Irises forum: Are your Iris beds JUST Iris beds ?

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Name: Patrick Alan
Toms River, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Clematis Irises Region: New Jersey Roses Dog Lover Lilies
Cactus and Succulents
Apr 14, 2016 12:52 PM CST
Or do you interplant other types of plants in with your Iris in the Iris beds ?
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle ~ Plato
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Apr 14, 2016 12:56 PM CST
all "my" beds are just iris .....with a few "spring bulbs"...... planted at the edges of the bed. "Rita's" iris bed has lilies among the iris, as well as bulbs at the edges. I do , sometimes, plant some glad bulbs along the edge of the beds. to give a bit of color until the Re's start.
Name: Richard
Joshua Tree (Zone 9a)
Birds Irises Ponds Orchids
Apr 14, 2016 1:34 PM CST
Mine are just iris beds with occasional weeds.
Name: Patrick Alan
Toms River, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Clematis Irises Region: New Jersey Roses Dog Lover Lilies
Cactus and Succulents
Apr 14, 2016 1:41 PM CST
Mine are just iris beds with ALOT of weeds ...... it will take me weeks to pull them all out !
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle ~ Plato
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
Apr 14, 2016 1:52 PM CST
Easier to take care of as just iris. Neal can do the fancy stuff.
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Apr 14, 2016 2:01 PM CST
Some here have amazing mixed beds. Mine are all iris beds. One bed does have Rose of Sharon Trees in it too. I didn't want to cut them down when I made the bed, but I am forever having to weed out little seedlings. Rose of Sharon drop hundreds of seeds.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
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
Apr 14, 2016 6:56 PM CST
Everything here is mixed; I don't like monocultures, and I want something of interest going on everywhere, through as much of the year as I can manage. The mixture, of course, varies, as do the features of interest.

I have one small bed which I am going to turn into mostly iris; about half of it is already taken over by a large patch of 'Sweet Musette', which I am going to downsize. (I rather hate to do it; the clump is glorious when it is in bloom... but I have a lot of incoming irises that need a place to grow.) It has a very young red Japanese maple 'Fireglow' in it, lots of invading vinca (which I need to dig and transplant out on the creek bank, presuming I ever get the energy; I may just rip it out), and an old daylily which I am going to toss. Once I downsize the 'Sweet Musette' and clear out the bed, I will add in one or two more irises (crossing my fingers that the gophers don't find them), maybe a dwarf Euonymous for evergreen interes ('Sunny Delight', not that it is going to get much sun there), and maybe divide an overgrown clump of a miniature red daylily that I have (mirrored across a short path).

A bed that I am working on now will ultimately have about 5 different irises and maybe one daylily in it, in addition to other things so that I can have some color there most of the year. Right now the only iris in there is 'Luminosity'. The overall color combo is for yellow, white, purple, and lavender, so I have a spanish/french (?) lavender (maybe 'Otto Quast' - I planted one in that bed but not sure that this surviving lavender is that), Euryops, Osteospermum 'Blue Eyed Beauty', white Iberis, yellow Bidens (strain varies, as it usually winter kills), variegated society garlic, Verbena lilacina 'De La Mina' as a backdrop (which I keep planning on yanking and replacing with boxwood, but....). I'm yanking the daylily that is currently in there and replacing it with 'Heavenly Yellow Lion'. The irises should mostly be rebloomers and the daylily is a later blooming one, so hopefully things should be interesting there for several months.

