Moving the irises after tough summer

OK - here's the deal in as few words as possible. My existing bearded iris bed is overgrown and needs to be moved and divided up. Worse, the location has become filtered afternoon sun over the last few years. (bed has been there, with semi-regular division for at least 10 years.)
I'm thinking of just lifting them all up, dividing and cleaning and moving them to an existing bed which has good drainage. I'd move all those plants up to the old iris bed, where most of them will do fine until I finish the great rearrange of the gardens. (As an aside, I'm thinning my daylily collection, and otherwise changing the garden up.) New bed is unlikely to become shady in the next decade.
My other concern, is since this new iris bed will be "front and center", it will be boring unless I find some good companions that like the same summer conditions.
So - Make the move now while I have the time or wait until it starts to cool down and hope I have the time. Watering is not an issue.
Thanks
Cheryl
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On 8/6/10 5:00 AM, Cheryl Isaak wrote:

Monitor what is happening in your local nurseries (real nurseries, not lumber yards or hardware stores). When bare-root bearded irises first appear for sale, wait one week. Then dig and divide.
If you are moving the iris to a new bed, prepare that bed while waiting for the time to dig and divide. If your soil is clay (as is mine), add a generous amount of gypsum to the new bed when you prepare it. This will give the gypsum time to break up the clay before planting the iris there.
Don't forget to put some bone meal or superphosphate in the bottom of the planting holes (old and new beds). Cover lightly with non-fertilized soil so that disturbed iris roots do not directly touch the fertilizer. The phosphorus will promote flowering.
My bearded iris seem to do okay with part-sun. I would suspect that any lack of flowering is more likely to do with crowding than with the amount of sunlight. I thoroughly divide each iris bed about every third or fourth year, doing a different bed each year so as spread the effort from year to year.
See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_divide_iris.html .
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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On 8/6/10 4:18 PM, in article pL2dnVnJCvqC88HRnZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@iswest.net,

wild and they dig every thing up. Like all 500 daffodil bulbs. I see a bag of superphosphate in my future.

You're a LOT warmer than I am - while the map tells me I Zone 5a, I garden as if I'm Zone 4. The winter winds whip in and swirl around a bit and the cold air settles in. I can measure as much as 6 degrees different from the top lawn (hill top) to the bottom lawn and vernal pond area.
Thanks again guys
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Hi Cheryl,
I am familiar with growing irises in NH. The problem there tends to be soil too high in organic content and/or clay, hence not draining sufficiently. Irises do like to be soaked now and then, but they thrive compared to other plants in locations where the soil is sandy and periodically gets very dry.
    Una
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This looks informative .
<http://www.irisgarden.org/culturemain.html
--
Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden
globalvoicesonline.org
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On 8/11/10 10:50 AM, in article i3udc3$glj$ snipped-for-privacy@doliolum.localnet, "Una"

well drained. I'm leaving them in their old home with a little amending and it easy not to water that bed when I've decided I HAVE to water.
Thanks
C
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Cheryl Isaak;896654 Wrote: >

> cool

flowering. the old roots are beginning to die off and the new ones usually are only 'buds' so you do not damage them as you dig up the old rhizomes. I assume you know to plant only the younger pieces and with the fan of leaves at the North end so they do not shade the roots. Also you may trim the leaves back by about half.
--
Owdboggy


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Hi Cheryl I hope your foot is healing quickly. I had a similar foot that I spranged: that is when you bang it on the chair leg and sprain the joint, but no broken toes. Hurts! But takes just as long as broken to feel OK. Mine seems to be OK now.
Anyway, I dig (or did) TB iris anytime that I felt like digging them. So I don't know why you can't. I have Siberian (Caesar's Bro) and a Louisiana, 6 Pacific Coast Hybrids, and a Dwarf Bearded that I love, but not one TB remains. Because of the reason you mention: they look great for about 2-3 weeks and then they look AWFUL. No just boring, but awful! So I gave all mine to a friend down the street; she filled her front yard with them and I go down in the spring and say Oh how beautiful. Then when they look dreadful I don't have to look at them/deal with them etc.
I do love the little Dwarf Iris. It gets 8-10 inches tall, is a lovely blue-purple, is fragrant, and does not multiply very quickly. When it needs work the clump is small enough to dig/divide/discard old pieces/replant in no time at all. In addition, it reblooms, and people do not slam their door when I offer them a few. It's named "Smell the Roses"
So I say Go for it. Emilie NorCal
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