I got my first iris many years ago from an online garden buddy. I had some hellebores that I had found on a garden heap in the neighborhood but I never got what was so special about these things, boring plants, but I knew others liked them and some even collect them so I thought I’d ask to see if anyone wanted them before I threw them out myself (I always bring things back home that I don’t actually want but it’s not my fault that so many people throw things around here, I can’t just let the plants die can I? I have started to leave the daffodils now because I have no space for them.) Someone wanted them and I got my first iris germanica (and sibirica but that’s another story).
At some point in life, possibly I had bought a dried up rhizom as a child with my mom and it had never grown but I was thinking that these were difficult plants but they were free so I shoved them down and didn’t think more of it.
They bloomed the year after I planted them, lemon yellow, they were pretty boring and I ignored them a little and focused on other parts of the garden that I felt were more of a priority. But over the years they just got bigger and better, still yellow and that’s not really my color but the lilies started to get eaten by lily beetles, the roses were eaten by deer and bugs, the apples had pests, dahlias slaughtered by slugs but the iris remained, claiming a larger territory in the garden.
Sure the bloom for a short period of time but the foliage isn’t that bad, my garden isn’t very exciting and even less so back then so they looked pretty exotic standing there, giving some structure to the place. I’m still pretty focused on flowers and forget about foliage and bushes but you do need them to for structure and I need more of this in my garden.
Looking around I was falling more and more of these tall beauties and if you google you will not just get beautiful pictures of irises but also lovely impressionist painting because those guys had fallen for this flower as well.
I need more and I think this could be one of those plants that I start to collect. I got two new ones last year. “Immortality” which is a white one and said to be a reblooming one and scented, won’t find out if that’s true this year because there’s no buds.
The other one I got was “Black Swan”, a dark purple one which looks like a black lobster claw as a bud. In bloom the flower is really big and flashy (even if my picture doesn’t do it justice). The stem is a little short but I think he will grow taller over the years, he looks a little like a dwarf variety at this point.
My lemon yellow one I planted in some sandy soil without the rhizomes being slightly exposed which is the way they should be planted. I planted them next to a big clump of miscanthus x giganteus, which isn’t the best place but the iris doesn’t seem to care about being in the shade and even gave the grass a fight for space, it was not fun trying to divide the iris as he was standing upon the mass that is giant miscanthus.
The new irises are planted in full sun and sandy soil, the rhizomes slight exposed and there’s some space for them to grow and I can easily divide them in a few years without bring and axe to get to them.
I will need more of these, a lot more.