Irises forum: When making new iris beds, how do you arrange them?

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Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies
Cat Lover Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter
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evelyninthegarden
Jun 20, 2018 3:50 PM CST
In the strictest sense, I am referring to beds that are linear, rather than in mixed beds with other plants. And for expediency, I am not including rebloomers in the beds, as I plan (eventually) to make a separate bed for rebloomers.

So do you have your beds arranged by hybridizer, time of bloom, alphabetical, similar colors, harmonizing or contrasting colors? Or do you just plant them as they arrive, without any special order?

What different ways have you tried, and what did you find the best solution for your needs?

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold, when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens
(This seems to apply to May as well!)
[Last edited by evelyninthegarden - Jun 20, 2018 3:53 PM (+)]
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Name: Mary
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
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urania1
Jun 20, 2018 4:21 PM CST
Good question Evelyn. I do not know the answer because I drop iris into beds that already have flowers—the better to get hide the foliage after they have stopped blooming. Still, I would like some advice. This is the first year that I have ever had had trouble with my iris. Then again, it is the first year that I have had so many iris that are not NoID 'Older than Your Granny's Garden.'
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies
Cat Lover Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter
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evelyninthegarden
Jun 20, 2018 4:29 PM CST
Mary ~ I do have several irises growing in flower beds, but since I have ordered more than can be fit into those beds, I have been digging new beds.

I have not yet figured out the logistics of the arrangements of the new beds. I will first pot up the irises as I receive them, and move them to a shady spot. Then in fall, I would like to plant them in their beds....as the beds are sunny for most of the day.
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold, when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens
(This seems to apply to May as well!)
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Jun 20, 2018 4:40 PM CST
By height, and color (i.e. I don't want two yellows next to one another ,for example, and I want the tallest to the rear of the bed, the shortest to the front)

I have "dedicated" beds for all the Re's, and "dedicated" beds for my "Indian Themed" iris......everything else is "mix or match', as you year of introduction, etc.
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Irises Garden Photography Cat Lover Seed Starter
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Totally_Amazing
Jun 20, 2018 5:03 PM CST
I try to place my irises in groups of 3, 4 or 5 that look good together and bloom at the same time. In recent years when I have run out of space, I've just planted anything anywhere and tried to avoid putting irises together that look similar or clash.

I try to put the shorter ones in the front and plant the larger ones away from walkways so they won't flop over and get bumped by people. I also try to avoid putting the irises I wish to hybridize near plants that attract birds.




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
Jun 20, 2018 6:35 PM CST
Color & height.. I need to get better about putting all the late ones together, and maybe the very early.. This is how I arranged the long, upper lawn bed.
Thumb of 2018-06-21/Henhouse/6e147e

Then all the pictures go into slide picture sleeves and in a binder in order and by bed.

When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.
Name: Timothy
eastern oregon (Zone 7b)
Irises Bulbs Region: United States of America Region: Pacific Northwest Plant and/or Seed Trader Dahlias
Garden Photography Salvias Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hybridizer Region: Oregon
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TBMan
Jun 20, 2018 8:24 PM CST
Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBMan/237636

I arrange my rows by:
1: Crashing iris colors together -- I love contrasting iris hues
2: By year of introduction. All my 2010's thru 2017s are in separate rows. Any older varieties are segregated in a similar fashion.
3: I keep hybridizers mixed up. I don't plant two Blyth's together, or two Johnsons together. I like to get a feel and compare varieties so I can get an idea of what was going thru the hybridizer's mind when he/she selected the variety for introduction.
4: Im a little eccentric, I realize - lol. The only non negotiable is the cleanliness and cultivation attention to detail I like to give my rows.

Any iris garden arrangement is highly personal and ONLY subject to ONLY your needs, preferences, and physical/situational limitations. The rest of us can only offer examples or showcase our layouts, but the final result is up to you Smiling I tip my hat to you.


