Perennial of the Week-Bearded Iris

When you are thinking about all of the beautiful Irises that you have seen, do you realize that you may have been looking at several different species of Iris rather just the more common Bearded Iris? There are also Iris species know as Japanese, Dutch, English, Reticulatas and many other species.  In fact there are close to 300 species of Irises that can be found. Today I am going to talk about the Bearded Iris.

Bearded Irises are one of the most popular perennials planted around the world. Colors come in all shades except that of pure red and green. They also come in varying heights ranging from 8 inches high to some growing up to 4 feet high. Wow!

Bearded Iris performs best in well drained soil.  They do not like to have their feet or roots wet. They are susceptible to root rot. In heavier clay soils consider planting them in raised beds.  Plant in full sun with the “boot” or rhizome just barely under the soil, in fact the rhizome can be partially exposed.  If they are planted too deep, you will not get any flowers the following spring.

This species of Iris grow from rhizomes (modified stem with fleshy roots) and need to split or divided every few years.  Plant the rhizomes about a foot apart with the bend of the root pointed toward the back of your garden. These are a very hardy perennial.

Iris rhizomes are usually available for purchase in late July thru October.  They should be planted as soon as you get them.  Most gardeners will start thinning their Iris beds in July and many are willing to share extras that they are thinning out.

Check with your local garden clubs to see if they host any Iris Festivals in your area, usually in late May and early June.  If there is a festival nearby take the time to enjoy a walk through the Irises. Iris Festivals are absolutely amazing, for you will see more than the common yellow and purple irises on display.

What are some your favorite Iris varieties that you have planted in your garden?

Perennial of the Week: Shasta Daisy

One of the most popular perennials that most gardeners have in their gardens is the Shasta Daisy.  This wonderful flower standard has many traits and characteristics that will help it stand out above the rest in your garden: A must for all flower gardens.

The Shasta daisy does come in several different varieties offering many growing conditions for you.  You can find tall varieties along with short ones, single layer of petals too almost full heads of petal layers.  The taller varieties will need to be staked or they will probably tip over as they can grow up to 3 feet in height.

No matter which variety that you plant in your garden, the white flower head with its bright yellow center will attract bees, butterflies and birds to your garden.  Bloom time can vary from early summer to late fall: truly offering a long range of beautiful blooms.

A couple of very positive attribute is that the Shasta daisy is deer resistant, and drought tolerant. However, it still needs to be watered and does prefer to be planted in loose soil offering good drainage. Though Shasta Daisies prefer full sun, this perennial will tolerate partial shady conditions. You will need to divide your plants every few years too.

Shasta daisies will offer a graceful and elegant touch to any garden.  You won’t have any regrets planting this wonderful perennial in your yard.

Perennial of the Week-Daylily

Is the Daylily the perfect perennial for your garden?

Have you ever had to really wonder if the perennials, that look so wonderful at your local garden center, would actually grow in your yard once you got them home? We are prone to buy blooming flowers on impulse and then figure out where we are going to plant them after getting them home.  One perennial that doesn’t take a lot of thought about having the perfect growing spot is the Daylily (Hemerocallis).

Hemerocallis comes from two Greek words meaning “beautiful” and “day”. For a daylily is true to its name in that that a bloom will only last one day.  However there are usually several blooms on each stem and several stems to a plant allowing for a long blooming period of time.

Daylilies are quite adaptable to many if not all growing conditions.  They can grow in drought conditions and also along the ditch bank or waterway.  They will grow in full sunlight, which is best, but then you can get them to grow in partial shade.

I remember one customer of mine, who would come into the greenhouse, looking specifically for new and interesting daylilies that we might have gotten in to sell.  She asked me to also keep a lookout for the unique and unusual. Diane had developed a daylily garden in her yard and at that time she had over twenty different varieties of daylily in this specific garden, with many more planted throughout her whole yard.

You can find varieties that bloom early in the season, and then they are done and will then only offer green foliage for the rest of the year. However there are varieties that will bloom mid-season, late, multiple times.  There truly is a daylily out there to suit your wants and desires.

There are more than the traditional yellow and oranges to choose from: you can have pinks, reds, maroons, purples, chiffons, almost any color that you want. According to The American Hemerocallis Society, you can purchase daylilies anywhere from $3 to over $500.  It just depends on what you want.

Don’t let diploids and tetraploids or scapes confuse you. If you see a daylily that you like, buy it and take it home and plant it.  However you might find out some of the basic information if you need; but for the most part plant it and enjoy it.  Daylilies might just be the perfect perennial for your garden.

How many daylilies do you have in your garden?