Irises forum: The question we've all been asked....

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Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jan 22, 2015 9:03 AM CST
As an Iris enthusiast, I have been asked the same question many times by new or non gardeners, that tends to make me giggle a bit while trying to answer. Usually, it goes something like this: "I have this Iris, maybe you can tell me what it is. It has green leaves, and purple flowers, what is it?"

Here is a bit of what is going through my mind:



Have you been asked this question?

"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
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
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jan 22, 2015 10:06 AM CST
in a word, yes. One time I had garden visitors from a garden club who were looking at the blooms and reading the names of the irises. One iris bed had markers that were faded and they could not read the names on them but I told them each irises name. It was my bed, my irises and I knew those names. One said to the other in a relieved tone, 'we don't have to mark our irises, she knows all their names. She can just come to our gardens and tell us our irises names.' OMG!
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
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
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jan 22, 2015 10:15 AM CST
There is another misconception passed down by gardeners who have 'heard it' from a real gardener so it must be true. If you plant two different colored irises close together the stronger iris color will influence the weaker iris color and they will all become the same color. In the beginning I tried to explain that perhaps a iris seed had fallen into the clumps or perhaps a much more aggressive rhizome of one iris had crowded out the lesser aggressive one. I still hear it. People who grow irises will say 'I am going to have to move the yellow ones away from the white ones or they will all be yellow in a few years. Unless I am speaking to a group I don't say anything anymore.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jan 22, 2015 10:17 AM CST
Yep, I've attempted that explanation before too. I don't try very often any more, some folks don't like hearing that grandma was mistaken LOL.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Jan 22, 2015 1:11 PM CST
I've heard that one too, or some will say, I used to have lots of colors, but they all reverted back to purple.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jan 22, 2015 1:14 PM CST
Sometimes in that situation one has simply stopped blooming, probably due to overcrowding. There have been times I've divided a group, thinking they were all the same, only to find unexpected surprises the next year.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
Jan 22, 2015 3:34 PM CST
'I grow irises' --'oh, the yellow one or the purple one'? I am sure that you all have had that conversation.

The legend of 'reverting' happens in other plants as well. It seem strange that people know that there are different roses. a better job of education.
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
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jan 22, 2015 3:48 PM CST
Yes, Lucy, I have heard that one too. 'I have THE yellow one but she has THE purple one. Now I am going to the THE white one and I will have them all.' And when one lady saw the dwarf irises she said 'Aw, what happened to your lovely irises? They are so stunted.' I explained that they were dwarf irises and that I bought them like that she said. 'Oh' with a funny look that actually said - why would anyone do that. LOL
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Jan 22, 2015 3:53 PM CST
Hilarious! Hilarious!
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
Jan 22, 2015 4:29 PM CST
I am sure that iris clubs try to educate. Needs big newspaper articles.
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Jan 22, 2015 5:49 PM CST
When I was out in my garden this year, on more than one occasion I had people stop and ask if they were daylillies. I guess people don't grow irises enough around here. Hilarious!
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
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
Jan 22, 2015 6:58 PM CST
Daylilies? Omigosh................... Confused
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
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
Jan 22, 2015 7:09 PM CST
This goes along with the purple/yellow misconception. In response to the photos I post on FB, It's hear, "I had no idea they came in so many colors".
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.
South central PA (Zone 6a)
Irises Region: Pennsylvania
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DaveinPA
Jan 23, 2015 8:42 AM CST
These uneducated ones must be the same people who label those sold in the big box stores and some other places! Also found that many don't really want to know the truth about grandma or someone else. "Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up."

Love your friend in the avatar Sherry.
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
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jan 23, 2015 10:29 AM CST
Funny, Dave. I can just see the labelers now 'uh, yellow iris, why do they want us to write some silly stuff on it for a name? I'll just go with this short name for the whole batch.' LOL

I learned a long time ago that Granny smarts were based partly on experience and learned practices and a lot on superstition...... here is one I heard as a girl. To get rid of warts, steal a dirty dish cloth, take it outside by the light of the moon, find the stump of an ash tree and bury it on the north side of the stump, circle the stump three times...... a very good thing I did not get warts or my Mama would have been really perplexed over her missing dish cloths.... each one embroidered and crocheted with lace edgings.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Jan 23, 2015 10:32 AM CST
Too funny, Bonnie! Rolling on the floor laughing
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hummingbirder Plant Identifier
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Zencat
Jan 23, 2015 9:26 PM CST
I get asked that question, too! Lol I think my neighbors are a bit odd.

"I have this flower that was here when we moved in. (Shows me iris flower) It isn't the same color as yours so it isn't an iris, right?" Uhmmm...

The other I get asked is "What's that?" So many of my neighbors (poor souls) don't know what they have. I'll be weeding or planting in the backyard and they come right on back with this poor withered thing and want me to tell them what they did wrong. Sigh...
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
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jan 24, 2015 5:35 AM CST
So many people my age, or nearly, have said 'Pink iris? How did you make your iris turn pink?' ????
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
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
Image
Muddymitts
Jan 24, 2015 7:39 AM CST
OMG Bonnie...........................
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
gemini_sage
Jan 24, 2015 7:41 AM CST
I know how I'd answer that! "I tell 'em dirty jokes, that makes 'em blush" Rolling on the floor laughing
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi

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