Friday, May 7, 2010

Iris Joy!

The irises are blooming in the Shenandoah Valley and they almost glow. While they can often have problems with iris borers, I cannot resist the bearded iris varieties. The ones I have chosen for my garden are tall and bright, showy across the lawn, and fragrant with a strong grape aroma.

Here are a couple of beauties:

The best way to control the iris borer is to remove all of last year's foliage from the rhizomes in winter. The eggs have already been deposited on them.

Another favorite iris is Iris tectorum, the Japanese roof iris. Here it is planted under a golden ninebark.

Planting almost at soil level seems to help my iris stay healthy and fight off the borer. They like the sun on a part of the rhizome. I move them in July or August when the flowers are gone and the rhizome has been well fed. They transplant very easily. Just tuck the roots underneath into the soil and leave the rhizome on top in the sun.

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