Monday, August 18, 2014

COLOR COORDINATING YOUR IRIS BEDS WITH OTHER IRISES


Susanne Holland Spicker

In the past when planning my beds, I always organized them with a specific color or colors in mind, with a few favorite irises, then added an assortment of several perennial plants that coordinated with, or enhanced the bed.The past several years, however, my passion for tall bearded irises has increased and I have planted additional irises that coordinate with each other, adding several to the beds. The upside is that this past season the beds were a glorious array of coordinating colors! The downside to adding more irises is that division must be done every 2-3 years in my beds because of closer planting. I still have companion plants of every kind, but the number of irises now outnumber the other perennials.

(l - r) 'PHOTOGENIC', 'ARISTOCRACY', and 'SOUTHERN MORNING'
(l -r) 'CHAMPAGNE ELEGANCE', 'MASTER TOUCH', 'LATIN LOVER', 
'GAY PARASOL', 'HEATHER CLOUD', 'MIDNIGHT REVELRY', 'GITANO', 
and 'POEM OF ECSTASY'

I have recently added some new irises to this bed.  The collage shows how I organize the iris in color schemes that are pleasing to the eye.  I've added ''CENTER ICE' and 'LIMERANCE' this year to this favorite garden bed.   I also moved two irises into different beds where I thought they would look better and to make room for new ones.  That's the great thing about irises-- they are so easy to move around. 

(R1) 'LOUISA'S SONG', 'MIDNIGHT REVELRY', 'POEM OF ECSTASY', 'JUMP
FOR JOY', 'GITANO' (R2) 'FLORENTINE SILK', 'CENTER ICE', 'GAY 
PARASOL', 'PLANNED TREASURE', 'ELLA LEEUW VAN LIERE' 
(R3)'LIMERANCE','PARISIAN DAWN', 'FEATURE ATTRACTION',
'PHOTOGENIC', and 'ARISTOCRACY'


Another bed that got revamped this year is a striking combination of red/buff/gold:
Collage showing partial view of a previous iris bed. 'BEWILDERBEAST', 'TIMELESS MOMENT', 'RED SKIES', 'DRAMA QUEEN' and 'COFFEE WHISPERS'
For example, this bed consisting of 10 irises will now have 15 next year, as shown in the new collage. 


(R1) 'ACTION PACKED', 'MIDNIGHT OIL', 'COFFEE TRADER', 'GNUS
 FLASH', 'COFFEE WHISPERS' (R2) 'DRAMA QUEEN', 'TORONTO', 
'RED SKIES', 'TIMELESS  MOMENT', 'BEWILDERBEAST' 
(R3) 'KATHY CHILTON', 'GOLDEN PANTHER','FLAMENCO',      
'DYNAMITE', and 'DECADENCE'


In choosing irises, I regularly pour over commercial catalogs, both printed and online. I also utilize the AIS wiki, a comprehensive encyclopedia of every iris that has been introduced.  Most have multiple pictures, and all the information regarding the cultivar is listed as well. I also enjoy viewing photos of irises in several groups on facebook; two being Iris Lovers and Iris Growers and Traders.

As far as my collages, when I have a new iris that I've just planted and it hasn't bloomed, I try to get a picture in a garden so I can take my own photo. When unable to do so, I use those photos only in my personal files, then replace my own picture when the iris has bloomed.

Making changes is easy with the collage. This bed has several new cultivars, and promises to be a favorite next year. 

Above: 'QUEEN IN CALICO', 'LENTEN PRAYER', and 'WINE AND ROSES'

Below: (l to r) 'EPICENTER', 'MONTMARTRE', 'NAPLES', 'NEW LEAF', 

'ARTIST'S TIME', and 'WEARING RUBIES'

The collage shows additions and changes made in the bed. 
(R 1) 'GLITTERATI', 'CRIMSON SNOW', 'AUTUMN LEAVES',
 'AMPLE CHARM', and 'GIGOLO' (R 2) 'MONTMARTRE', 
'GLAMAZON', 'EPICENTER', 'ARTIST'S TIME'and 
'CHERRY BLOSSOM SONG' (R 3) 'SPECTACULAR BID', 
'EVER AFTER', 'NEW LEAF', 'BARCELONA' and 'NAPLES'



Because there are so many tall bearded irises to choose from, mixing, and coming up with harmonious color schemes is an easy task. The hardest part is choosing from the thousands of irises that have been hybridized over the years, with every year hundreds more being introduced. Making a collage has helped make this process much easier for me.

Do you coordinate your iris beds? What color combinations do you like in them? What has worked for you in planning out your beds? I'd love to hear from you! 




(NOTE:These pictures 
should not be shared publicly without the consent 
of the photographer.Thank you fellow Iris lovers for the use of 'COFFEE 
TRADER', 'TORONTO', 'CENTER ICE', 'LIMERANCE' and 'KATHY CHILTON' photos).

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