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Picture Perfect Garden -- Irises In The Garden Picture

The wide-awake modern gardener is always looking ahead. Any ahead-looking that visualizes the garden of next year, as it will appear in late May and early June, must recognize the fact that irises will play a leading role in it.

The gardener with a business sense will also recognize the fact that irises, being truly hardy perennials (not the kind that have to be replaced after a season or two), are about the best investment that can be made among flowering plants.

For those who are too busy to give the tall Bearded (German) Irises the little care they require, Siberian Irises are the answer. The Siberians are absolutely hardy, and a clump may be left undisturbed for years, without division or separation. They do best in somewhat damp soil. However, I have watched clumps standing almost in the water, and others in very well-drained borders, both flourishing for years without attention.

The Siberians have narrow, darker green leaves compared to the Bearded Irises and with many more individual stems, usually from three to eight flowers in succession. For garden effect they are a sheet of bloom with plenty of flowers in bloom at once, flowering at about the same level.

Siberians are similar to our wild Blue Flag in shape, but the improved varieties are much larger. The white are all very handsome and stand out strongly in the border. All Siberians may be naturalized by streams or on dry banks and do splendidly without care.

Four or five days after the Siberians have begun to bloom, the Bearded Irises start. They prefer a dry spot with plenty of sun and a fairly heavy soil. In their natural state these rhizomes are largely above ground, while the actual roots, long skinny affairs, going down eight inches or longer in the soil, anchor the plants to steep hillsides.

In gardens, three to seven plants of one variety of iris, in a long oval group, make a good effect. For accents, at the intersections of paths or bottom of steps, a round clump of five irises also work well. From any distance, the so-called “selfs” (all one color) are much the most effective. The blends, often quite delicate and with several colors and shades of color present in each blossom, have not the garden value of the selfs, especially in a large border.

The yellow or white selfs have the greatest visual impact. To make the garden appear larger, use yellows and whites nearest the entrance, then pinks and blues, ending with deep purples against the background for an effect of depth.

The Bearded Irises have many more flowers on each stalk, which makes a longer period of bloom. The flowers are held out on side branches, as well as on the main stem, giving a candelabra appearance.

For a low accent under thirty inches tall, try a white Bearded iris, in front of a pale pink peony or with blue Anchusa and a Harrison’s Yellow rose.

To lighten up a dark corner, there is the variety of iris, known as the Shining Sun. This Iris stands heat, cold, and sun very successfully, and being late and tall, it is a strong yellow to use behind a white iris variety and a great garden iris.

Don’t forget about late blooming irises that often overlap into Oriental Poppy season. Additionally, there are two magnificent purples which are both excellent for cutting and rich in the garden effect. Or go for the very darkest iris imaginable, the “Sable” variety which has a dark blue-purple beard, along with the Red Valor which is deep garnet red.

Lastly, the Oriental Iris (Iris kaempferi) are worthy of consideration for every garden. They are so tall and have such large flowers that any varieties of them are great decoration value either cut or out-of-doors. The late June and early July garden can hardly do without them, as they bloom after Delphiniums (normally) and before Phlox takes over.

The Orientals prefer a damp spot in full sun. They will bloom in dry places, but the individual flowers will not be as large. It is very difficult to describe these irises adequately, but they are all beautiful and showy.

If You’d Like To Know More About Growing Irises!

Growing and Caring For the Bearded Iris

The Japanese Iris

All Kinds of Irises