Irises forum→Garden help and ideas

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Name: Kim. hnybee09
Jamestown NC (Zone 7b)
Irises
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hnybee09
May 17, 2020 8:06 AM CST
Good Morning all, Happy Sunday! I need some help with ideas for other plants for my Iris bed. I am looking for other flowering plants that will play nice with Iris and bloom when the Iris are not. However, I really would rather not have plants that will spread like crazy and crowd my Iris. I had Black Eyed Susan in this area previously and they spread like crazy. Any help would be much appreciated, just looking to have some color all season.
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Peonies
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
May 17, 2020 5:38 PM CST
Wish I could help you Kim, but I really don't have other plants in with my iris. I have peonies that bloom along with the iris. For after iris bloom I have sections of garden with lantana (that blooms continuously for months here) and canna that are always in bloom until October or so. The canna spread slowly and start coming up after the iris are mostly done blooming so I have them on the edge by an iris garden. Glads can work too because they start much later than the iris. Still striving for perennial summer bloomers. Even if I don't buy a bunch from them Plants Delight has a great site full of perennial summer plants to give you some ideas. They grow everything in Raleigh so most of their plants do well in NC. I did get my lantana Miss Huff from them and each year it comes back. I do have to trim mine back a few times a summer because it gets about 4 feet tall and four to five feet wide. The trimming never hurts it in the least. Attracts tons of butterflies!
"The chimera is a one time happenstance event where the plant has a senior moment and forgets what it is doing." - Paul Black
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
May 17, 2020 6:43 PM CST
Dahlias, asters, scabiosa, echinacea, catanche, penstemon, daylilies, sedum spectabile (has a new name now), phlox (spreads), many salvias, achillea, geraniums & pelargoniums.. I also break up textures with grasses, variegated foliage, conifers, heathers.. I'm in zone 9b, so some, like the dahlias would have to be dug every year.. I also have a lot of roses that provide color through the summer.. but all that said.. the best way to provide a big bang of summer color, is with annuals..
The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Irises Garden Photography Cat Lover Seed Starter
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Totally_Amazing
May 17, 2020 7:20 PM CST
My iris beds don't have many other plants with them. In some iris beds I have kangaroo paws but they attract birds which bump my irises. Since I started hybridizing I get worried that the birds will break a stem with a seed pod on it. I am planning to move the kangaroo paws elsewhere.

A couple of my iris beds have an occasional succulent to provide year round interest. The Echeverias, Euphorbia Rigida and Flapjacks are fine but the Blue Chalk Sticks spread and need to be trimmed back often. There are a few nerines too for autumn and winter interest. I also have a row of evergreen plants behind one iris bed which gives year round interest. I have a protea which flowers in summer and again in winter and some summer flowering agapanthus, daylilies and salvias.

It is late autumn here in Melbourne now. This is what my garden looks like today
Thumb of 2020-05-18/Totally_Amazing/c7ef27
My autumn flowering nerines (bottom left) have just finished flowering and my winter flowering ones haven't started yet.

Thumb of 2020-05-18/Totally_Amazing/b9bc66
The strappy green foliage plants are kangaroo paws. The shrub is Acacia Limelight.
Name: Kim. hnybee09
Jamestown NC (Zone 7b)
Irises
Image
hnybee09
May 18, 2020 11:34 AM CST
Thank you for the suggestions! I love Lantana but didn't realize that they are a perennial here @Lestv! I saw them at the farmer's market last year from one of the local farms, I will have to go look for them. I have some daylilles that I need to move from an old bed and now I know where to put them. I also have Coneflowers growing in another bed so I can grab those seeds after they bloom and plant some. Thank you all again!
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 18, 2020 12:30 PM CST
Kim ~ If you go to the American Iris Society webpage then go to their blogspot, they have some excellent articles on companion planting with irises. You might have to search on Google "World of Irises". My computer isn't working right now, or I would send a link.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a semi-retired studio potter.
Hummingbirder Region: California Dog Lover Irises Organic Gardener Daylilies
Dahlias Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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janwax
May 18, 2020 1:30 PM CST
Kim, I've enjoyed the"architectural" look of alliums with irises - good growers
here.


