For the Love of Iris

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Reblooming Irises: A Love Affair — World of Irises

Here at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens we love Reblooming Iris. Continue reading this lovely piece by Ginny Spoon….

By Ginny Spoon   When I first joined the American Iris Society in 1991, I learned about reblooming irises at our local chapter of AIS, the Chesapeake and Potomac Iris Society. Irises that bloom both spring and fall were the ones that I wanted most of all. That is where I met Don Spoon, who outbid me…

via Reblooming Irises: A Love Affair — World of Irises


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“Summer Olympics” in your yard?

So, you’re not a world-class gymnast, or the world’s fastest sprinter, or even a sun-tanned beach volleyball player,but still you might be dreaming of an “Afternoon in Rio”, or of someday joining the Summer Olympics….We all have dreams, don’t we? Well, we’re excited for the summer games even still. Opening August 5th in Rio de Janeiro, the games inspire us all the world over. And right here in Oregon (home of several Olympic athletes, incidentally), we’re inspired to have some fun with Iris names while we await the lighting of the cauldron.

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Summer Olympics, R.G. Smith 1980

Top of the list “Summer Olympics“: Aptly named for its bright golden color that often will come around in the summer or late fall in addition to the spring bloom, as it is a reblooming Iris.

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Dream Ticket, Larry Lauer 2006

The US Olympic Dream Team has got the “Dream Ticket“to bring home that “Pure As Gold” hunk o’metal draped around their necks this summer.

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Pure As Gold, William Maryott 1993

One for all of you aspirational types, here’s to “Dreaming of Rio“. And why not? If athletes can dream big, why not the rest of arm-chair contenders?

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Dreaming of Rio, Schreiner 2008

And for all the athletes whose dreams have come true, spending the “Afternoon in Rio“, we send our joyous congratulations! Dream big, win big, and go for the gold!

The rest of us can enjoy the games, in the afternoon, on the patio, gazing at our summer gardens.

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Afternoon in Rio, Schreiner 2005


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Consider the Early Blooming Iris

Dwarf Bearded Iris|Heather Carpet

Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris, Heather Carpet (Chapman, 1999), hugs  a garden path.

Easy to plant, easy to care for, easy to enjoy! That is the Iris. And such variety too! Variety of size, variety of bloom season, variety of color, variety of style. Isn’t success in life all about the choices we make? That simple maxim can apply to the realm of the flower garden too. The Iris offer such a host of choices, one is surely to find just the right color, or size, etc. Let’s talk about the breadth of bloom time, for example. The Miniature Dwarf Iris and the Standard Dwarf Iris are among the very first Iris to bloom. Weather depending, of course, they open up their diminutive blossoms, just 5 to 15 inches in height, approximately mid-March to early April (in most temperate zones), heralding the launch of another promising Iris season.

Intermediate Iris|Schreiner's Iris Gardens

Intermediate and Border Bearded Iris blooming at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens

Weep not for the fading Dwarf Iris! For the Intermediate, Median, or Border Iris are opening on the garden scene. A bit taller than the tallest Dwarf, yet shorter than the shortest Tall Bearded Iris, they offer brilliant bloom to span the gap between March and May, a beautiful complement to the Cherry blossoms! The earliest blooming Tall Bearded Iris will overlap with the later-blooming Intermediate Iris, to create a seamless floral transition of color. Sprinkle in several mid-season and late-season Tall Bearded Iris around your garden, and the color show continues well into June.

Dwarf Bearded Iris|Gold CanaryLet’s have a few more words about these Dwarf Iris, though. The Hungarian language has a saying, “The pepper corn is small, but mighty.” (Kicsi a bors, de erős.) The same can be said about these Iris of smaller stature. They are no less hardy than their taller, more robust cousins. Dwarf Iris, both Miniature and Standard types, propagate with strength and, once in bloom, stand up to the early spring frosts. There are several wonderful resources available which provide great detail on the origins of these hybrids (quite fascinating, really). The Dwarf Iris Society is a good place to start for further links and leads on exploring the subject. Several Iris breeders today have introduced spectacular Bearded Iris cultivars in miniature.

A few moments spent even casually mapping out the succession of Iris blooms in your garden will yield months of rainbow color from your ankles to above your hips! Dwarf, Intermediate, Tall Bearded, as well as Beardless Iris, are all planted in the summer months. Below is a simple chart, indicating approximate bloom times for Iris ranging from the Miniature Dwarf to the Tall Bearded, and including the Beardless Iris such as Siberian and Louisiana. Bloom time is greatly dependent on weather conditions and gardening practices, however. For example, Reblooming Iris require regular fertilization and dividing.

March

April

May

June

July/Aug/Sept/Oct

Min. Dwf. & Std. Dwf.

