Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bare root and rhizome time

Each year about this time, the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District has a big sale of native plants. You pre-order through their web site in January, then pick up and pay for the plants about five or six weeks later. It's a great way to get reasonably-priced trees, shrubs, perennials and ferns for your garden.

The MulchMaid picked up her modest selections yesterday: here they are, along with the helenium and trillium she got at the Seattle Garden Show.
She got five Oregon iris, (iris tenax) and three oxalis oregana. The EMSWCD plants had been nicely packed in plastic bags with moist sawdust.

The iris were bare root, and the oxalis were rhizomes.

Although the Mulchmaid only ordered five iris, she got twice as many! She was told they put two plants in each packet, in case one of them fails to grow.

It's important to plant the roots and rhizomes quickly so they don't dry out. Luckily, today was a perfect day for working in the garden.

This picture of iris tenax is from the Pacific Bulb Society.

The irises are ready to grow and are already putting out fresh new leaves.

The oxalis were long rhizomes, with only one leaf among all of them.

The trillium got planted under a cedar tree. The Mulchmaid hopes it will grow: there was no sign of life.

These were both Great Plant Picks. That's a program by the Elizabeth Miller Botanical Garden to promote outstanding choices in plants for maritime Pacific Northwest gardens.

The helenium had already started to sprout in its bag. It was good to get it into the ground today, and a great day to be out in the garden.


  1. I love the "warning" on the Helenium bag....PROFUSE BLOOMER! Good luck with your bounty!

  2. Hi Jane~~ A good score for sure. We have something similar down here. I'm not sure if I should admit this but I've dug clumps of Pacific Coast Iris from the roadside. I guess I can justify it by saying there are plans to develop this area so it was a rescue operation. The plants have done surprisingly well.

    Today was a great day for gardening, wasn't it?

  3. Putting those humble roots and rhizomes in the ground is an act of faith, isn't it? I am in suspense to see what will become of mine. I think both of our chances are excellent.

  4. The iris looks like it will be delicate and lovely and will reward peering into its depths or maybe taking up watercolor painting in order to fully appreciate its beauty. Great scores! And I hope your trillium grows. I have heard they can be hard to cultivate but in the right spot they seem to do fine.

    Thank you for telling me about your comments disappearing from my blog. I hadn't looked at my Spam folder in weeks and was HORRIFIED to find your comments there, as well as those of some other completely legitimate and in fact beloved correspondents. I went through and put them all into the Approved section, and truly apologize for the problem. I guess Wordpress can be buggy with stuff like that, it also disappeared my blogroll a while back and I have never figured out how to put it back. Sigh, what do you want for free, I guess? Anyway, so sorry and please let me know if it happens again!

  5. PS Per your eucalyptus question, I wonder if it is the silver dollar eucalyptus? Only hardy in zones 8-10 so that might explain the dieback I saw on one part of the plant (I didn't show that). Here is a link to a nursery's eucalyptus offerings, see what you think: Apparently the leaves are only round in young specimens, and you have to prune them to keep them from becoming behemoths with willow-shaped pointy leaves. Never knew!

  6. Oh I had no idea! Now I have regrets. I want bags full of trilliums and oxalis. Good finds!


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