Monday, October 31, 2016

"Talking Irises" TALL BEARDED IRISES: IN FULL BLOOM--A Wonderful Combination of Color and Form

By Susanne Holland Spicker

         Spring 2016  "In Full Bloom"

(Tall bearded irises l to r) 'EVER AFTER' (Keppel '86),  'MONTMARTRE' (Keppel '08), 'RANCHO ROSE' (Gibson '75), 'NEW LEAF' (Ghio '97), 'EPICENTER' (Ghio '94), 'ARTIST'S TIME' (Schreiner '74), (Back, l to r) 'BOLD EXPRESSION' (Ernst '03), 'ARTISTIC WEB' (Tasco '10), 'CITY LIGHTS' (Dunn '91) 

From mid-May through mid-June, a wonderful combination of color and form unfolds in my zone 6 flower beds. Tall bearded irises are in full bloom, and with companion plants that coincide with their bloom, the gardens are a sea of color for more than a month. It is my favorite time of the year!

(Tall bearded irises, from top l) 'EVER AFTER' (Keppel '86), (Group photo, l to r) 'CHINESE TREASURE' (Blyth '83), 'POND LILY' (Jones '95), 'DATE BAIT' (Meek '85), 'CUPID'S ARROW' (Ghio '90), 'RINGO' (Shoop '79), 'JENNIFER REBECCA' (Zurbrigg '85), 'RASPBERRY WINE' (Schreiner '01), (top r) 'QUEEN'S RANSOM' (Van Liere '12), 
(2nd row) 'NIGERIAN RASPBERRY' (Kasperek '95), 'WEARING RUBIES' (Blyth '00), '00)(Bottom r) 'ROLE MODEL' (Denny '88), 'QUEEN IN CALICO' (Gibson '80)

(Tall bearded irises top l to r) 'DEEP CURRENTS' (Johnson '09), 'OXFORD COUNTESS' (Blyth '07), (background) 'MING LORD' (Blyth '06), 'LENTEN PRAYER' (Schreiner '98), (Bottom l to r) 'PLUM PRETTY WHISKERS' (Spoon '03), 'ARTIST'S TIME' (Schreiner '74), 'EMBRACE ME' (Van Liere '08)

Tall bearded irises are spring's "universal companion plant" because of the plethora of colors and color combinations these "queens-of-the-garden" have. I have found there are several of these tall beauties to go with any perennial I have, or can even think of. The combinations are endless! I always keep my eye out for perennials that not only go well with the irises, but ones that bloom at the same time, with similar light, water, and fertilization requirements.

(Tall bearded irises top l to r) 'BUBBLING WAVES' (Ghio '06), 'GLOBAL CROSSING' (Van Liere '12), 'BY DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT' (Van Liere '12), 'PROUD TRADITION' (Schreiner '90), 'BUBBLING OVER' (Ghio '92), 'EMBRACE ME' (Van Liere '08), 'CLASSIC LOOK' (Schreiner '92), 'CROWNED HEADS' (Keppel '97), 'CITY LIGHTS' (Dunn '91)

(Tall bearded irises l to r) 'HAPPENSTANCE' (Keppel '00), 'SWEET
SERENADE' (Schreiner '11), 'ASCII ART' (Moores '97), 'HEATHERIDGE' (Gatty '85), 'BUBBLING OVER' (Ghio '92), 'WINNING EDGE' (Ghio '97)

(Tall bearded irises top l to r) 'DESIGNER LABEL' (Ghio '03), 'LACED COTTON (Schreiner '80), 'ELISA RENEE (Gaulter '83), 'SLY FOX' (Wood '97)

(Tall bearded irises l to r) 'BOLD EXPRESSION' (Ernst '03), 'MAGHAREE' (Blyth '86),'PURPLE SERENADE' (Schreiner '05)

Someone once said there was "nothing more heaven-like than a field full of irises." I echo that sentiment.  As spring approaches, the anticipation of the beauty that unfolds is indescribable! I look forward to the gardens when "in full bloom."

(Tall bearded irises front to back) 'GARDEN BRIDE' (Chapman '98), 'FABULOUS ONE' (Nicodemus '06), 'FANCY STUFF' (Brown '01), 'BOLD EXPRESSION' (Ernst '03), 'PURPLE SERENADE' (Schreiner '05), 'CHAMPAGNE ELEGANCE' (Niswonger '87), 'MIDNIGHT REVELRY' (Schreiner '05), 'LATIN LOVER' (Shoop '69)

Do you have a favorite iris bed?  Are there combinations of companion plants, or irises that go well together that you have planted that have wonderful combinations of color and form?
I would love to hear from you--I'm always interested in what others are doing in their iris gardens!