[Last edited by TBMan - Jun 20, 2018 8:53 PM (+)]
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(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
Jun 20, 2018 8:38 PM CST
I planned a few beds by color, otherwise it just happens as I go along. I try not to plant similar irises together, but sometimes I goof. As for height, I've goofed on that a few times too. Hilarious!
[Last edited by UndertheSun - Jun 20, 2018 10:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
Hummingbirder Dog Lover Irises Region: California Organic Gardener Dahlias
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janwax
Jun 20, 2018 9:30 PM CST
Me too!
let the mystery be
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
Jun 21, 2018 2:40 PM CST
What a lovely and immaculate iris garden, Timothy! Thumbs up

My one separate "iris bed" (actually a subsection of a larger bed, underlaid with gopher wire) hasn't turned out that well. The irises are crowded and I need to get in there and lift/move some of them, and to be honest, that part of that bed just doesn't look good to me, out of bloom or even IN bloom. (Even though everything in there is supposedly more or less midseason, that's apparently a long time and not everything blooms at the same time. So out of 14-17 or so irises, maybe 3 tops will be in bloom at the same time. It just looks awful.)

What does seem to work for me is taking 2-3 irises and planting them near each other, out in the general garden where there are other plants nearby. I try to take care to mate iris colors pleasingly, so there are not two of the same color, and not two clashing, but with the goal that they bloom more or less the same time, or at least have a good overlap, and they look good together.

Thumb of 2018-06-21/Polymerous/1231c6
'Pinkity' and 'Bloodline' pair - accidentally mixed (I don't know if I'm going to have the energy to separate them out this summer, and I'm not sure that I should)

Thumb of 2018-06-21/Polymerous/c733ea
'Lord Jeff' and 'I I Stutter' (the taller iris behind them is 'Sweet Musette'; she is later but she overlaps the first two a bit, but she does not play well with them, so she will be removed)

Thumb of 2018-06-21/Polymerous/812bbd
'Afternoon Delight' and 'Darkside' ('Darkside' helps pick up the lavender in the falls of 'Afternoon Delight')

Now, if I had a large canvas of land (like Timothy) and were going to lay out actual beds that had ONLY iris (not likely; I'm sure I'd slip something else in there Whistling ), then I suspect that I would LIKE to try to arrange them with named themes (which might mean a series of smaller beds and things not blooming together). Things like 'Science Fiction' ('Total Recall', 'Triffid', maybe 'Purple People Eater'), 'Love and Kisses' ('Wedding Kiss', 'Passionate Kisses', 'One Last Kiss', 'Love Continues', 'Unbelievable Love'), and so on.

But apart from the whole colors, and season of bloom timing thing, one thing that I have noticed with the TBs is that some of them, well, have smaller blooms (not to mention shorter stalks), whereas others are quite tall and have huge magnificent blooms. Since the overall goal of the garden is to LOOK GOOD, and I'm not sure that smaller bloomed irises look good with the more large and robust ones, then the whole idea of themes may have to just go out the window. Keep stalk height, bloom size, bloom time, and bloom color in any one area all more or less compatible - but like Timothy, break up those colors. Two of any one color just don't look good next to each other (although a self and then a neglecta or an Emma Cook or a plicata can).

A 'Premonition of Spring' - PCI time already?!
Name: Leon
Indiana (Zone 5a)
Light is the shadow of God!
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: United States of America Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Master Level Peonies Hummingbirder Cat Lover Dog Lover Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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TBGDN
Jun 21, 2018 5:16 PM CST
evelyninthegarden said:What different ways have you tried, and what did you find the best solution for your needs?

I might be the "lone ranger" here in that I have a habit of placing them in several spots & gardens. That includes landscape effects, dedicated gardens for TB's, Separate garden for SDB's, etc. (or wherever ther's an open space) But if you take a garden tour at iris time you'll find irises everywhere on the premises. In dedicated beds I keep them in rows with talls & lates in the back. Otherwise its somewhat disorganized. (Some people call this a "nightmare".) I call it creative thinking. Whistling
Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/c5debd Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/82ba2c Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/a9ac09
For example True Charm in a group of narcissus & Different World along the drive out front. And Heartbreaker next to Daylilies.

Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/9af49d Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/8d9350 Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/06839b
This is Modern Classic in a mixed perennial bed. It contains asparagus, roses & oriental lilies. Germanica behind the rose bush.

Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/5bc9a3 Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/13a451 Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/898d94
A mixed bed with SDB's in front. The 2nd bed is now moved & replanted in peonies. Third picture is Second Opinion mixed with heuchera, etc.

Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/cadc71 Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/e9c99a
Celestial Explosion in mixed planting. Celebration Song at early sunrise.

Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/764539
TB Row garden May 23, 2017

Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/2d15ff
TB row garden replanted. October 2017 photo.

Thumb of 2018-06-21/TBGDN/851089
Same re-plants this May 10, 2018. (Yes we have cats.)



