Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Teasing Iris

Multiple times I have complaint on this blog that bearded irises simply won't grow for me in my garden. Since I really love them, I always felt very disappointed about that.

I had five rhizomes of a white variety called 'Platinum', that were perishing in the front yard, saved from sure death by potting them up in plastic containers. They were sitting in my pot ghetto forever and weren't doing well in the containers either. So a few months ago I decided I will give bearded irises one last chance and planted two of those half-dead rhizomes in a different location in the 'White Garden Bed' in the back yard.

One was thriving almost from the get go, producing plenty of the lovely green-blue lance shaped leaves and presented me with one lovely flower stalk not too long ago, just reminding me how incredible beautiful bearded iris flowers are.

The one, which was flowering was planted in the background on the left side of the rose. The other one you can barely see on the right site of the rose, just planted a few feet away from the first, wasn't growing and wasn't dying. On closer inspection I found out that the soil surrounding that one was bone dry and the sprinkler were obviously not reaching it. At least this is a cause for not growing that I can understand and hopefully fix. So I fertilized the iris and water it deeply once or twice a week and see how it responds.

I think 'Platinum' is a particular beautiful, reblooming, tall, bearded iris variety. The color of the flower is a grey-ish white and it comes with a light yellow beard. The blooms look quite sophisticated in my eyes. The iris was bred by Byers and introduced 1994. Besides the unusual flower color it also has a great fragrance. For me this iris certainly is a show stopper!

I think that bearded iris are very nice plants when they are not in bloom as well. Their blue-ish green-ish lanced shaped leaves look stunning at any time. They make perfect companion plants for roses, but are nice partners for many other plants, too.

I am still not sure if I can grow bearded irises in my garden successfully in the long run. But after being able to enjoy these gorgeous blooms I am certainly motivated to give those beauties more time to find out if I somehow can make them feel at home here.

Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween!

See you in the garden!



  1. Never say never Christina and I'm glad to see they have responded with the extra care you have given them. Hopefully they'll continue to thrive for you and reward you with more blooms! Happy Halloween!!

  2. The white bloom is gorgeous, and how wonderful to have the kind that repeats in the fall, too. Like you, I think irises even out of bloom look great with their spiky foliage. Maybe you've found just the one that will grow for you!

  3. I remember when you posted about problems with your irises, and I'm so glad you didn't give up! 'Platinum' certainly is a lovely color with both flower and foliage, and they will be perfect with your roses. My irises were a disappointment this year. I think they are too crowded. I may need to move some to better locations. I should have done it in July or August, as I understand that is the best time to divide and replant irises, even though it's hard to imagine planting anything in those hot months. But that's what I learned from an iris class I attended!

  4. Hallo Christina,
    Deine weiße Bartiris sieht sehr schön aus, nur ich finde es schade, dass viele Irisarten immer nur so kurz blühen. Ich weiß nicht, ob das bei Deiner auch der Fall ist. Aus meinem Garten habe ich die Iris verbannt, sie bestand bei mir nur aus Blättern und ganz wenigen Blüten, dafür ist mein Garten leider zu klein. Aber wenn man wie Du Platz genug hat, dann sind das ganz wundervolle Pflanzen.
    Liebe Grüße

  5. Your iris looks great, Christina!

  6. Mark and Gaz, I so hope to see the irises blooming in full glory this upcoming spring! That would be really something!

    Holley, maybe, just maybe I found an iris variety that will like my garden. Time will tell!

    Dorothy, I also have read that irises need to be divided every couple of years to bloom well. It is hard to believe that July/August is the right time to do that in our climate, though. Good luck to transplant yours whenever you get around to do it!

    Elke, I don't know yet how long or how profusely my iris will bloom. But I understand your point in a small garden, which I also have, you need to get the maximum out of every inch of soil. Plants that are not performing to my liking are out. At least this iris is supposed to bloom in spring and in autumn.

    Jeannine, I think that, too ;-)!


  7. They are amazing ! So glad you give them another chance. I'm happy for you, Christina !

  8. I love bearded Irises, but they do not like my wet garden. I have rather a lot of them but I have to replant them every two years to keep them going.

  9. I don't grow bearded iris, but I did just add some Japanese roof iris to a dry, partially shady spot in the garden. Your white iris are so pretty. I'm glad you didn't give up on them. :o)

  10. Guten Morgen, obwohl es bei dir wohl Abend ist? Danke für deinen Besuch bei mir, und zum Glück kann ich hier deutsch schreiben, ich könnte auch Englisch, aber nicht so gut. Wie bei dir wollen bei mir die Bartiris nicht, mein Boden ist zu mastig, außerdem wurden sie immer überwuchert von Stauden, da mein Garten viel zu voll ist. Wie aufregend, in Californien zu wohnen. Das Leben verschlägt einen ja oftmals wohin. Wenn ich es mir aussuchen dürfte, würde ich immer mal in England und natürlich auch hier leben.


  11. Dani, I am glad I haven't given up on irises, too :-)!

    Janneke, bearded irises seem to be a little bit picky regarding their growing conditions. Wow, you have to replant them every two years? That is a lot of work, especially if you have many!

    Casa Mariposa, never heard of Japanese roof iris. Have to look them up! Great that they are suited for dry, partial shade. That is always a tricky conditions to find plants for.

    Sigrun, thanks for visiting my blog. My husband and I often joke that we would like to retire in England. For me it is more a secret dream than a joke, tough. But only if I would be able to live in a small cottage with a lovely garden surrounding it ;-)! Until then, if it ever happens, we can't complain. Southern California is a great place to live and garden in.