Life is a Gift !
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Peonies
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Lestv
May 18, 2020 1:59 PM CST
Kim - Yes, lantana is perennial in NC! After the frost starts and the leaves fall off they suggest you leave the branches over winter and cut them down near the ground in the spring. This helps to keep the plant from dying. The new growth starts on the old wood down near the ground and quickly grows new branches. I have followed this routine and the plant keeps coming back year after year.

I agree with Sherry that annuals are the easiest pops of color you can put around your iris for summer blooms, but I like the idea of using plants that return if possible. I should experiment with more because the ground just bakes in some of my iris beds and summer plants might help with soil retain some moisture and give a little shade to the baking rhizomes (not too much so they grow and don't rot, but some).
"The chimera is a one time happenstance event where the plant has a senior moment and forgets what it is doing." - Paul Black
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 18, 2020 6:46 PM CST
Jan, that's a terrific photo! I have some Globemaster alliums with my iris, but now I really want some giant white allium, especially after seeing your photo!
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
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 18, 2020 6:53 PM CST
I am in a similar position in needing plants that will give summer and fall color. However, they also need to be things the deer and groundhogs won't eat. I have diacovered that they won't eat verbena bonariensis. And I am also starting some crocosmia "Lucifer." I am going to poke in some zinnia seeds this week but suspect they will soon be eaten.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
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
May 18, 2020 9:26 PM CST
need to find plants which don't 'taste good'.
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 18, 2020 10:08 PM CST
I have done that: spearmint, apple mint, chives, oregano, thyme (golden and lemon), chives, allium, poppies, creeping phlox, digitalis, bleeding heart, solomon's seal, helleborus, ornithogallum, chionodoxa, daffodils, blackberry lily, and astilbe. But most of those bloom along with the irises or soon before or after.

Finding things that "don't taste good" that bloom in summer or fall is more difficult. So far, aside from ferns, I have found.

Summer: verbena bonariensis, crocosmia, geranium, threadleaf coreopsis. It's not enough.

Fall: monkshood, colchicum, surprise lily (amaryllis), caryopteris. It's not enough.

They even eat my salvia, mums, russian sage, yarrow, rudbeckia, echinacia, asters, and shasta daisies. And the deer ear my daylily buds as soon as they are ready to open. And my hostas. The groundhogs even ate my cardinal flower, and wood asters. I think they even nibble some at my brunerra, columbine, and lamb's ears.

No, simply being nasty tasting or fuzzy is often not enough. Things have to be downright toxic. This is why I have been trending toward more iris, but that doesn't help my lack of color in summer and fall.

-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a semi-retired studio potter.
Hummingbirder Region: California Dog Lover Irises Organic Gardener Daylilies
Dahlias Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
janwax
May 18, 2020 10:46 PM CST
DaisyDo said:Jan, that's a terrific photo! I have some Globemaster alliums with my iris, but now I really want some giant white allium, especially after seeing your photo!


Thank you Daisy. They're very easy to grow here. I love their tall straight stems and big round puffball heads. I also have some purple ones.
We grow Crocosmia Lucifer. So colorful!
Life is a Gift !
[Last edited by janwax - May 18, 2020 10:48 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
Image
DaisyDo
May 18, 2020 10:49 PM CST
Jan, do you remember the cultivar name of your giant white allium?
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a semi-retired studio potter.
Hummingbirder Region: California Dog Lover Irises Organic Gardener Daylilies
Dahlias Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
janwax
May 18, 2020 10:51 PM CST
No, I don't Daisy. I think I got them on eBay, about 3 years ago. Not quite as large as the Globemasters.
Life is a Gift !
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
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 18, 2020 11:35 PM CST
The deer only leave a few things alone here...santolina, rosemary, daffodils, lavender and barberry. They are not "supposed" to eat euphorbia, but they do. They also nibble on the irises. Mine are in a fenced area, but I am contemplating moving some into the landscape, and see what happens. Maybe apply deer repellent.
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Name: Kim. hnybee09
Jamestown NC (Zone 7b)
Irises
Image
hnybee09
May 19, 2020 11:00 AM CST
DaisyDo said:I have done that: spearmint, apple mint, chives, oregano, thyme (golden and lemon), chives, allium, poppies, creeping phlox, digitalis, bleeding heart, solomon's seal, helleborus, ornithogallum, chionodoxa, daffodils, blackberry lily, and astilbe. But most of those bloom along with the irises or soon before or after.