Edited to say that on another thread, Lucy jogged my memory wrt seedlings... I do have one seedlings-only raised bed, and two more under construction. Seedling beds are my sole exception to the "no monoculture" rule.
A 'Premonition of Spring' - PCI time already?!
[Last edited by Polymerous - Apr 15, 2016 12:06 AM (+)]
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Name: Jen Jax
Northern Kentucky (Zone 6a)
Irises Peonies Region: Kentucky Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Apr 14, 2016 6:56 PM CST
I would say half of mine are mixed and half of them are not.
South central PA (Zone 6a)
Irises Region: Pennsylvania
Apr 14, 2016 7:11 PM CST
I have a mix of beds. Those in front [west side] of the house have interspersed Crocus, Tulips, Chrysanthemum, daffodils, rudbeckia and hemerocallis with some rhodies and of course iris. Varying bloom times for most of the season. The side beds [south] are all iris, rear [east] is all iris except for some starter raspberry bushes and space for tomato plants.
Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
Apr 14, 2016 7:27 PM CST
My NO ID's are in mixed beds of mostly roses. Since I've got the Iris virus there are Iris beds in front of the mixed beds. Then I have large areas of potted Iris waiting for a bed. Sticking tongue out
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
[Last edited by Phillipb2 - Apr 14, 2016 7:33 PM (+)]
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Name: Shannon
Burkeville,Va (Zone 7a)
The House on the Hill Gardens
Roses Butterflies Seed Starter Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Peonies
Sedums Hostas Cottage Gardener Echinacea Clematis Irises
Apr 14, 2016 7:32 PM CST
I always mix my garden beds . I like the variety of looking out over a bunch of different plants. And all of my
new garden beds that I am finally starting to work on will have evergreens and a couple small trees in the beds Thumbs up
I am even planning on keeping some young iris and other flowers in my veggie garden when its finished next year.
The horse is God's gift to mankind. ~Arabian Proverb
Name: Jolana
Seguin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Bee Lover The WITWIT Badge Region: Texas Garden Art Irises
Daylilies Butterflies Dragonflies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers Hibiscus
Apr 14, 2016 9:33 PM CST
Mine a mixed as well Smiling
Gardening is learning, learning, learning. That's the fun of them.
You're always learning !
Helen Mirren
Name: Marilyn
Central California (Zone 9b)
Region: California Bee Lover Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers hot summers Composter
Annuals Dog Lover Cat Lover Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Apr 15, 2016 12:05 AM CST
Someday I would like to make mixed beds...but for now most of my irises are by themselves.
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
Bulbs Foliage Fan Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Apr 15, 2016 1:04 AM CST
I've got both.. I used to mix them in the garden, until I got too many... My original thoughts when I ripped out a long strip of lawn was to make it a mixed border, featuring the iris.. Then I started placing the iris and realized I didn't have room for all the ones I potted up, so I ripped out more lawn.. Hilarious! I did plant a border of Violas in front for a little visual relief, however Smiling
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.
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
Apr 15, 2016 3:46 AM CST
I have a variety of both mixed and a couple that are iris only. Some are mixed a lot, and some only have a couple other things in them.
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: Gabriel/Gabe Rivera
Charlotte, NC (Zone 7b)
German imported, Michigan raised
Region: North Carolina Hybridizer Garden Photography Region: United States of America Hostas Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Dog Lover Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises Container Gardener
Apr 15, 2016 4:41 AM CST
Mines will be just iris beds. I do have a lily bed though with a few iris clumps in it though.
Gimme it and I'll grow it!
Name: Greg Hodgkinson
Hanover PA (Zone 6b)
Charter ATP Member Irises I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pennsylvania Region: Japan Garden Photography
Apr 15, 2016 7:13 AM CST
I have both. The mixed beds were from the beginning of my iris journey. I now create only "iris only" beds and when I redo a bed, it becomes iris only.
Southern California (Zone 10a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Irises
Apr 15, 2016 3:45 PM CST
You know, it's a good question. I hadn't really thought about it, but I tend to turn the iris beds into mixed plantings. I like to create a garden as ecologically balanced as I can -- good for the native wildlife and so on. I don't even think about it consciously, I guess, but I do it. It's probably because before I got the iris virus -- which I REALLY have in a bad way now, lol -- before that, I was mostly into native plants. They were what led me to irises through a back door. My husband and I used to backpack all the time in the Sierra Nevadas. One of the wild flowers I liked most in the Sierras was/is Iris hartwegii. (Now you know why I am "IrisHart" -- short for Iris hartwegii.) I knew I couldn't easily grow hartwegiii in a suburban back yard, but I decided regular irises were the next best thing. And, THEN I stumbled upon REAL garden irises, meaning the stunning range of colors and varieties developed by avid hobbiests over the years. I was doomed from then on. You all know what it's like. LOL.

Anyway, because I started with native plants, I tend to work my native plants in with the irises. I start out with an iris-only bed, but then gradually compatible natives get in there, too. I like the combinations, I like bringing the birds and butterflies in, giving the poor bees safe pollen to harvest, cover for California quail, and the natives are compatible with bearded irises. All are drought resistant (necessary here in SoCal), hardy, tend to go dormant in the summer, and so on.

Here are some examples:

Thumb of 2016-04-15/IrisHart/b2253f

This shows Festuca californica forming a meadow around irises -- such as in this case Larry Lauer's "My Generation."

Thumb of 2016-04-15/IrisHart/3567cf

Here are yet more tall beardeds with Festuca californica. There is also Festuca glauca here and there -- and we have Zauschneria in the meadow, but you usually can't see it until it blooms in late summer.

Thumb of 2016-04-15/IrisHart/18c934

This last photo shows IB "Devil May Care" with native red sage, yarrow, and Coreopsis.
[Last edited by IrisHart - Apr 15, 2016 3:49 PM (+)]
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Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
Apr 15, 2016 8:47 PM CST
Mixed are better for gardeners, but what can we iris freaks do?

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