Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Iris Garden

I promised you a tour of the iris plants, so here goes!

This is the first iris to open, here on RockWhisperer's Hill.  It's Eleanor Roosevelt:  Introduced in 1933.

Next comes Indian Chief, which is so robust, I have to keep it in a bed separate from the others.  Introduced in 1929.

Minnie Colquitt is one that I had but haven't seen for several years now.   I have not lost hope that someday it will appear.  This picture was taken when it was given to me, about 2006.

I thought I'd lost Blue Rhythm, but this year it bloomed in profusion.  Makes me smile.

Here is Chantilly, one of my favorites, hybridized in 1943.

Rose Garland, introduced in 1954:

This is Leading Lady,  introduced in 1940.  It looks a little bad because it appeared in the Indian Chief bed, after over five years of being Missing In Action.  I moved it to The Deer Garden, where it can multiply in peace.  I love the lemonade color and the clear yellow of the beard.

Here's another yellow that appeared, also, in the Indian Chief bed this year.  It's an old one but the name is lost.  That's a white spot on the falls, around the tip of the yellow beard.  Lemon Drop?  Snow Drop?  Sun Drop?  Something....  HIPS has one on their website called "Coronation" that looks very much like this one.  Introduced 1927.

This one appeared in the Indian Chief bed last spring.  I think it is Los Angeles, introduced in 1927, or Bridesmaid, introduced in 1859.

This yellow is Ola Kala, introduced in 1943.

This is Grand Canyon.  I have not seen it since the backhoe incident and when it bloomed for me this year I didn't recognize it.  So I got on the HIPS Photo Gallery HERE and found it, and then I recognized the name: Grand Canyon, introduced 1941.
Oh, I'm so glad to see it again.

These are all old iris that were given to me by a couple of friends.  They told me that during the 1950's and 1960's, they would drive to an iris farm located somewhere in Kansas every spring, and both of them would buy a new iris color.  The iris farm was long gone by then, but they remembered the names of most of them.  We walked all around their place, carrying a garden fork, and they told me the names as we went from clump to clump.  I met these ladies when I was a teenager.  They were sisters who lived together, and were once leaders of MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship).  They were responsible for many happy memories and this day was yet another.  Our pastor told me they reminded him of The Baldwin Sisters from old episodes of The Waltons.  And yes, I guess that's right.  From another time, just as now, I am. 

When we moved into The Ponca House, about 1999, these iris were growing there.  I think this one's called Tahiti Sunrise, introduced 1963.

Then there was a yellow that I think is "California Gold", introduced 1933.
And a purple one that might've gotten mixed in with Beverly's purple, that might've been "California Purple, introduced 1929.

This iris came from a woman with whom I worked, at Grisham Eye.  She just called it "Fragrant White".
And, oh, it IS fragrant.  It and Ola Kala have larger flowers than most of the others.  HIPS has one that looks like this one called "Easter Morn", introduced 1931,

I think this little bronze and bright yellow iris might've come from her as well.  They are not as tall as the others but they put on a lot of flowers:

She gave me some other colors but I've lost track of what they were.  One was a really dark blue but I haven't seen it in years.  I made a few big mistakes.  1) Never plant your colors together.  Some are stronger and will overgrow and kill out the weaker ones.  2) Never make your iris bed on top of a water line.  There was apparently a leak, the City of Dewey came out one morning, without warning, and dug my entire iris bed up, just on the outside of my fence, with a backhoe.  Fixed the line and filled it back in, just during the time that I was gone to work.  Oh, the devastation.  I spent the entire weekend trying to salvage what I could.  I hadn't known the water line was there, or even that the area right on the other side of my fence was considered "City Property".  3) Never allow anyone to run the mower over any of your irises.  I don't CARE if the grass is growing into it.  I don't CARE if they're done blooming for the year.  Stay out!!!!  It does help to keep the grass out if you mulch the bed with wood chips after blooming is finished, however.  And THAT gives the driver of the lawn mower reason to go around, not through.

This one might be another that my co-worker gave me.  I've bought some at a Garden Club sale, 'way back many years ago, maybe it was one of those.
It's a lot like Indian Chief but more reddish-purple, and the colors of the falls and the crowns are not very different from one another.

These two were growing at our little rental house.  I just call them "Beverly's Pink" and "Beverly's Purple" because that was the woman's name who'd owned the house for years and years.  But this one might be Amethyst Flame, introduced in 1958.

And this one might be Fairy Flo, introduced in 1960.

A year ago last fall, I did a big trade by mail with a friend.  This is the first year for some of them to bloom.  This is supposed to be Wabash, introduced in 1936.  But the standards are supposed to be white, I think. 

Beverly Sills, introduced 1979.  I've wanted this one for a long time.

Clarence, introduced 1991.  So pretty.

I don't know the name of this one....  Lovely shade of yellow. The texture reminds me of taffeta or something you'd make a ball gown or lingerie out of. 

Pink Attraction, introduced 1988.  OMG.....

Superstition, introduced 1977.  

Last summer, I bought a bag of iris corms at a garage sale.  The woman said they were "hybrid iris", which most iris ARE....  But anyway, she didn't know the colors.  Small pieces, some of which didn't make it through the winter.  But there are still these two and one that didn't bloom this year:

And last but not least, here's one I bought at the Green Thumb nursery a week or so ago.  It's called "Rock Star", introduced 1991.

I never get tired of iris. 


  1. Loved this tour of your iris plants! I have lots of different colors, but not near this many! I have a lot of trouble with vetch and other weeds in my beds. I'm wondering, what do you do with your plants after they stop blooming and the fronds turn brown on the ends. Do you trim them back and let them put out again? I've always been afraid they might not bloom the next year. Of course I never mow them down!

    1. Charlotte, when they are done blooming, I just cut off the flower stalks, really low to the ground, more because they look ugly than whether it does the plant any good, and then I just leave them be except for a good mulching of wood chips in underneath them. I think any kind of mulch, really, whatever you have available to you. I've tried cutting them back and that makes them ugly and then they put all their energy into growing more leaves! Probably not good for the root systems to be stressed that way. For awhile people were wadding up the green leaves and putting an upside-down quart glass jar over it but I think that's really bad for the plant. Just follow Nature's Way, leave them alone, enjoy the green background they provide for other plants, and when fall comes, they'll die back after the first frost and go into dormancy like they're supposed to. If they turn brown on the ends, maybe that's too much moisture or too little, combined with summer's heat. I guess you could pull the whole leaf off if it bothers you. I don't bother it and it doesn't bother me. LOL


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