Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blooming Bearded Irises

I have to admit that I am pretty much addicted to bearded irises. When the rhizomes start to go on sale in the Fall, I find myself buying one every where I see them. Since these beauties multiply so rapidly, I am starting to get overloaded with irises! That's ok though. I have plans for them.

I added these gorgeous yellow irises to my collection last Fall, and they were the first ones out of hibernation this Spring.

llow irises

Although they appear to be as delicate as tissue paper, the blooms are quite hardy. They took a serious beating over the past two days with 30mph winds. Although they aren't quite as perky as the first day of blooming, I am impressed with their fortitude.

yellow iris

I accidentally knocked one of the blooms off the stalk when I was staking them, so I put it in this cute little cordial glass. I have it sitting on my desk during the day so I can enjoy the sweet scent.

yellow iris

Some of the purple blooms are starting to open too. I really like the contrast of purple against yellow.

purple iris

Bearded Irises are easy to grow in full sun. They require little water and a modest amount of fertilizer. If you cut the stalks back after blooming, they often send up a second wave of flowers in the Summer. Be sure to plant them very shallowly - the rhizome should be "just" under the soil. If you plant them too deeply, they will rot. Division can be done in the Fall, and the foliage should be cut back at that time also.

The only problem I have with irises is that they require staking, and because of this, they can become pretty ratty looking. I'm still working out the logistics of staking them without slicing through the rhizomes. I guess I should stake them when I plant them so I will know exactly where the rhizome is located. I'll consider this when I divide and replant them in the Fall.

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