Iris a l’Orange

With certain heavily hybridized plants that people have been tinkering with for centuries, like irises, dahlias, and tulips, for instance, you only have to say Let there be orange, click the keys or fill in the catalogue order with your pen, and then forget all about it until orange erupts like Vesuvius in the garden in spring. (Iris was named for the Greek word for “rainbow.”)


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Which is apparently what I did when I ordered bearded iris last fall, probably sometime around Halloween, judging by the colors. I skipped tulips this year but ordered a few bearded iris even though their bloom period amounts to a very brief if ostentatious flyby. Dahlias bloom all summer but need as much water as farm animals. Bearded iris can take the hottest and driest of conditions, which is what I’ve got in spades. Their one big drawback is how fast they multiply, needing to be divided constantly for best bloom. The only time I ever worked on my horticultural certificate for a private party was splitting up enormous clumps of bearded iris for an elderly lady. Or maybe it was elderly iris for a bearded lady? Whatever the case, it was my last job in the field, other than installing plants in offices. And I’d rather work for the bearded lady than do that again.

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The other half of the order purchased under the influence of a Halloween moon, very black in bud.

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Maturing to a deep cabernet.

(Happy, joyous, boisterous Friday to us all.)


8 thoughts on “Iris a l’Orange

  1. I love those bearded Iris, but the spot is everything. They take up space , and not in an attractive way. I have taken to planting them inside the drip line of a couple of hybrid musk roses–the roses get huge and hide the clumps after bloom time is over.

  2. Your bearded iris are gorgeous and way ahead ours up north. We’re just coming out of daffodils and moving into tulips. I no longer grow them as they demand space to themselves with no competition so there’s just a lot of that foliage to look at for a lot of the summer. I swoon when I see them in other people’s gardens!

  3. Kathy, aren’t they annoying? Every so often I cave in though.
    Peter, who says bearded iris can’t be treated as annuals? 😉

  4. I adore Iris…I just can’t help myself…and I can always find someone to take the divisions! I’ve had to limit new purchases, however, to one a year during my annual visit to Schreiner’s Iris Garden…yikes…that’s net month!

  5. I like those rich colors, especially those frilly orangey yellows.

    I am catching up on blog reading, late to the party as usual, and it looks like comments are closed on your post about Steve Martino’s gardens (from late March). I just got back from a trip to Phoenix and was very fortunate to be given a tour of two of his gardens by the man himself. I’ll be posting about them very soon — just as soon as I can start editing the 1,100 photos I took in two days!

  6. I like the crazy cat lady when it comes to iris, always willing to take a stray home. An intervention will need to happen soon.

  7. Scott, don’t we all love them in spring — it’s what to do with them afterwards that gets complicated.
    Pam, I can’t wait for your posts. As an anti-spam move, I started closing the comments after 2 wks.
    Les I’m more crazy cat lady than crazy iris lady, but I know Marty would prefer the latter.
    Jane, for a pure blast of silky color, they can’t be beat.

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