(5″ to 15″; 5cm to 28cm)

Intermediates & Border

(16″ to 27″; 40cm to 68cm)

Tall Bearded

(28″ to 48″;70cm to 122cm)

Tall Bearded & Beardless

Reblooming Bearded Iris of all sizes

Music, Keith Keppel 1999

Music, Standard Dwarf Bearded
Keith Keppel, 1999

As Barbara Whitehouse and Bee Warburton write in their chapter entitled “Miniature Dwarf Beardeds”, in The World of Irises, (The American Iris Society, 1986) “…each iris lover should grow at least one or two clumps of them …. However, they are so charming that one or two clumps may ultimately become a whole bed or border.” (pg 145)….

If you are one who can hardly wait for the year’s Iris season to start, you have merely to plant some Dwarf Bearded Iris this summer. You will have Iris blooming with the first inkling of spring warmth. Even if you consider yourself simply a fan, a dabbler, a curious gardening newbie to the world of flowers, give the Dwarf Iris a try!

Do you grow Dwarf Iris? Share your comments below!

What to do in the Iris garden this month…..read more on our site.


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Reblooming Iris: Just can’t get enough! Ooo!

Best Best and Eternal Bliss (white) with Rudbeckia

These are for you, mom!
Best Best and Eternal Bliss (white) with Rudbeckia ©

Imagine yourself next summer, the heat of July warming your face as you gaze across your garden, colorful perennials dot the landscape… but you’re thinking back to springtime, May, when your glorious Iris were in full bloom. Nothing compares… But wait! Consider this: a second bloom season for Iris. Yes, reblooming Iris hold the promise of reliving the spring time bloom in the middle of summer!

Scanning the summer garden, speckled with the hues of phlox, cone flowers, daisies, lilies and the like, my heart skips a beat as I catch sight of a Tall Bearded Iris! A delightful surprise in the midst of the late summer bloomers. It’s one thing to take in the wash of color in a garden full of Iris at peak bloom in May; it’s quite another to find a lone flag, so seemingly out of time and place, among the rudbekia!

As with any gift of nature, there are caveats. Reblooming Iris, while so satisfying when they produce bloom in July, August, September and even into October, do not bloom on command. Their remontancy is dependent upon multiple factors: soil conditions, weather, gardening practices, to name a few. Rebloomers need extra fertilizing (low in nitrogen, 5-10-10) and water compared to their single-bloom cousins. The plant’s own genetics, of course, play a strong role as well. Varieties of Iris that rebloom consistently here in the Willamette Valley (here is a partial list) may exhibit different behavior in other locales. Just as there are varieties of Iris that do not bloom every year in the spring bloom season, so is the case with summer re-bloom.

But when it all comes together… Wow! These bonus blossoms just scream to be united with pink and red lilies, flounces of phlox, fist-fulls of Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) — anything blooming nearby. Rich summer bouquets can take shape before your eyes. Here are several of my favorites from a recent jaunt through the garden.

Autumn Jester (a Dwarf Iris) with Daisy

Autumn Jester (a Dwarf Iris) with Daisy ©

Pictured above a charming reblooming Dwarf Iris, Autumn Jester, cozies up to its little companion daisy. Wouldn’t this be lovely blooming among the snapdragons and pansies along a low summer border? Below, the pinks pack a punch. Peggy Sue mixes with the lovely lilies and echinacea for a sight so divine.

Peggy Sue with Lilies and Echinacea

Peggy Sue with Lilies and Echinacea ©

Pure As Gold and Immortality (white) with Daisies and Thistle

Pure As Gold and Immortality (white) with Daisies and Thistle ©

Pure As Gold mixes with Immortality, above, continuing the white-yellow theme carried by the daisies. The hosta leaf and blue thistles provide pleasing contrast to the bunch. “Cowslip” sneaks in a bit of summer informality….

Ominous Stranger with Cedar branches and Thistle

Ominous Stranger with Cedar branches and Thistle ©

Ominous Stranger, above, blends harmoniously with sprigs of cedar and blue thistles. Below, October Sky loves the phlox, verbena and hosta. Best Bet contrasts with rudbeckia.

October Sky (in vase) and Best Bet (on cloth) with Phlox, Verbena, Hosta and Rudbeckia

October Sky (in vase) with Phlox, Verbena, and Hosta;  Best Best (on cloth) with Rudbeckia ©

Selecting the varieties of reblooming Iris for your garden which will be successful in your area of the country (or the world), is a matter of trial and error. The rebloom is a bonus. At the very least, you will enjoy one season of bloom in the springtime. Give it a try!

The Reblooming Iris Society offers a plethora of information on the development and care of Iris that rebloom. Start with their page offering tips for growing rebloomers, then explore the greater site for more information.

Three Dwarf Iris arranged with Daisies: Blueberry Tart (left), Forever Blue (center), and Autumn Jester (right)

Three Dwarf Iris arranged with Daisies: Blueberry Tart (left), Forever Blue (center), and Autumn Jester (right) ©

Have you planted reblooming Iris in your garden? Tell us about your trials, errors and successes. Please include your geographic area as well.

P.S. And speaking of geographic area, take a look at our Iris order date cut-off map for information on the last date to order Iris to ship to your neck of the woods.

 

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