Even a fool, when he shuts his mouth, is counted (as being) wise.Proverbs 17:28
MY BLOG
Name: Mary
Tennessee (Zone 7a)
Keeps Goats Bee Lover Irises Peonies Daylilies Bulbs
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urania1
Jun 21, 2018 5:39 PM CST
Leon,

Your gardens are gorgeous.
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Irises Garden Photography Cat Lover Seed Starter
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Totally_Amazing
Jun 21, 2018 5:49 PM CST
Polymerous said:
Thumb of 2018-06-21/Polymerous/1231c6
'Pinkity' and 'Bloodline' pair - accidentally mixed (I don't know if I'm going to have the energy to separate them out this summer, and I'm not sure that I should)


I love this combination of irises and plants with the red, silver and green foliage mixed in Lovey dubby
Name: Sara
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
Sedums Irises Cat Lover Region: Tennessee
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flukybloom
Jun 21, 2018 5:52 PM CST
Leon, I'm a fan of your Creative Thinking Gardening methods! Everything looks wonderful!
Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.

(floo-key-bloom) Fluky, adj., "obtained or achieved more by chance than skill"
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies
Cat Lover Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter
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evelyninthegarden
Jun 21, 2018 7:40 PM CST
flukybloom said:Leon, I'm a fan of your Creative Thinking Gardening methods! Everything looks wonderful!


I agree It's all beautiful, Leon! Lovey dubby
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold, when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens
(This seems to apply to May as well!)
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies
Cat Lover Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter
Image
evelyninthegarden
Jun 21, 2018 7:48 PM CST
Totally_Amazing said:I love this combination of irises and plants with the red, silver and green foliage mixed in Lovey dubby


Robin ~ Marilyn put those together nicely.

Since I am going to have another batch of "first years", I will at least, try to put them together by bloom time, though that may not work either. I had some of a variety bloom and another of the same did not. Some that had been established bloomed at a different time than the new one that I got for comparison. I think that they may end up being rather haphazard, except in the flower beds. We'll see.
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold, when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens
(This seems to apply to May as well!)
(Zone 9b)
Region: California
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UndertheSun
Jun 21, 2018 9:44 PM CST
Amazing Leon!
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
Jun 21, 2018 9:52 PM CST
Leon, lovely gardens, and you are not alone in putting your irises in with other plants. Thumbs up

If you can't put first-year irises in pots (which makes it easy to see if two irises will go together) - if they must go into beds - you can at least be fanatical about taking pictures, noting bloom period and stalk height and bloom size. That way, come summer, you can sit inside and figure out which irises should be moved where, to make a better picture next year. (I'm getting rid of that 'Sweet Musette' because I already have another largish patch; if I didn't, then I'd have to move it somewhere. I bought that for DD which she was very young, and I'm not ready to part ways with it! Hilarious! )

What to do about two plants or patches of the same iris that bloom at different time periods, I haven't a clue. Shrug! My two patches of 'Sweet Musette' are on different sides of the creek, but both get a little morning sun, and then afternoon shade, so they more or less bloom at about the same time. On the other hand, I have one small patch of 'I I Stutter' in that partly shady patch (with 'Lord Jeff'), and another that is baking in a clay pot on the patio steps. The shady one blooms first. Neither one of them has rebloomed for me. (Yes, I'm sure it has to be the right plant; I got it from the hybridizer.) If I had to guess, I would have guessed that the shady one would bloom later, but... Confused

A 'Premonition of Spring' - PCI time already?!
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies
Cat Lover Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter
Image
evelyninthegarden
Jun 22, 2018 12:04 PM CST
Marilyn ~ Yes, the iris with more shade bloomed first, but then, it was the one that was well-established. The newer one that I bought for comparison, Harvest of Memories, bloomed later in a sunnier spot. It was the first year bloom for it, so that may account for its lateness. It performed its duty well, as verifying the established one. They both did the "snake dance", that is the stalks were wavy instead of being straight when they emerged. Later on, the stalks did staighten up a bit, but not completely. This is the only iris that does this.

Last year, since we had a lot of rain just before bloom time, the stalks were lying down on the ground, but not broken. I had to cut them and put them in a vase to enjoy their beautiful blooms.

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold, when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens
(This seems to apply to May as well!)
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
Jun 22, 2018 2:43 PM CST
lovely garden, Leon.

I am afraid we use the 'open space' method of organization. If there is an open space, an iris goes in it..

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