The Goddess’ Flower

June 4, 2009 4 Comments
In Greek mythology, Iris is the personification of the rainbow and the messenger of the gods.  I’m not sure what the message is, but the flower sure does have a lot of colors available.
I love irises. 
My Yellow Iris

My Yellow Iris

Dwayne doesn’t understand it.  He doesn’t know why I would like a flower that only lasts a couple of days.  Until recently, he didn’t even know that they had a scent.  Even though he “doesn’t get it”, he is a wonderful husband and lets me have them. 
My "Violet" Iris

My "Violet" Iris

Of course, it helps that there were already several here when we moved in. 
My "Light Purple" Iris

My "Light Purple" Iris

And I don’t think he remembers me telling him that I am going to go down to Cosgrove and grab some from Mom and Dad’s house.  (They used to be at my Grandma’s down near Lone Tree.) I have also managed to plant several different varieties over the past couple of years.  I had an orange one a few years ago, but last years flooding pretty much took care of that one.  I had nowhere to move it to before it rotted.  This year I have a lot of blooms, including some that I moved this summer.  I was always told that a rule of thumb is that spring bloomers should be moved in the fall and vice versa.  I had to move some irises from a bed that we were totally changing around and two of them are blooming.
 "Gay Parasol"

"Gay Parasol"

My "Blue" Iris

My "Blue" Iris

Phyllis left a comment on one of my posts asking about her iris.  She has had them for some time and they aren’t blooming.  Since I am not sure where Phyllis has her iris planted, I will give some of the possible problems (and I will be focusing on Bearded Iris). 
Iris need full sun and well-drained soil.  They can handle light shade, but they will produce the most flowers in full sun.  If iris are in a wet, poorly drained site they could have bacterial soft rot.  That sounds nasty and it is.  I have dug some of those up.  Ugh.  If you don’t have good soil, incorporate organic matter, such as peat or compost, into the soil before planting.  Bearded iris need to be divided every three to five years and I have recently found out that once a rhizome blooms, it dies, so when you dig them up and it has the flower stalk attached, you don’t have to plant it again.  Keep the “babies” and replant them.  Discard any diseased or damaged rhizomes as well. 
This next part I am taking from the Iowa State Extension service website (From James Romer, Horticulturist): 
“When planting bearded iris, dig a hole large enough to accommodate the rhizome and the roots.  Construct a mound in the center of the hole.  Place a rhizome on top of the mound, spread the roots in the surrounding trench and then cover with soil.  When planted, the rhizome should be just below the soil surface.”
I have also left the rhizome with a little of the top showing above ground and I had an Iris Lady (she has over 300 varieties of iris) tell me that she actually cuts off the small roots when she transplants.  She said that they tend be weakened and don’t provide many nutrients at first and cutting them off forces the rhizome to grow new ones that are stronger.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I probably will on at least some of them the next time I move them.  I hope this helps you, Phyllis.
Looking over my irises this year, some are in dire need of being moved.  I want to have a raised bed for them, to help with the drainage issues we have in some parts of the garden.  Dwayne is actually willing to help me build one! 
I’ll keep you posted on that one… but it may be awhile!
Dig it!
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  1. Donna says:

    Eileen………….Thank you for the info and beautiful pictures of your Iris. They are my favorite flower, I just wish they bloomed longer!!

  2. Daisymaiden says:

    I love iris, too! I totally understand your desire to get your grandmother’s ‘heirloom’ variety for your own garden. My grandmother was an avid gardener and shared many of her iris and other perennials with me for my first gardens. She has since passed away, but I smile each spring especially as “her” iris – a mixed purple and yellow bloom – emerges. It brings back terrific memories from my youth of spending time with her in her beautiful flower garden. In fact it’s blooming right now – sorry I cannot post a photo of it.
    So…go get your grandmother’s iris already and enjoy it next year!! 🙂

  3. Karen Simmons says:

    I’ve just come across your spot on the web. Recently traveled to Minnasota for a music festival and passed through your lovely state of Iowa. It was like I stepped back two months in time, because all the iris and columbine had already bloomed in Texas. And if anyone was looking for me, they knew I’d be found next to a lilac bush/tree. They don’t grow in TX…too hot. I took many pictures in arboretums and parks of beautiful flowers which I hope to identify. Your website has helped. Thank you from another Master Gardener, Tarrant County TX!

  4. Sharon D Lee says:

    I spotted a picture of your “blue” iris as I was searching for the name of a similar iris my mother had in her garden. It had the most wonderful smell.
    Her iris was already in the yard when we moved into the house in 1952. If you know that name, please let me know. Thank you so much.

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