There’s no such thing as weather that suits every type of plant, but last year conditions were certainly perfect for irises. Come see the wonderful variety of colours and textures I discovered on garden tours last summer. Plus a few are from my own garden. I’m pretty sure they have the entire rainbow covered.
Irises tend to steal the show during June around here, overlapping nicely with the earlier burst of poppies, and carrying the torch with the peonies until the July bloomers arrive.
Two Annoying Things about Irises
There is a little love/hate thing going on here.
While I (obviously) adore the blooms, I do consider them to be high maintenance plants. Why? Because they are grass magnets—all sorts of grasses seem to get all snarled up in the bulbs and rhizomes—and it’s quite a task to dig them up and sort it out. This isn’t so noticeable when the flowers are in bloom, but when the excitement has died off, those grassy mounds can be quite an eyesore.
Also, they can require dividing fairly frequently. Boo-hoo, I know, but I am a great fan of super low maintenance plants and these guys push my limits.
That said, I also cannot resist them. The mini irises (next photo) are a good compromise. They don’t seem to get into nearly as much trouble as the others.
Every so often I get a request to name all the plants in my photos. This is something I avoid like the plague because it’s very time-consuming! I wouldn’t begin to try with irises because there are hundreds of varieties and all sorts of hybrids, like these crazy, lovely next ones:
While they look fabulous in swaths, irises also make excellent focal points. If you have to dig them up and thin them out anyways, there’s no reason not to plant them singularly for pops of colour. And, they’ll still multiply over time.
This next one is one of my miniature irises next to the garden pond. So photogenic!
These tall, dark ones are stunning in this cottage garden:
How wild are these colours? The leaves are from a rose bush.
Here’s another way to use irises to add pop and contrast—set them near other, contrasting show stoppers. The flowers can last quite a few weeks, and they hold things together until the next flowers come along. I love how they offset the pink peonies and salvias.
This next rusty red colour is becoming really popular. I admit I’m kind of obsessed with it.
Here’s some more miniature irises. There’s beautiful blue stripes on the petals.
Here’s more rusty reds. They look good with the blacky-purples. I think I took 8000 photos of them.
More minis by my pond:
This garden had a whole bunch of colours all mixed together. It was really pretty but I’m not sure if I’d like it when the blooms are done and the grasses take over. Perhaps a later blooming canopy plant would save the day?
Classic, frilly yellow irises. Not my cup of tea. Sorry, yellow.
Some look like orchids, don’t they?
I’m not over the grass-invasion problem but I am definitely in love with all the colour possibilities.
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