Irises forum: Iris garden design

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Name: Tienito
Rhode Island (Zone 6b)
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Tienito
Feb 25, 2018 8:48 AM CST
Hi all. We're making a new corner garden for our backyard. Could you tell me what you think about the garden plan? The JIs and SIBs are on the right side, and the TBs are on the left. The back of the garden is raised 18". The green blobs are evergreens and I'm open to suggestions for the tree and shrubs.

I've been dreaming of stately clumps of irises that contrast with shrubs and smaller plants. The entire bed is 18ft on each side. Each grid square is half a foot. The clumps are at least 2ft on center. As the irises will be green for most of the year, I will need to think of filler plants that bloom for longer periods of time. The flower color scheme, at least for spring and summer, is blue.

Have you planted a garden like this, with JIs and SIBs and TBs separated in different parts? It's my second time designing a garden. I'm pretty proud of this garden scheme but know that there are probably considerations that I'm missing.

Your thoughts and comments would be much appreciated!
Thumb of 2018-02-25/Tienito/1027de

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
Feb 25, 2018 9:02 AM CST
Hi Tienito!

How tall are the evergreens that are between the iris? All of your iris love sun so you don't want the evergreens casting too much shade. That is my only concern with your layout.

I think having the bearded separate from the JI's and SIBs is a good idea since the TB's and JI's require different types of fertilizer and JI's need more water. I have my JI's and LA's in separate gardens from the bearded iris for this same reason.
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
Feb 25, 2018 9:26 AM CST
Plus think about the invading tree roots in a few years.
Name: Tienito
Rhode Island (Zone 6b)
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Tienito
Feb 25, 2018 9:44 AM CST
Leslie, the top side of the drawing is West, so the sun would be moving from the bottom to the top, and the shadows the other way. The two bigger evergreens will be about 4ft tall I'm thinking. I see now that the TBs might be shadowed in the afternoon, or maybe late afternoon. Drats!

Barbara, I did forget about the tree roots. Nothing that spreads too much then.

I could leave out the two evergreens on the lower tier, but my concern is maintaining balance and structure when things aren't growing. Designing a garden is so hard!
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, 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
Feb 25, 2018 11:18 AM CST
I would pick evergreens which do not grow to be too big. There are quite a few slow growing or dwarf varieties, which are hardy in your zone and they are unlikely to invade the rest of the bed with roots and they will not cast much shadow. I like bluish evergreens with my irises because I think they match the iris foliage very well and I agree that it is important to plan for winter interest as iris foliage is not very interesting to look at during that time of year. An evergreen ground cover around the birth bath ? (the blue circle) is another possibility. Just make sure you pick one that will not invade the rest of the bed. Good luck!
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Ian McBeth
Lincoln NE (Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
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SonoveShakespeare
Mar 2, 2018 1:48 PM CST
Tienito said:Designing a garden is so hard!


I agree especially with irises. With your garden, it could be hard to grow them because of the trees. But if you have 4 to 6 hours of sun, they'll be fine. Depending on where the sun hits the irises.

(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
Mar 2, 2018 3:00 PM CST
That's a very cool design! Thumbs up
Name: Tienito
Rhode Island (Zone 6b)
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Tienito
Mar 3, 2018 11:48 AM CST
Thank you, Lilli, Ian, and UndertheSun for your comments. I've since convinced myself to buy three spuria irises to satisfy my interest in this category of irises. The books say they don't bloom well in the Northeast, but the vendors tell me otherwise - probably because they're vendors!

I've refined the design to include these spurias, which apparently can become sizable clumps. The brown-looking thingies (winterberries, for winter interest) are gone for now, but I'm going to find a way to bring at least one or two back. I'm thinking of planting ferns and variegated Iris foetidissima in the back, which would give me red seed pods for the winter. Then Iris cristada in front of that, around the flowering center shrub - probably a hydrangea or hardy hibiscus, trained into tree form, for the architectural strength to balance out the evergreens and irises. Smaller perennials and annuals will fill out overly empty spots - especially before the clumps has established.

Now comes the hardest part - preventing myself from ordering more irises!

Thumb of 2018-03-03/Tienito/873305

Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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evelyninthegarden
Mar 3, 2018 3:01 PM CST
Tienito said:Now comes the hardest part - preventing myself from ordering more irises!


If you do that, let us know your secret! nodding
The more one gardens, the more one learns; and the more one learns, the more one realizes how little one knows.
Vita Sackville-West
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, 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
Mar 4, 2018 6:15 AM CST
I agree I'm all ears! Hilarious!
You don't know if it will grow until you try!

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