>Okay, after being set straight by you kind folks here, I decided that
>spring-flowering bulbs are a *good thing* and have done some
>ordering (to the dismay of hubby, who was probably thinking that
>I would calm down a bit with the winddown of summer.) I got
>my first delivery today of six iris bulbs. I have a little newsletter
>that tells me how to plant them and how to prepare the soil, but
>it didn't address one fact: How soon do I need to do this? It
>says that I can plant them from mid-summer to late fall, but what
>do I do with the bulbs until I plant them? If need be, I can get my
>rear in gear and have them planted in the next day or two, but I
>would *really* prefer to wait for a few days and take my time
>at preparing their resting spot. Will it hurt them to just stay in
>the envelope they came in, no dirt or anything, for a while?
That would partly depend on what kind of iris you bought. Dutch
Iris, for example, are quite a bit different from Bearded Iris.
But either way, a few days shouldn't hurt them if you keep them
cool and dry. Bearded Iris rhizomes are amazingly hardy. I had
one friend whose father gave her a lot of rhizomes -- she didn't
have the chance to do anything with them, so just dumped them
in a pile next to her garage. There they grew... and even bloomed.
Another friend said she had some left over after getting some
from a friend, and had just left them in a pile on her driveway.
A couple of weeks later she saw that they were putting out new
growth. (I don't recommend this sort of treatment, though!!!!)
>Another question has to do with planting some things in con-
>tainers. How do you do it? (Okay, I know, put some dirt in
>a container and put the bulbs in the dirt. I got that part <grin>.)
>Do I do it this fall and .....what? Will bulbs that are hardy for
>my zone (zone 4) make it through the winter in a container of
>dirt in the garage? It would seem to me that the dirt would
>freeze much faster and harder than the dirt in the yard. Or do
>I wait until early, early spring and then plant them in the con-
>tainers? And, if so, how do I store the bulbs over the winter?
I assume you're going to be growing them in outdoor containers
rather than "forcing" them for indoor display.... Yes, you can
plant them in the fall in their containers and leave them in your
garage, though if the temperatures in your garage get REALLY
cold, you may still want to give them some sort of protection from
getting too frozen. If they are left outdoors you will need to keep
the containers protected so that they don't freeze completely, as
you are right about the dirt freezing faster and harder in a container
than in the yard. You will need to make sure that they get some
occasional water so that they don't get dehydrated. But they're
not growing, and the water won't evaporate quickly, so they
won't need much.
>Questions, questions. If someone can direct me to a website
>that answers these questions, I would appreciate it.
Try the "Planting Tips" page at Dutch Gardens:
They have a FAQ Library from the National Gardening
Association as well as their own planting tips.
Here's another page that has good tips on bulbs in containers:
Cheryl in SLC _>^..^<_ (de-spam my address to e-mail)
"The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn
are composed entirely of lost airline luggage." - Mark Russell