Monday, March 11, 2013

The Glory of Irises

Irises are one of the best known and loved garden plants.  One of the earliest harbingers of Spring, the easy-to-grow perennial comes back year after year.

Irises come in a rainbow of colors, and in Greek mythology Iris was the Goddess of the Rainbow, and was the messenger of the Gods. The Greeks planted irises on women's graves in hope that the Goddess Iris would guide their souls to their final resting places.
The fleur-de-lis, one of the most well known of all symbols, is derived from the shape of the iris's three main petals, which are symbolic for Faith, Valor, and Wisdom.  The oldest iris symbolism comes from Egypt where the iris was a symbol for life.
Yellow Ruffles

A "flame" I found burning deep within the heart of a Purple Iris.

Elegance in White

Lavender Blue

Pretty in Pink!

A perfect little candle holder ...

Iris Growing Tips:   (By Doris Winton, a Master Judge for the American Iris Society)
  • Plant them in a sunny spot in late summer. The plants need well-drained soil and at least six hours of sunlight per day. 
  • Prepare their beds. Doris recommends a low-nitrogen fertilizer and a soil pH slightly less than 7, which is neutral. She applies a granular fertilizer twice a year -- in early spring and just after bloom when the rhizomes are forming the next year's flowers. Water only if it is extremely dry or after transplanting.
  • Give them room to breathe. Bearded iris require good air circulation. Plant them a minimum of 16 to 18 inches apart (less space for dwarf irises and more for taller varieties).
  • Do not mulch. Mulching retains moisture, and too much moisture will cause soft rot of the rhizomes.
  • Break off seedpods that form after the blooms have faded.This prevents seedlings from choking the surrounding soil. Seed formation also saps energy needed by the rhizomes, roots, and leaves.
  • Prune back the foliage in the falls. This will reduce the chances of overwintering pests and diseases.
  • Make dividing a habit. Divide clumps of bearded iris every three to four years in the late summer. 

The Ultimate Fleur-de-Lis ... God's!


Pat said...


I always LOVE your beautiful pictures. I especially like the old barn with the white irises.

This is good information to know about how to care for irises.

I am just getting ready to dig up some irises to share with a plant- exchange at the Garden Club and can include this "care of irises" information with each plant. Good timing ... Thanks for the information.

Pat in Tallahassee

Richard Cottrell said...

They are beautiful. Growing up on the farm we had hundreds of variety. My mother would trade with friends and we would stop at roadside graveyards and snitch a start, same goes for old falling down houses. I doubt we every bought a store bought bulb. I don't grow them now, as they take so much room for the few days of blooms. But I do admire them all about town. Thanks for sharing. Richard from My Old Historic House

Glenda said...

Exquisite beauties! I especially love the first photo with its contrasts!

racheld said...

That flame gets me every time, and now the magnificent fleur-de-lis and sconce!! Did you SEE those images before or after the snap?

I LOVE iris. And you certainly know how to "pick" them!

love and,