Irises forum: Bearded Irises

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Name: John
St.Osyth Nr Clacton on Sea. E
Region: United Kingdom Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Master Level Ferns Butterflies Salvias
Hostas Heucheras Clematis Birds Bee Lover Daylilies
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midnight21
Jun 4, 2014 9:31 AM CST

Their main problem for me is the short flowering period, but while they are in bloom, I think they're hard to beat for the wonderful range of colour. In fact, the genus was named after Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow. Bearded iris is only one subdivision of the iris genus. But why are they called bearded? Their flowers are described according to the colour of their standards and faIls. Each flower usually has three faIls, (which are the pendant petals) and three standards (the erect petals). The beard is the tuft of hairs on each of the fails and as this isn't present in all irises, the ones that feature it are known as bearded. The bearded iris cultivars we see in gardens today are the result of much breeding work over the past 200 years. Even so, they mostly have one common ancestor Iris germanica. This is a purple flowered species from Europe and the near east. In the early 1800s, to produce a range of other colours, Iris germanica was being crossed with two other European species, Iris pallida with its pale lilac blue flowers and Iris variegata with its yellow standards and white fails with dark brown markings. Then in the 1890s a new range of species was introduced into breeding programmes, tetraploid irises, which were bigger plants with bigger flowers. American breeders have used these extensively and the results are what we see today. Breeders have also used small¬ growing species to produce dwarf bearded iris and there is now a whole spectrum of colours and sizes. Bearded iris are hardy perennials. The leaves are generally greyish green and grow in a flat fan shape from the rhizome. Some are very tolerant of poor growing conditions but they thrive best in full sun in well drained, slightly alkaline soil that is fairly rich in organic matter. They generally flower in late spring or early summer, producing their display of flowers for just a few short weeks. However, there are some varieties, that flower again in late summer. After flowering they should be quickly deadheaded so all the plant's energy is directed into growing the new rhizomes for next year. Bearded irises are sun worshippers and they need a good baking during the growing season to ripen the rhizomes. Plant them in open patches, in full sun and with their rhizomes showing on the soil surface. If the rhizomes don't see the sun, they won't ripen enough to flower the following year. Irises also won't flower very well if the rhizomes are overcrowded, particularly if they have started to grow on top of each other. The best solution is to lift the whole clump and divide it into individual rhizomes, each with a growing point, using a knife, if necessary, to slice them apart. These can then be replanted, each being given more room than before. This job is best done in August. To compensate for the initial shock of division and to prevent the plants rocking in the soil before the roots have re established, the leaves should be cut back by at least a half. Finally to give you something to look for I have compiled a few named varieties. I don't how available these are in the USA. First of all is Iris 'Florentina' which has scented white flowers with a yellow beard. Then there is the sky blue flowers of ‘Jane Phillips' and 'Tarn Hows' which is rusty brown. 'Black Swan' has dark purple flowers, and in contrast there are the pure white flowers of 'Cliffs of Dover'. 'I Do' has white flowers with a hint of green veining on the falls while 'Lovely Again' has lavender pink flowers with a yellow beard.
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
Bulbs Foliage Fan Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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Henhouse
Jun 4, 2014 11:24 AM CST
Would love to see some pictures of the ones you mentioned at the end of your article.
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Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
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grannysgarden
Jun 4, 2014 11:44 AM CST
I would like to see the photos as well. Are you a hybridizer, John or just someone who appreciates their beautiful blooms and foliage?
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Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Jun 4, 2014 11:48 AM CST
Very interesting article! I've seen most of the ones you mentioned listed "over here', in various iris vendors' catalogs. Cliffs Of Dover was one of my Mother's favorites, and it's one I also grow:
Thumb of 2014-06-04/crowrita1/a77f0a
..................I, too wished they had a longer season, but we can extend our season with the re-blooming sorts. Are there any re-bloomers grown in England ?............Arlyn
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
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irisarian
Jun 4, 2014 2:07 PM CST
'bearded' as opposed to 'beardless'. The fuzzy object on each fall.
Name: John
St.Osyth Nr Clacton on Sea. E
Region: United Kingdom Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Master Level Ferns Butterflies Salvias
Hostas Heucheras Clematis Birds Bee Lover Daylilies
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midnight21
Jun 4, 2014 3:28 PM CST
To answer a couple of your questions. I just love all plants and try to fit a few in. My main plant is fuchsias, of which I grow and hybridize. (I have details on other parts of the forum about these). I do write quite a few articles on different plants, and do talks to clubs and societies over here. I will try to find a couple of pictures, But I don't hold much hope. I live in a village a few miles outside the seaside town of Clacton on Sea. Essex, about a mile from the beach, so the climate is not too cold in winter, and not too hot in summer, usually, but we do get variations. I put out a lot of tropical and sub tropical plants in the summer, along with around 100 varieties of fuchsias, with many other plants mixed in. I will try to take and post some photo's of my garden ASAP. Anyway will close for now, as it's getting late here now and bedtime beckons. Hope to chat another time.

