August 31st, 2004
Dietes vegeta

The morning temperatures have dipped below 70 and the humidity is low, making for pleasant garden mornings. The more I clean up the leaf litter, cut back the overgrown plants and weed, the more I start thinking of new garden plans.

Gardening has its fashions. One year it was pentas. Then it was Tecoma stans. This year commercial landscapes all over Austin, planted Dietes vegeta, the butterfly iris. The long graceful spears are attractive even when the plants are not in bloom. But when they are bloom, it’s magic; single flowers flutter above the leaves.

Seduced, I bought a gallon pot of some at Home Depot several months ago. Since I was going to be away at the worst part of summer, I decided not to plant them then. Today I finally got around to it.

I never got a single bloom out of these last spring. Despite having mulched this heavily before we went to England this year, only one rhizome looks like it has survived the heat. Will they come back next spring? or have they rotted away?

by M Sinclair Stevens

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