This afternoon I decided to tackle the flower beds in front of the house. I've known for a long time that they needed to be cleaned up, but the combination of my natural tendency to procrastinate and everything else on my plate have pushed this job back until now. And since I have some bulbs on order, I figured I had no more excuses.
I knew it was going to be bad. This is the bed to the left of our front steps, the one which still awaits:
What I didn't realize, though, is that the Siberian irises had overgrown so much that the bed was essentially one giant root mass. The rhizomes were even trying to grow up the side of the steps. Not only that, they had grown over the brick border I didn't know existed and were in the process of eating up what used to be a small strip of lawn. We later sat around a bonfire with the landladies, where they told us that they hadn't done anything with the beds since they bought the house, which I think was about 6 years ago. My guess is that they haven't been touched in at least a decade.
So I slowly broke it all up with a spading fork and a small shovel and David & I pulled it all out chunk by chunk. In the process, I also found that the bed contained a fair amount of Dutch iris, some daylily tubers and tons of daffodil bulbs that had just been left to proliferate for umpteen bajillion years. Then we lay down mulch in preparation for dividing it all and replanting a more reasonable amount. Irises don't like to be mulched over heavily, so I thought it would be easier to replant into or through the mulch, plus the mulch will keep the soil from drying out.
Anyway, at the end of the day, the first bed looked like this:
And now my back is killing me. But if anyone wants Siberian irises, I've got tons of it. Literally.