Bulbs be Damned; Or how splitting a few Iris doubles your beds in UT, with 400 leftover for MT.


Iris Bed. Step 1: scything. Step 2: pickaxe. Step 3: Pulling railroad ties from field-pile / fence repair. Three dawn-’til-coffee mornings of prep.

As the title suggests our Iris splitting project in SLC became a multi-state issue that required a massive addition of garden space in both locations. This slope below the corral drops straight into the creek at the footbridge we rebuilt in June. It is usually a wall of weeds and grasses and towering wild carrot.


Corral is heading into the yard / Iris bed.

From inside the collapsing corral, prior to scything out the morass of weeds on the other side. Taking out the weeds turned out to be quite a bit bigger of a deal than I had planned…


Truck pulls the fence back upright, and the framing hammer solves problems that are actual nails.


Strapped back to standing with reject steps from the rebuilt footbridge.


Pressure clamp makes everyone behave.


Evening cool down, time to set the railroad ties. Pointing to where the ties need to go is all it takes. 


Walt, this is your Brace & Bit setup: the drill I harangued you about.


Shoulder pressure makes the Brace & Bit dive through the railroad tie.


To drive the rebar I had to fix the old sledge handle and wedge the head tight. I brought wedges from SLC to do just that. It all held together, as long as I didn’t miss and shatter the old handle.


I decide to expand the rr ties the next a.m.; some are rr ties, some are old cedar rail.


Putting in the first rows of Iris.


About 50 per row, so far. The hillside is made of dust this time of year.


We returned from cycling the tandem up the canyon as a smoke-storm rolled in.

We took the tandem up the canyon of the Little Belt River to the remote mining/ski town of Neihart. Earlier in the week the sun and wind had turned us around 1.5 steep miles short of Neihart, but we caught a nice cloudburst on the way down going fast enough that our backs didn’t get wet. This time we had a boosting tail-wind and made Neihart, the day had been hazy with smoke from Washington, and as we made it back to the ranch a closer fire somewhere near Missoula sent a harbinger of things to come.


The fire is about 300 miles to the west. The sun was a dull red orb.

Our forests have dried out with only skeletal remains on many southern facing slopes. Pine beetles have devastated many areas in the Little Belt range, and are beginning to eke their way into our forests.


Around 300 Iris in this plot, and we planted 120 in the yard as a high border to the creek under the willows.


7 varieties of Iris, originating from Wright Road, Ohio to Boulder, CO, to Overland Park, KS, to SLC,UT.

If the biggest and toughest dragon-toes of Iris can dig in, we may have a few blooms even next year; most likely it will be a year of recovery before blooming. Iris like well drained soil in full sun, but this spot is pretty tough.

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