For the Love of Iris

Articles, Tips and Notes from Schreiner's Iris Gardens


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Creating Chromatic Contrast with Iris

BlackIris_WhiteAlliumThe idea of a monochromatic garden isn’t a new one, but it is a good one.

Bearded Iris represent the full spectrum of the rainbow. Planting a full range of colors in your garden brings brightness and variety to the scene. Some of us like the mixed up rainbow effect, others like to plant in tidy, organized blocks of color. Building upon the idea of uniform color blocks,  below we present the idea of planting an area using a monochromatic theme. Monochromatic color schemes are derived from a single base hue, then extended using its shades, tones and tints…. As a result, the energy is more subtle and peaceful due to a lack of contrast of hue.* Iris blossoms in shades and tones of a single base hue move the eyes from dark to bright and back again.

Let’s take purple as an easy example. The range of purples in the Bearded Iris family seemingly defies notation. Nevertheless, here is just a sample of Iris falling into the purple spectrum.

Varieties featured above from left to right: Badlands, Rosalie Figge, Rhinelander, Good LookingExcuse Me Darling, Christmas PresentRoyal Sterling

Here is another example of reds lightening to pinks:

Varieties featured above from left to right: Infrared, Red Hawk, Code Red, Dance The Night Away, Entice, Power Point, Rite of Passage

Keep in mind, when creating a visual spectrum in the garden, you might wish to choose Iris that bloom at the same time. The Iris pictured above were chosen only for their color for purposes of illustration. When selecting Iris for your garden design, pay particular attention to their listed bloom season. Also, keep in mind that Iris will bloom at slightly different times depending on the weather and climate in your area.

A fun idea for a chromatic extremes, or “Yin Yang”, garden might be the exclusive use of very dark and white! When these Iris are planted in proximity (12 to 18 inches apart), and with simultaneous bloom time, you are sure to enjoy the full impact of the color contrast. You’ll find these groups of white Iris in our new Moonbeams in May Iris Collection, and the dark Iris in our new After Midnight Iris Collection.

The possibilities are endless. The wonderful thing about gardening is that you can always change things up. Experiment, have fun, let your creative spirit loose!

P.S. Share images of the results of your garden design on Schreiner’s Gardens’ Facebook page.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monochromatic_color


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An Instrument of Grace

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow cycles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” – May Sarton

Schreiner's Iris Gardens|Oh So Yummy

Tall Bearded Iris “Oh So Yummy” Blooms in May

Ralph Waldo Emerson said when he went into his garden with a spade to dig a bed, he felt such exhilaration and health, that he felt he’d been defrauding himself all the time in letting others do for him what he should have done with his own hands.

We need places of reverie and reflection. It feels good to put work aside, relax and enjoy the garden. To just relax on a bench and quietly gaze upon the landscape. The cares of the world quietly slip away.

Visitors-webIdly strolling among the Iris, unexpected delights endlessly appear. Captivating juxtapositions of color are seemingly on parade. Deep purple against a glowing orange, an icy white contrasting beautifully with a lavender Iris, then a brilliant gold, the darkest black, a sky blue…On it goes. Countless new colors and combinations. As Emma Townsend wrote, “Irises are the glamour pusses in the world of floral loveliness.” Time spent in an atmosphere of beauty is restorative.

Sincerely,

The Schreiner Family

Schreiner's Iris Gardens|Sky and Sun

Tall Bearded Iris “Sky and Sun” blooms in May

P.S. Please consider a trip to Schreiner’s Gardens at bloom time. Our 10-acre display of over 500 Iris cultivars, planted among a dizzying array of mature perennials, welcomes local and international visitors each May. Call our office or visit our website for more Bloom Season details.

Iris Lover’s Catalog now available online.


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A Whiter Shade of Pale — World of Irises

By Bryce Williamson

White. A color so important in the garden and so often ignored. I would shock people when giving judges’ training with the idea that the two most important colors in the iris garden were yellow and white. I stick to that position—yellow bring a shaft of sunlight into the garden and whites are…

via A Whiter Shade of Pale — World of Irises


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Bold, Fun, Gorgeous: Arranging with Iris

By Susanne Holland Spicker (Irises from l to r) ‘EXTRAVAGANT’ (Hamblin’84), ‘JUMP FOR JOY’ (Hager ’99), ‘CELEBRATION SONG’ (Schreiner ’93), ‘POEM OF ECSTASY’ (Hager ’97) with giant allium, ruffled poppy, roses and lupine make a colorful floral piece to beautify and bring the garden insideI have…

via “Talking Irises” DISPLAYING IRISES Using a variety of flowers, vases and arranging styles to beautify our homes — World of Irises


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That’s a different looking Iris…

Looking for something different, or “novel”, in your Iris garden? Check out this post by Bonnie Nichols. Lots of fun Iris in this quick read.

By Bonnie Nichols“What are Novelty irises?” ………. I get this question almost every judges training class I teach. I tell everyone “according to the AIS Handbook for Judges” – Novelties are broken color, space age, flatties, and variegated foliage irises. That statement is somewhat still true; however, the advancement of Novelty irises is moving rapidly.…

via Novelty Iris — World of Irises


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Perfectly Planning Pretty Plantings

Ms. Holland Spicker has once again assembled a perfect planning guide for companions in your Iris bed, this time for the pinks, reds and purples. Her use of collages of color and plants makes planning your decorative garden, and your next order of plants, super simple.

