Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thank You, Neighbor!

Passalong Plants

Passalong plants

There is a fine, old tradition of passalong plants, that is, friends, family and neighbors giving you divisions or cutting of their plants. The iris pictured above was given to me by a neighbor with whom I often chat while on my daily walk. I had been admiring his light purple iris for years, and had never been able to find a good match for it. I asked him to save some for me if ever he divided them and, voila, he gave me three bags full that very year (and I shared some with friends)...and he threw in some dark purple iris as a bonus!
I have a few rules with passalong plants:
1. Look the plants over and discard any that show signs of disease or insect infestation (like iris borers, they leave an oozy trail in the rhizome-my neighbor's rhizomes were clean, but for extra insurance you can soak the rhizomes in a 10% bleach and water solution for an hour).
2. Know before you plant- I wish I had realized how invasive obedient plant can be before I planted a division from a friend- now it's rip it out all season long. Also, some plants should be certified disease-free, and your neighbor cannot do that for you (cane fruits, gooseberries/currants and potatoes come to mind)(and that brings up another related point-in some states certain plants are illegal, example, currants and gooseberries, because they harbor and transmit white pine disease- another reason to know before you plant).
3. And my own personal rule- accept everything you are offered (within reason)- if you reject it, people won't offer again. You can always give a (healthy, non-invasive) plant away or discard unhealthy, invasive ones!
(another lagniappe from my garden below)Happy gardening!


JennaDee said...

Good infomation. I would have never thought to do this. Now my question to you, how could one do this and replant it? I'm very new to planting and love the idea of having a beautiful landscaping of flowers gardens and fruits and veggie gardens.

Judy Thomas said...

Each type of plant has its own requirements for planting and for timing- bearded irises (my example in this blog) are dug in late June or early July, after they are done blooming and replanted immediately. Bearded irises are lightly planted with the rhizome resting atop the soil, but lateral roots (the skinny, thin ones) under the soil, and often need some support their first year, or they flop over. Other plants have other requirements. Most herbaceous (woody) perennials are planted in a "standard" way, roots in the ground at the same depth they had been growing before.

Anita said...

Nice to have neighbors who share your interests, and plants, too!

Good info on how to watch out for infections and how to clean them.