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Robyn's Pond Blog for September 2017

Last Updated: 9/3/17

1. I did pond work on 9/3/17. It had rained a few inches the day before from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey so I didn't need to add water to any ponds or water any outdoor plants. I squirted out the Biosteps filter but didn't pump it down. I squirted all the filter materials and put additives in the ponds. I took off the waterlily protector on the Albata lily because the koi keep moving it and getting themselves stuck in it anyway. I think it produced one flower this year. The Chromatella yellow waterlily produced half a dozen flowers. The other two lilies didn't make any! The water lettuce all died off a few months ago from aphids. There is a good amount of water hyacinth but it is now getting brown and yellow, and it too never flowered.

2. I had off 9/4/17 for Labor Day so I did Labor! This is the time of the year to repot water iris. I'm supposed to do it every two years. My records show it's been four years! I am so bad! This was the year I was going to get that done! I worked from 9 am until almost noon. It was 68 degrees F out so nice. Last spring, when they flowered, I put metal plant support rings in all the pots that did not flower purple. So, there was one pot of white iris and one pot of Colorific (white and purple) iris. Could there be other pots that weren't purple flag iris but that hadn't flowered this year? Of course. That's part of the dilemma because I got in the pond and found 17, yes 17 pots of iris! Two were the aformentioned pots, then there were 11 two gallon pots and 2 one gallon pots that I took out of the pond to work on and also two more two gallon pots that I left in there and did not repot. One that I left was the black gamecock iris that I just got this year. The other was a purple flag iris I believe that was just more deep so I didn't bother to take it out (hence I did not meet my goal of repotting ALL iris). I also removed an empty two gallon pot.

I started by repotting the Colorific iris from its two gallon pot back in to the same pot. It was not overgrown. I then repotted the white iris in to three pots. Only after repotting did I realize that one of the pots was sweetflag with a little piece of white iris. Sweetflag has a stiff ridge up the stalk which is how you can feel it is different than iris. It likes to jump in to pots where it doesn't belong. I have plenty of sweetflag which I wasn't repotting on this day but I just left that pot as it was repotted. I put a single popsicle stick in with the white iris pots and two sticks in with the Colorific iris. This was to mark the pots so I knew which were the special (rare) iris in the pond.

The lizard tail was massively overgrown. My records show it was last repotted three years ago! I had to cut the pot off, had to cut most of the vegetation down, and then use a shovel to try to break off pieces. It had roots up and down the stalks as the entire thing had fallen over in the pond and wouldn't stay upright due to the weight. I saved enough to make up three two gallon pots of lizard tail. I may bury some of the rest in a wet area of the property if I get to that.

There are potted iris, iris floating around, and iris rooted in the gravel in the bottom. I took a chunk of loose iris that looked to have wider leaves than the purple flag iris (so maybe a different kind) and potted that in to a two gallon pot. I repotted the two one gallon pots in to two gallon pots with the thought that they might be another variety although I think they were just pieces of iris that jumped in to those pots (pot jumpers!). And, I repotted a two gallon pot. That gave me four two gallon pots of presumably purple flag iris although I can't be fully sure. That leaves 9 two gallon pots sitting on the porch waiting for another day. I will try to take a little from each and repot in to just four two gallon pots as there's not enough space in the pond for all these iris pots! I have very little of other marginals left. Aside from the now three pots of lizard tail, there are a few sweetflag, a few golden club, a few purple pickerel, a hardy canna, maybe some dwarf cattails, an arrowhead, and not much else. I can't keep all the iris. Unfortunately, in my experience of planting water iris on the land, only yellow flag iris does well on the ground. In fact, I no longer even have it in my pond after the deer massacred it a few years ago. There is yellow flag iris growing on the ground next to my big pond, next to my 153 gallon pond, and some in a low spot out front. They all flower. So, I don't really need it in the pond as that species breaks the pot in just a few years.

I've really been neglecting my pond in the last four years since my new job gives me half as much time off, and I'm now responsible for 100% of everything since my mother died, and my father is 100% apathetic and non-functional due to dementia. There's a lot of things to do! At least I got most of the iris repotted!

To be continued.

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