Irises forum: Newbie planning an iris bed

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Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
May 8, 2019 2:23 PM CST
I'm late, but Welcome! Julie.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Los Altos, CA (Zone 9b)
Irises
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AndreaD
May 8, 2019 2:23 PM CST
DaisyDo, What a sweetheart your hubby is. And kudos for having the feral cats neutered. Are there coyotes in Maryland? I always think of them as a Western creature.
[Last edited by AndreaD - May 8, 2019 2:25 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
May 8, 2019 3:26 PM CST
Yes, neutered, vaccinated and de-fleaed.

As for coyotes, I have heard of rare sightings of them here in the east: NY, NJ, RI, MA, FL, DE, and yes, MD, too. But rare. They eat fawns, and I've heard they'll eat ground hog, too. So I wouldn't be surprised if we start having more coyote sightings as these prey species over-populate. We already have foxes. We used to have rabbits, too, but I suspect the feral cats and foxes have done away with them. It used to be that I couldn't plant any edging lobelia because of the rabbits scarfing it down. Now I can't plant anything at all that is non-toxic because of the deer and groundhogs.
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
May 10, 2019 5:47 PM CST
I'm sorry for your suffering, Daisy. It sure sounds like you have it bad. Crying

Re fencing, I don't know if your neighborhood (or your pocketbook) would be accepting of a black wrought iron fence. That is what most of our fencing is (in front and at the house sides). It looks much prettier than chain link fencing and lets light in just fine.

However, to be certain to keep the deer out, you might also have to stretch some wires across the length of the fence, on top of it, to give it the necessary height. That doesn't look quite as good as a pure wrought iron fence only, but it is something that others have done in our neighborhood. (Our wrought iron fencing is somewhere around 5-5.5'. In places where we know the deer came in, we either have plastic mesh deer fencing to 8' or so tall, or else chain link fencing, with or without extra wires across/on top, but to over 7 ft tall. These are generally not in publicly visible places though - they are either along the creek bank (the creek cuts through the middle of our property) or along our back property line.)

Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
May 10, 2019 6:26 PM CST
Unfortunately, our whole yard is too publicly visible for that. And we have community rules on top of county regulations. Thanks for the ideas, though. I have even thought of using monofilament, which is supposed to startle the deer enough to keep them out. But I think it would pose obstacles for the men we pay to mow and weedwhack.
Name: Janet
Merriam, KS (KC area) (Zone 6a)
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jkwgardener
May 11, 2019 7:44 AM CST
Julie, I'm unfamiliar with the particular iris you're planting and I've never purchased from that vendor. Since I belong to the Greater KC Iris Society, most of my iris come from their Iris Auction or Iris Sale; also, since I volunteer at the Arboretum and Botanical Garden, one of the staff occasionally gives me irises when they are thinned. So I'm blessed in that regard. I now have about 30-40 named iris in addition to a few I had previously--that are beautiful but for which I don't have names.
As a Master Gardener, I mentioned to our Horticulturalist that I was beginning an Iris Garden; he frowned. I think that's because many iris gardens--as has been said--are boring after the iris flower. I didn't want that to happen so one of the things I did was plant other perennials among the iris. I chose some salvia which tend to be long-blooming; I also planted different varieties of sedum as they don't overpower the iris but do fill in nicely in the in-between spaces. I also have a geum in that garden. Overall, my garden looks quite well. The difficulty I have with some of the plants that were suggested is that they are primarily for shade and iris want sun. I realize they can handle SOME shade, but "some" is the operable word. I don't find they like too much shade and brunnera, astilbe, hosta, etc. are shade-loving plants.
Hope all goes well with your choices; I'm sure they will thrive if given the right conditions. You and I are in essentially the same zone and about half of my iris are blooming now. Some I only planted last year so it may be another year before they put on their show. Patience is a necessary attribute to have in gardening, I've learned.



Name: Nancy
North Dakota (Zone 4a)
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comgoddess
May 11, 2019 1:00 PM CST
DaisyDo said:Here's another, taken from the other side of the tool shed, with the irises in the background and the peonies in the foreground. These to peonies are Krinkled White on the left, and White Cap on the right. I highly recommend them to go with your peonies.


Thumb of 2019-05-06/DaisyDo/f600de



That White Cap Peony is breathtaking and your gardens are beautiful in spite of your critter problems.
Name: daphne
san diego county, ca (Zone 10a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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shizen
May 11, 2019 3:04 PM CST
welcome janet, great to see you posting in the iris forum. new posters add more breadth to this forum, and it's great to hear their experiences. Welcome! Thank You!
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Irises Garden Photography Cat Lover Seed Starter
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Totally_Amazing
May 11, 2019 4:14 PM CST
Welcome! Janet.
Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
May 11, 2019 4:22 PM CST
Another Welcome! Janet.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
May 11, 2019 5:02 PM CST
Nancy, that's an old picture, taken before the critter explosion, but thankfully the deer and groundhogs don't eat the peonies and iris - just everything else!

Welcome! Janet!
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Garden Procrastinator Irises Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: California
Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals Seed Starter
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evelyninthegarden
May 11, 2019 10:19 PM CST
Janet ~ Welcome! yo the Iris Forum! Hurray!
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Lilli
Lundby, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
May 12, 2019 9:18 AM CST
Welcome! to the Iris Forum Julie and Janet. Hurray!

Julie, you can find more about companion planting in these older threads:
The thread "Irises in the mixed garden- combos, companion plants, design ideas, culture" in Irises forum

UndertheSun said:Here's some past threads where this has been discussed before.
The thread "Companion planting" in Irises forum
The thread "Companions with Iris" in Irises forum

Susanne Spicker (World of Irises) has some great blogs on companion/color combo plantings.
https://theamericanirissociety...


I grow all of my irises (except seedlings and newly bought ones) in mixed beds and borders. I try to stick to these two general rules when picking companion plants for my irises:
1) Companion plants that have the same needs as irises, i.e. full sun, well-drained soil etc. make my garden life much easier.
2) Low and slow-growing plants are better than tall and spreading ones. Irises do not like to be crowded or shaded by other plants.
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Eddie Raye Andrews
Texas (Zone 8b)
Roses Daylilies Region: Texas
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dera
May 12, 2019 12:32 PM CST
Have a question. I grow tall bearded iris that were my mother's. I live in SE Texas just 40 miles west of Houston. My question is when do you thin and do you need to. I am basically a daylily garden, but have lots of other plants in the beds.
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Irises Garden Photography Cat Lover Seed Starter
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Totally_Amazing
May 12, 2019 4:18 PM CST
I divide mine if there isn't much space between the rhizomes to encourage new growth or if the mother rhizomes (the ones that will produce a flower) have grown too far apart and the clump is spread out too much. If a clump needs thinning and you neglect it, the number of blooms may be reduced.

This is the American Iris Society advice about growing and dividing irises
https://www.irises.org/About_I...

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