Today's guest blogger is Anne Furlong, an intern in the IMA's Horticulture Department.
The dramatic and delightful iris. Few other flowers provide blossoms for as long and as often as the iris does. They come in a wide array of colors, sizes and styles. The standard, tall, bearded iris is most common though exotic and dwarf iris varieties do exist. Have no fear, there is an iris variety that will surely satisfy your gardening needs.
Iris ensata, known more commonly as the Japanese Iris, is found on the grounds in several places and is usually deep blue. Red, yellow, white, purple and multicolored blossoms can also be seen around the campus.
The Iris is a member of the Iridaceae family. There are nearly 300 different cultivars with new cultivars being produced all the time. The bearded iris are one of the most common kind of iris and are given the name because of the ‘beard’ of hairs visible in the middle of the falls or downward facing petals.
These perennial plants are hardy in zones 4-9 and do best in full sun with some afternoon shade. Rich, acidic, moist soil is the ideal growing conditions for iris and they are usually even happier when planted near water. The earliest iris to bloom will flower as soon as February and some will continue to flower until late summer.
There are many different kinds of Iris found on the IMA Campus and around the grounds. The rain garden, orchard, formal garden, ravine garden and the garden for everyone all are home to at least one type of iris. Look to these beauties to add spectacular spring color and interest to your own garden!
Filed under: Horticulture