Finding things that "don't taste good" that bloom in summer or fall is more difficult. So far, aside from ferns, I have found.

Summer: verbena bonariensis, crocosmia, geranium, threadleaf coreopsis. It's not enough.

Fall: monkshood, colchicum, surprise lily (amaryllis), caryopteris. It's not enough.

They even eat my salvia, mums, russian sage, yarrow, rudbeckia, echinacia, asters, and shasta daisies. And the deer ear my daylily buds as soon as they are ready to open. And my hostas. The groundhogs even ate my cardinal flower, and wood asters. I think they even nibble some at my brunerra, columbine, and lamb's ears.

No, simply being nasty tasting or fuzzy is often not enough. Things have to be downright toxic. This is why I have been trending toward more iris, but that doesn't help my lack of color in summer and fall.


Before I moved to NC I lived in PA for 7 years and if I didn't keep up with deterrents the deer would do a number on my garden. What I found the best was a combination of things. I used a really stinky spray Liquid Fence, man it stank but worked unless it rained a lot, I also sprinkled Cayenne powder around they did not like that, Bloodmeal works too again only until it rains, I put up an ultrasonic device on a tree and created my own invisible fence with heavy weight fishing line. Deer will jump any fence that they can see, they can't see the fishing line so they walk into it and it scares them and they generally don't jump it because they can't see it. It was a very long 7 years but I had a really big colorful garden!
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
Image
DaisyDo
May 19, 2020 11:22 AM CST
In my experience the spray solutions last one or two days here. Every summer day in this area seems to have 50% chance of rain, so the stuff washes off right away. I have tried the motion activated sprinklers. They became defective, watering constantly, and drowning certain plants. I tried motion activated sonic repellers. They didn't work, and yet were bothersome to me.

I am having somewhat better luck with the granular "I Must Garden." But soon I will try stringing up some nylon monofilament, like you have suggested. It's worth a try. It may work for the deer, but not sure that it will for the groundhogs. It's terrible having both!
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
Name: Kim. hnybee09
Jamestown NC (Zone 7b)
Irises
Image
hnybee09
May 19, 2020 11:52 AM CST
@DaisyDo yes it is! We had groundhogs the last couple years that were going between our yard and our neighbors. Last fall he took down the old rusty shed that they had one of their entrances under, and he filled in another one close to the shared fence line. We have not seen them since so I imagine that they moved out. There are deer in our area and in the 5 years we have been in our house I have only just saw a deer in our yard about 2 months ago and it was only one. They are building a new "highway" extension that runs about a mile away from our neighborhood so I think the deer are just looking for new areas to move too. We did find a pile of deer poop in the back of our yard this past weekend as well, but the property behind us is very overgrown and wooded. I am not too worried about it yet, but we will see what happens going forward. Good luck to you they are pesky critters for sure!
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
Image
DaisyDo
May 19, 2020 3:55 PM CST
We have a herd of at least 6 deer that live in a field (with overgrowth areas) at the center of our block. And there are groundhogs living under every tool shed in the neighborhood. We need a new ordinance requiring that all tool sheds must be on cement slabs. That would largely get rid of the groundhog problem. Or it would at least make the neighborhood less liveable for them. When a burrow comes out of the ground beneath the tool shed, you can't put a fumigation torch down the burrow without risking burning down your tool shed. I need to maybe get a long grabber tool to see if I can use it to reach in under the tool shed to pour a bottle of ammonia down the opening of the burrow.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams

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