Regards from the other side of the pond

John
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
Jun 4, 2014 4:00 PM CST
I often hear comments about the short bloom season of iris. I have had bearded iris in bloom for over 2 months now, achieved by planting the different classes in different locations.....micro-climates . As to short bloom season what about tulips, daffodils, peonies, lilacs, foxglove, basket of gold, creeping phlox,etc. etc. etc.........many perennials.....
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: John
St.Osyth Nr Clacton on Sea. E
Region: United Kingdom Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Master Level Ferns Butterflies Salvias
Hostas Heucheras Clematis Birds Bee Lover Daylilies
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midnight21
Jun 5, 2014 3:00 AM CST
Morning All (Well it is here). Have found a picture of Iris "Jane Phillips", although not a good one.
Thumb of 2014-06-05/midnight21/0390af

Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Jun 5, 2014 4:55 AM CST
I am not a super fan of iris's, as of yet anyway. I just placed an order for some, but I did buy a set of 3 last year because my daughter likes black flowers. I kept 2 and gave her 1. It bloomed for the first time yesterday. It is called Black is Black. I think I like it Smiling


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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
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tveguy3
Jun 5, 2014 6:18 AM CST
Nice black one!
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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Jun 5, 2014 6:21 AM CST
Thanks!!! It's funny because it is much blacker in my garden than in my daughter's. She lives about an hour's drive north of me and it looks more purple in her garden.
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Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Jun 5, 2014 6:28 AM CST
I guess I should say Welcome! to both of you, Cindy, and John! Stick around here very long, and one iris will turn into 100 Sticking tongue out . There is ALWAYS room for another!!..Arlyn
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Jun 5, 2014 6:30 AM CST
Thanks Arlyn. Oh gosh, I would have to start getting rid of daylilies to make room for 100, LOL. I have 250 daylilies. I really need to downsize badly.
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Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
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PollyK
Jun 5, 2014 8:25 AM CST
Welcome! Cindy and John. I recognize Cindy from Daves Garden (I think).
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Jun 5, 2014 11:21 AM CST
Oh yes, thanks PollyK. I am not there that much anymore. I am mainly here in the daylilies forum.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: John
St.Osyth Nr Clacton on Sea. E
Region: United Kingdom Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Master Level Ferns Butterflies Salvias
Hostas Heucheras Clematis Birds Bee Lover Daylilies
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midnight21
Jun 5, 2014 12:26 PM CST
Thanks for the welcome I tip my hat to you. I'm afraid I don't like black flowers of any kind. I love anything that slams you in the face with colour. With the weather we get in England, we need them.
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Jun 5, 2014 2:14 PM CST
I am not that crazy about black flowers either John. I had bought it for my daughter who likes everything black and the minumum order was for 3. So I kept 2 and gave her one. My other daughter will get one too in the fall. She is getting married the end of the month and will be moving out into her own place.
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Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Muddymitts
Jun 5, 2014 6:34 PM CST
I like 'em all! Correction -- I LOVE 'em all!!! Lovey dubby
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Ken
Traverse City, Michigan (Zone 5a)
Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Michigan Irises Daylilies
Region: United States of America Cat Lover
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bramedog
Jun 5, 2014 6:53 PM CST
I agree Thumbs up
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Muddymitts
Jun 5, 2014 8:13 PM CST
You 'n me, Ken!!! Thumbs up Thumbs up
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])

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