Monday, March 7, 2011

The Iris Enigma

      The Iris, according to Wikipedia, includes two-hundred and sixty species of flowering plants. Two-hundred and sixty? No wonder I'm all confused and befuddled about what I planted!  With Spring bouncing blooms everywhere,  I found two foot tall iris in deep violet blooming in my front border and little blue and yellow five inch tall iris blooming in the back yard?  According to my records, I planted  "Blue Ribbon" Dutch Iris along the front sidewalk and "Joyce Iris" in the front border.

Obviously, something's gone very wrong.
Not 'grenade' wrong, but it's obvious that I had no idea what I was doing!
(The beautiful fuschia-colored tulip in there is part of the Hirts Pretty in Pink tulip collection.)

      After some Googling and Wikipedia-ing I discovered that "specie" or "wild" iris are the dwarf, or 'rock garden' variety and the botanical name for the "Joyce" is Iris reticulata. Armed with proper names, I went back to my notes.  The Joyce Iris that I have came as part of a deer resistant collection from American Meadows. (I bought one of these collections for Mom, too, I'm fairly sure). These are what I thought I'd planted out front!
One mystery solved! Whoohoo! Go me!
       I planted that whole collection together in the 'raccoon & rabbit zone', so that explains these little guys growing out back.  (Last night, the raccoons tramped through and broke every single flower. At least I have pictures to look at!)

Hmmm. This fellow, though?
     Where did this fellow come from? Along with his not-so-little friends?

     Double checking my receipts from last year, I found one from Brecks that included a "Cool Shades" Dutch Iris Mix!  Finally, the sun has come out! The fog has cleared away!  I remember now that I hadn't quite decided where to plant these and set them aside. I guess I somehow confused them with the species Iris?

So, could this...

Be part of that collection? (The image of the Brecks Collection won't size correctly for some reason! Sorry!)

      And if so, why are the dark purple opening before the other colors in the collection? Or am I mis-identifying Blue Ribbon? And does it really matter as long they're this beautiful?

       So, out of two-hundred and sixty plus varieties of Iris, I have WEE tiny species iris, aka Iris Reticulata, and the two foot tall Dutch Iris aka Iris Hollandic, already growing. I also planted some bearded iris, also called German Iris- (Iris Germanica), which can grow up to four feet tall.  Mine are just a cheap 'Pink' from Home Depot that I stuck in the back of my "pink and red bed". Now it's just wait and see how they bloom!  (There are a few more Bearded  Iris on the property that came with the house. I thought I'd wait and see what they were like before doing anything about them.)

      My research has gotten me all excited about irises now! I had no idea how many amazing colors and sizes they come in. The possibilities are boundless.   I'm planning a field trip to Pleasants Valley Iris Farm out in Vacaville for next month to learn more, and maybe add some new varieties to my garden if anyone wants to join me!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Such a lot of thinking and research. Perhaps you could pick yourself some chamomile and mint for a soothing cup of celebratory tea?