Monday, December 11, 2017

"Talking Irises" LOOKING FORWARD TO SPRING - Tall Bearded Irises With Spring Companion Plants

By Susanne Holland Spicker

I love experimenting with different color combinations in the beds. By combining a variety of companion plants, as well as complimentary, or harmonious combinations of tall bearded irises, the beds provide a nice palette of color, as well as a long bloom season by using early, mid and late bloomers that flower at the same time as other perennials in the gardens. The beds are always a work in progress--I evaluate my beds each year at this time and make changes where I want to replace older varieties with newer iris hybrids or add any favorites from my long "wish list." 

I love the colors in this yellow, pink and blue bed: Tall bearded irises 'Skywalker' (Schreiner '96), 'Tulip Festival' (Clough '75), 'Edith Wolford' (Hager '86), 'Aegean Wind' (Schreiner '08), and 'Out of the Blues' (Van Liere '10) with companion plants Singing in the Rain Itoh peony, assorted lupine, hybrid tea rose New Day, clematis Josephine, assorted pansies and petunias, and herbaceous peony Mons. Jules Ellie.

Striking colors of tall bearded irises and companion plants: 'Salzburg Echo' (Schreiner '09), 'Spiced Custard' (Weiler '87), 'Supreme Sultan' (Schreiner '88), 'Dazzling Gold' (Anderson '81),  'Taco Supreme' (Ernst '87),  'Throb' (Weiler '91),  'Flamenco' (Keppel '77), 'Mulled Wine' (Keppel '02),  and 'Tiger Honey' (Kasperek '94), with companion plants early gladiola, lupine, daylily Bela Lugosi and various daylilies and Harlem poppy.

Bold and beautiful!  Tall bearded irises 'Bold Expression' (Ernst '03), 'Dreamcake' (Ernst '02), 'Close Up' (Tompkins '02),  and 'Ringo' (Shoop '79) with companion plants rosy purple pulsatilla, Caribbean Crush verbascum, Fascination hybrid tea rose,  poppy Queen Alexander, America climbing rose, and lilac.

A favorite bed of subtle yellows and blues: Tall bearded irises 'Good Hope' (Moldovan '69), 'Absolute Treasure' (Tasco '06), 'Grecian Skies' (Brown '84), 'Edith Wolford' (Hager '86), 'Bertwistle' (Innerst '90), 'Lavender Luck' (Ernst '88), 'Wedding Candles' (Schreiner '82) and 'On Edge' (Schreiner '86), with companion plants assorted pansies, Blue Star columbine, yellow, blue and white lupine, Crystal Fountain clematis, dwarf Snow Lady daisy, Konigskind clematis, tradescantia, High Noon tree peony, Silver Beauty Dutch iris, and hybrid tea rose Sunblest.

This bed always stands out: Tall bearded irises 'Aristocracy' (Keppel '06), 'Artist's Time' (Schreiner '74), 'Ever After' (Keppel '86), and 'Bubbling Over' (Ghio '92),  with companion plants Elisabeth variegated phlox, pansies, single late tulip Don Quixote, heartleaf bergenia, Jacob's Ladder, bleeding heart, and assorted pansies.

I love these rose and apricot colors together: Tall bearded irises 'Discretion' (Boushay '78), 'Naples' (Johnson '01), 'Mystic's Muse' (Schreiner '93), 'Magharee' (Blyth '86), 'Aphrodisiac' (Schreiner '86), and 'Role Model' (Denny '88), with companion plants assorted lupine, and Itoh peony Singing In The Rain.

Do you like experimenting with your flower beds? What are some of your favorite combinations?  I'd love to hear from you!

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