When I look at Bearded Iris in my garden, I think of my grandparents. They had a gorgeous collection of them interspersed throughout their backyard, as well as a dedicated bed for them.
I have had Iris since I started my own gardens and always loved how one bloom would open, one at a time, so a beautiful stem that has multiple buds would last a long time, as each bud would open. Now that ‘Iris Season’ is upon us, I felt I needed to write about a sentimental favourite.
Iris are rhizomes - an underground root-like system, which stored the plant’s food for winter or during dormant periods.the roots come off of the rhizomes as do the stems, a clever means of propagation.
Bearded Iris are characterized bu their beards - a pattern of hairs on the Falls (downward hanging part) which acts as a guide to insects seeking nectar. The three main components are:
Standards - 3 upright divisions
Falls - three lower hanging divisions
Style Branches - 3 small branches between the Standards and the Falls
The perfect symmetry of threes!
Many have varied colour combinations with different colours of Standards from the Falls - called bicolour. Beards can also have varied colours as well.
Bearded Iris are further broken down into three main categories - Dwarf (Mini), Intermediate, and Tall Bearded. I love the early spring blooms of the Dwarf varieties, often providing early splashes of colour when there is very very little. Dwarf varieties are very hardy and multiply quickly and need to be divided. The Intermediates - an in between size - provide a nice mid height in a Garden bed, gracefully seen just above the border plants. Then come the Tall Bearded Iris - can be up to 40+ inches in height - very ephemeral!
By planting all three types a full month or more of blooming Irises can be achieved.
They do require dividing to prevent overcrowding, and after blooming is finished trim the leaves back to ‘the fan’ as means of disease control.
Irises also need space and at least 1/2 Day of sun - basically sun and good drainage! Actually Irises do best in moderately fertile soil!!!
These are some of our Favourites growing on the Farm