You might also take a peek at our Bearded Iris planting guide pages found on our website.

Happy planning!

The Schreiner Family

By Susanne Holland Spicker’RED SKIES’ (Ghio ’07)”The garden: Where inspiration and creativity begins and it never ends”This time of year I like to pause and evaluate the previous gardening year. By now in zone 6 the irises have been divided or transplanted into new areas. Perennials were planted in the fall. Poor performers have been moved…

via “Talking Irises” TALL BEARDED IRISES: COMPANION PLANTS for PINK, RED, and PURPLE IRISES — World of Irises


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The Reds, Whites, and Blues of Bearded Iris

Reds

catseye_web1

“Cat’s Eye” (Black, 2002)

“..There are irises billed as red, but they veer toward shades of wine, brick or reddish brown.

What started as an informal race among growers to create a truly red iris has developed into a decades-long marathon. It persists despite advancements in science, and efforts to modify the flower genetically by Richard Ernst of Cooley’s Gardens outside Salem, Ore., in conjunction with researchers at Oregon State University.

In 2004, Mr. Ernst — a well-known hybridizer who for decades pursued the red iris the old-fashioned way, crossing varieties with characteristics deemed logical to produce a red — predicted that the genetic retooling efforts would be successful in time to show off a red iris at the national conference of the American Iris Society in May…” Read more in the NY Times article >>>>

Whites

White Iris|Immortality

“Immortality” (Zurbrigg, 1982)

White Iris serve a tremendous, grounding purpose in the garden. Their presence give rest to the eyes among the array of colors. They provide contrast to a group of darker blossoms. They pair beautifully with the green foliage surrounding throughout the garden. “White [iris] today have come a long way since the days of their famous ancestors. Ruffles, lace, and a sun-catching characteristic of the flower’s cells, colloquially called diamond dusting, top the list of adjectives used to describe white irises.” (Kelly Norris, “A Guide to Bearded Irises: Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts”, pg 38)

 

 

Blues
Iris lovers heart blue. Actually, I think people heart blue. We’ve been long lost on a quest for true blue in nature, and when we do encounter it, it holds us in deep rapture. Fortunately for iris lovers that rapturous experience storms the garden each spring, laden with ruffles and sassy, audacious flowers.

Like yellow, blue covers a lot of ground, describing the world from the ocean to the sky. Color experts would distinguish true spectrum blue (105C on the RHS Colour Chart) from the violet-blue group of colors we register as wisteria blue, cornflower, bluebird, medium blue, and so on. Looking over the cumulative list of Dykes Medal winners, you can easily pick up on the judging electorate’s bias toward blue bearded irises.

SeaPower_in_Gardenweb1

“Se Power” (Keppel, 1999)

Starting with ‘Sierra Blue’ (Essig 1932) in 1935, more than 18 irises of bluish colors (approximately 25 percent) have won the American Iris Society’s top honor, including some of the world’s most familiar and most often grown bearded irises: the light blue ‘Babbling Brook’ (Keppel 1969), the cold ocean water ‘Shipshape’ (Babson 1969), the waterfall-esque ‘Victoria Falls’ (Schreiner 1977), the bay-reflecting ‘Yaquina Blue’ (Schreiner 1992), and the tempestuous medium blue ‘Sea Power’ (Keppel 1999). The bearded iris world sports thousands of blue irises throughout the range just described, but spectrum blue bearded irises are inexplicably rare, with only one confirmed report in the Bulletin of the American Iris Society, from Virginia hybridizer Don Spoon, of its turning up in a seedling patch.  Almost as rare are the blends with green – mainly turquoise. The SDB ‘Tu Tu Turquoise’ (Black 1989), the most famous turquoise iris, has given risen to other popular dwarfs of similar color, including ‘Miss Meredith’ (Spoon 2002) and ‘Bombay Sapphire’ (Black 2007) .

In bearded irises, the quest for the true blue iris has had many fortunate detours. The flood of blue tall bearded irises from the 1930s through the 1950s stems from ‘Great Lakes’ (Cousins 1938), ‘Blue Rhythm’ (Whiting 1945), and ‘Cahokia’ (Faught 1948), which when crossed with other blues of the day and whites like ‘Snow Flurry’ (Rees 1939) and ‘Purissima’ (Mohr-Mitchell 1927) gave rise to a tide of new introductions from breeders across the country, including the Schreiners of Oregon, who still lead the crowd of blue breeders. The same quest led hybridizer Paul Cook to discover the amoena pattern, incorporate new species (namely Iris reichenbachii and I. imbricata) into the genealogy of modern irises, and create a whole new class of irises – the standard dwarf beardeds. His Dykes Medal-winning ‘Whole Cloth’ (1958) and ‘Emma Cook’ (1957), an iris named for his wife, were the grand culminations of his work. But Cook discovered these pearls en route to a dark blue bearded iris free of influence from violet. The best representative of his work in this line was ‘Allegiance’ (1958), “universally recognized as one of the finest iris Mr. Cook has introduced” (Schreiner’s Iris Lovers Catalogue, 1958).

Excerpt from “A Guide to Bearded Irises: Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts”; Kelly D. Norris; Timber Press, Inc., 2012. Pp: 32-35.

Reds, whites and blues, they can be had. And even though you won’t have these lovely Iris in your garden this time of year, we wish you a very Happy 4th of July!

~ The Schreiner Family