Thursday, May 19, 2016

No Pictures, just TIPS and TERMS

There's no cultivar blooming for the first time today so I took the opportunity to simply record the state of about 1/4 of my my cultivars.  At the end of the of the season I will use these reference images to record growth, bloom time and growth.  Some are very healthy, but not not showing buds, others are not showing much increase.  Some are loaded with buds about to burst. So stay tuned.

During the lull I thought I would share some basics of growing irises and some of the the terms that I use in my blog.

These are the most important rules to follow for MOST iris.

1) Irises must be planted right at the surface of the ground.  The top of the rhizome should be exposed.  They are not bulbs. If you plant them completely covered you will get poor results at best and at worst the will not survive.

2) Don't mulch over iris.  The need sun to keep them dry enough so that they do not become soggy and rot.

3) Irises need good drainage they like moderate to light water and they don't like their feet wet. In my yard irises grow best at the crest of a hill and on a slope.

4) Irises need FULL SUN.  This is defined as at least 6 hours of sun a day.  They my grow with less but will not bloom.

There's a lot more to know but with these basic rules you will have success with most irises,

There are varieties that need less water (aril) or more water (Japanese and Louisiana) but most folks grow bearded iris or Siberian iris.

You will see these codes in my reference to beaded iris:

MDB - Miniature Dwarf Bearded - Shorter than 8", first to bloom.

SDB - Standard Dwarf Bearded - 8" to 15", next to to bloom.

IB - Intermediate Bearded - 15" to 27". bloom overlaps SDB to TB.

MTB - Miniature Tall Bearded - 15" to 27", to my eye this is what the names says: A TB run through a shrink ray.  The botton petals, or falls, are usually horizontal.  bloom overlaps SDB to TB.

BB - Border Bearded - 15" to 27" - These bloom with TBs but are shorter and make great borders, hence the name.

Median - Collectively SDB, IB, MTB, BB.  They are middle sized and becoming much more popular.  They are general easier to draw and withstand more severe weather.

TB - Tall Bearded - 28" and up (can be 40" or taller)  This is what most people think of when they think of iris.  They are spectacular.  They often must be staked especially the taller ones and a windy day or a rainstorm can bring them to rapid end.  The best are bred to have a sturdy stalk and petals with substance.

Whatever iris(es) you grow, they are the one flower with the broadest range of color and variety of pattern. Their bloom season is not long, but to most of us who love them, their ephemeral nature make them all the more beautiful and rewarding.

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